Opera North is joining its Access Ambassador Victoria Leeds on Tuesday 12 November at 11.30 a.m. to bring the joy of opera to shoppers at Victoria Quarter.
The performance marks Purple Tuesday, an initiative which changes the shopping experience for those who are disabled and have additional needs. Bibi Heal will sing a selection of Parisian café songs, as well as some familiar arias from various operas. She will be accompanied by Miloš Milivojević.
The event is designed to be as relaxed and welcoming as possible, when shoppers will be encouraged to react however they feel, and to come and go as best suits them.
Alice Gilmour, Opera North Access Officer, said:
“We aim to give everybody the chance to enjoy at first hand the pleasure and feelings of wellbeing that singing and live performance can bring. By taking opera away from the stage and into the wonderful environs of the Victoria Quarter, we hope to bring the world of opera within everyone’s reach and to provide a memorable experience for anyone shopping that day.
We’re planning on keeping the event as relaxed as possible to ensure it feels particularly welcoming for people living with dementia, and for those with learning disabilities, movement disorders, autistic spectrum disorder or other neurological conditions, as well as their companions. People can react as they wish to the music and will be able to come and go as they please.”
Jo Coburn, General Manager at Victoria Leeds, said:
“Victoria Leeds is passionate about making a positive impact in the community and we’re committed to enhancing our shopping experience to ensure that this can be enjoyed by everyone. Purple Tuesday is a great initiative and we look forward to celebrating with a range of activities at Victoria Leeds including the special performance from Opera North in the grand surroundings of the arcades at Victoria Quarter.”
Other activities being held in Victoria Leeds on Purple Tuesday include a yoga session in aid of Breast Cancer Haven and a Sensory Unit run by Guide Dogs Leeds which will give people with normal vision the perspective of what it is like to be blind or partially sighted.
Opera North is also committed to making its work accessible in the theatre, offering a range of different performances, including audio described, signed, captioned and dementia-friendly:
Photograph by Amy Charles of Bibi Heal performing at Simon Marks Court.
Mags is the Copy Editor at Leeds Living, who scours articles and makes sure they’re perfect before they’re published. She also reviews theatre.