Invisible Opera House


The Customs House // Urban Room Folkestone.

Folkestone Harbour as the home of a pop-up opera house. This is the vision underpinning this exciting new music project. Invisible Opera House will explore themes of belonging, change, the point of no return and how location shapes our identity.

"Welcome to Invisible Opera House - a fleeting, irresistible space where everyday life is interrupted by shared operatic experiences. Together with people from across Folkestone, Hythe and the further reaches of Kent, we will:

  • explore what relevance and agency opera has today
  • look at where it might find a home in Folkestone
  • and find out what happens when people from different walks of life come together to create an opera.

We invite you to step across the threshold and take your place at the table of the Grand Art" - Tania Holland Williams, 2019

During 2019, the pilot will deliver a series of interactive activities that introduce audiences to opera as a relevant and accessible art form. Invisible Opera House activities include:

  • digital music, theatre and set design workshops for young people
  • launch of a community chorus that targets older adults
  • Opera Hub Inquiries encouraging debate with adult groups
  • live performances in public spaces for all ages

The project will work closely with young refugees and local teenagers, commuters, recent migrants to Folkestone, older adults and those with some interest in opera but little experience of contemporary work.

SparkedEcho have been commissioned by Fat Lady Opera to co-produce Invisible Opera House. It is supported by funding from Arts Council Englandand private donations.

Come and create it... // Workshops:

Come along to the Invisible Opera House Creative workshops - a chance for young creatives in Folkestone to explore set design, digital music creation, and acting and improv.

Workshops are led by music and theatre professionals. There are three different creative disciplines to take part in - set design, digital music creation, and acting and improv. Some of the work you create will be used in live opera performances on the Folkestone Harbour Arm on 30 November 2019.


Thursday 26 September | SET DESIGN

Thursday 3 October | SET DESIGN

Thursday 10 October | SET DESIGN

Thursday 7 November | SET DESIGN


Thursday 17 October | DIGITAL MUSIC CREATION

Thursday 24 October | DIGITAL MUSIC CREATION

Thursday 31 October | DIGITAL MUSIC CREATION

Thursday 14 November | DIGITAL MUSIC CREATION

Acting and improv: Date TBC

Ideal for:

Young people aged 16 to 26. No previous experience needed.


The Creative workshops are free, but booking is essential.

We ask for a returnable cash deposit of £15. This will be returned if you attend at least one workshop, but is non-refundable if you do not come to any of the workshops.

Places are limited, so please book early.

How to book:

If you are interested in coming, please click the purple 'I’m interested in coming’ button from this page >>

If you have any questions, send an email to [email protected], and we will be in touch as soon as we can.

More info about the project is here >>

Come and discuss & collaborate with it... // Opera Hub

Opera Hub Inquiries are part of a larger project called Invisible Opera House - which is seeking a home for opera in Folkestone. The Inquiries programme aims to provoke discussion and collaborate with the audience to draw together insights into the grand art, with some informal live music to illuminate the way.

Thur 5th Sep - Opera: Captivation or Confinement? A conversational event led by renowned composer John Woolwichand director/mezzo Tania Holland Williams. At this event we are delighted to welcome the wonderful playing of Asako Morikawa on Viol. 19:30 - 21:00

26 Sep - Is Opera Gender Neutral?Led by world-class coloratura soprano Laure Meloy and director/mezzo Tania Holland Williams. A chance to find out more about the notion of identity in opera and where it might be heading in the 21st Century. 19:30 - 21:00

17 Oct - A Recipe for Opera - Led by composer/performer Anna Braithwaite and director/mezzo Tania Holland Williams, this interactive workshop will invite the audience to determine the essential ingredients and best methods for cooking up an opera. 19:30 - 21:00

28 Nov - The Clark Kent School of Opera - Led by Artistic Director of Fat Lady Opera, Tania Holland Williams that invites people to start to imagine a Folkestone, where the everyday congress of life is surprised, disrupted and delighted by the interruption of opera. 19:30 - 21:00

29 Nov - Who Needs An Opera House? - Led by artistic director of Tete a Tete festival Bill Bankes-Jones and director/mezzo Tania Holland, with special guest, composer Sam Bordoli. This evening will also include a performance of the short opera Belongings. 19:00 - 21:00

30 Nov - Performance of Night Watchers?- Come and experience an exciting performance of Night Watchers on the Railway Platform of Folkestone's Harbour Arm. As a new musical fusion of community opera and sea songs, it tells the story of seafaring people, whose shared identity is tempered by the sea. 20:00 - 20:30

Book your tickets for the above events here >>


Progress Agency