The project focuses on strengthening musical and social skills of underprivileged and special needs children with physical and /or intellectual disabilities. The general objective is to improve the lives of disadvantaged young South Africans, primarily in townships, low income and rural communities of Western Cape, who have an identified artistic talent or desire to include the arts in their lives. Opera cast in and rehearsals, musical performances will improve their opportunities to:
- Receive quality training in singing and acting;
- Empower their creative and artistic talent;
- Strengthen their relational and social skills;
- Become acquainted with an elite form of art;
- Lay the foundation for a possible career in the opera.
- 18 special needs learners with physical and/or intellectual disabilities from Lathi-tha Special Needs School (Khayelitsha), Western Cape Province;
- 60 deaf and dumb students from the Dominican School for the Deaf in Wynberg and the Noluthando School for the Dead in Khayelitsha, who attended “Tsotsi the Musical”;
- 236 primary and high school students from 7 rural and marginalized schools, of which 117 are special needs students.
Between January and June 2018, also with Alta Mane support, Cape Town Opera company allowed 18 special needs learners from the Lathi-tha Special Needs School to participate to a music and lyrics training, to cast in and rehearse the piece titled “Finding David”, an abridged version of the book of Athol Fugard, “Tsotsi”, narrating the “redemption” story of a gangster from a township in South-Africa. The performance, featured 3 times (March 15-16, and May 31st) at the Lathi-tha Special Needs School, suited the creative and artistic capabilities of the 18 learners, thus strengthening their self-esteem. In the same period of time, Cape Town Opera allowed 60 special needs students (deaf and dumb) from the Dominican School for the Deaf in Wynberg and the Noluthando School for the Deaf in Khayelitsha to attend “Tsotsi the Musical” at the Artscape Theater Center in Cape Town. In 2017, with the partial support of Alta Mane, Cape Town Opera company allowed 74 learners with special needs and physical and intellectual disabilities from the Karitas (Vredenburg) and Lathi-tha (Khayelitsha) Primary Schools to participate to a music and lyrics training, to cast in and rehearse the youth opera “The Singing Garden” (newly written by Francesco Nassimbeni), based loosely on the story of Alice in Wonderland; as well, allowed 15 learners from the Lathi-tha Special Needs School to attend a performance of “The Magic Flute” featured by Cape Town Opera, including sing language interpretation and audio description, performed at the Artscape Theater Center. Since the inception of the Program “Opera is my Firs Language” in July 2017, Cape Town Opera developed different music and lyrics trainings in 7 rural and marginalized primary and secondary school of the Western Cape Province, reaching a total of 236 students, out of which 117 are special needs students.
Cape Town Opera is the largest non-profit performing arts entity and the only full-time opera company in South Africa. Since its establishment as a non-profit company in 1999, the company has been committed to the continued performance and development of opera, operetta and musical theater in South Africa. The company’s overall goal is to increase the relevance of opera as a performing art form in South Africa. To realize this goal, the company’s main objectives are to undertake the training and development of young South African artists and opera practitioners, as well as to facilitate public access to opera, that it is increased through outreach and education initiatives.