Loose Tea Music Theatre program participants
Loose Tea Music Theatres inaugural participants of the BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program: Ashley Au, Christene Browne, Shreya Jha, Nam Nguyen. (Photo: Loose Leaf Music Theatre)

Loose Tea Music Theatre announces the inaugural members of their BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program.

A two-year program dedicated to the development of diverse creators that are new to the opera and music theatre scene, the goal is to address systemic racism and underrepresentation in the industry.

Teaming up composers and librettists, selected teams will produce a 30-45 minute chamber opera by the end of this course with the help of established mentors such as Eliot Britton and Marjorie Chan. Through two workshops, one for reading and development in summer of 2021 and one fully staged and tech workshop in summer 2022, they will create an original piece for performance.

Loose Leaf Music Theatre Mentors
Loose Tea Music Theatre BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program mentors Eliot Britton and Marjorie Chan. (Photo: Loose Tea Music Theatre)

Composer Ashley Au and librettist Christene Browne were selected to create their opera that tells the story of isolation and death through the point of view of the elderly: Inertia.

“I have always been an admirer of contemporary independent opera and had not considered how I could play a creative role in this world. Working with operatic voices and collaborating with a librettist is going to
be an adventure,” says Au.

The second team features composer Shreya Jha and librettist Nam Nguyen who aim to create a work that reflects their shared heritage and experience in a way that highlights the multifaceted components of their lives.

“We truly need the arts more now than ever, and I cannot wait to explore how opera can tell novel stories in a captivating way and amplify oppressed voices,” says Jha.

But these aren’t the only people to come out of the BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program auditions with a place at Loose Tea. Artistic directors Alaina Viau and Joanna Diindiisikwe Simmons commissioned Olivia Shortt‘s The Museum, an allegory about how society treats missing and murdered indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people.

Loose Leaf Music Theatre's Carmen
Erika Iris as Carmen in the 2019 Loose Tea Music Theatre production of ‘Carmen #YesAllWomen’. (Photo: Loose Tea Music Theatre)

Charlotte Siegel, another applicant is set to join Loose Tea’s team as a librettist on Carmen #YesAllWomen in their 2022 Ontario tour.

“We cannot wait to hit the ground running with the first co-horts of this program. We believe that this program will help bring needed change to an industry where there is extraordinarily little BIPOC representation. We are fiercely dedicated to facilitate artist growth, experimentation, and curiosity by offering access to programs such as this,” says  Viau and Diindiisikwe Simmons.

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