Out of the Shadows

Thursday, 28 April 2022

Approaching 1000 performances, Constella OperaBallet's Connecting Stars provides live performances for residents in care homes

Constella OperaBallet's Connecting Stars
Constella OperaBallet's Connecting Stars

During the first weeks of the pandemic, in 2020, Leo Geyer (artistic director of Constella OperaBallet) was chatting to his grandmother via Zoom and decided to play his bassoon for her to cheer her up. From this small seed grew Constella's Connecting Stars project where they provide live, virtual, interactive performances for residents in over 100 care homes, bringing high-quality performances to elderly and disabled care home residents, many of whom are still isolated. And the project has brought nearly nearly a thousand music and dance performances to people in care homes across the UK, and is set to continue in the future.

Leo said: 

"Virtual technology makes it possible to bring brilliant musicians and dancers to people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to benefit from such top-quality performances. Although it was our response to the exceptional situation at the time, it has become apparent that this is a successful model for the future."

"As well as watching a performance which has been specially tailored for the audience, the care home residents have the opportunity to chat to our artists and make requests, as well as join performances with clapping, singing and even dancing"

The scheme has been expanded from care homes for the elderly to include to include disabled people and others who are isolated due to health conditions.  Care home residents have watched performances from artists who work with the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre and Glyndebourne, including mezzo-soprano Rachel Maby, clarinettist Antanas Makštutis, violinists Henry Rankin and Philippa Mo, accordionist Ilona Suomalainen, and dancer Alice Oakley-Jones.

The use of Zoom means that the artists can perform from their own home or other convenient venue, thus making the performances more economically viable. Connecting Stars performances are currently free, thanks to funding from Arts Council England, and can be booked via Constella’s website.  To continue providing free performances,  the company has launched a donations campaign

   


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