Partnership between Teesside University and homeless charity yielding positive results

Streetwise Opera, MOU

A unique partnership between a national performing arts charity and Teesside University is paying dividends for both organisations.

Streetwise Opera, an award-winning charity which works with people affected by homelessness, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University committing both organisations to strengthening the relationship and seeking out further opportunities for collaboration.

Streetwise Opera works with nationally-acclaimed performing artists to run a programme of singing and creative workshops in homeless centres and arts venues in five regions across England, including the Tees Valley.

The partnership has already seen students from the University’s BA (Hons) Comics and Graphic Novels work to create a graphic novel adaptation of Streetwise Opera’s production of After Winter, which will be staged in July at Middlesbrough Town Hall and Ryedale Festival.

Students studying public relations are also working to help publicise the charity’s events.

In addition, international students have been providing translation advice and assistance to the charity as it carries out its work with asylum-seekers and refugees.

Siobhan Fenton, associate dean for enterprise and business engagement in the School of Computing, Engineering and Digital Technologies, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our students to get first-hand experience in the creative industries and see the difference that the arts can make to people’s lives.

“Streetwise Opera is a national charity working all over the country with some world-class artists so we are delighted to be able to give our students the chance to learn vital skills on live projects with an organisation of this calibre.”

Professor Chrisina Jayne, Dean of the School of Computing, Engineering & Digital Technologies, added: “As a civic university we want to engage with the community and this project allows our students to make a really positive impact upon the lives of some of society’s most vulnerable people.”

Ree Collins, regional programme producer for Streetwise Opera, said: “We are extremely pleased to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with Teesside University.

“So far our partnership has yielded some really positive results and we’ve been very impressed by the work that the students have done.

“At times it feels like we have a whole marketing team behind us. They have been a huge help and we look forward to working even closer in the future.”