02. July 2012 · Comments Off on Read Online · Categories: Read Online

When the former Conservative cabinet minister Sir George Young famously said: “The homeless are what you step over when you come out of the opera,” a debate was sparked at the shelter where a young opera critic, Matthew Peacock, worked as a volunteer. “A discussion began about what homeless people needed and wanted. It wasn’t blankets and housing: they wanted to show the public what homeless people can do. It was about restoring pride,” he says.

From that conversation grew the company Streetwise Opera – which, with Peacock as its founding chief executive, now has a string of critically acclaimed productions to its name. And this week, the story has turned full circle, as Streetwise and a host of other homeless or ex-homeless performers take over the Royal Opera House.

The event, With One Voice, is part of the London 2012 festival – the first time that homeless people have been given a platform at an Olympic Games. Instead of being, in Peacock’s words, “overlooked, made unwelcome, or, worst-case scenario, moved on”.


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