Trials

Logo Irish National Opera

Out of the ordinary

A virtual reality community opera, created with Irish speakers living on Inis Meáin, teenagers in rural areas and adults in Tallaght and South Dublin

Founded in 2018, Irish National Opera is the youngest of the partners but it is already building a reputation for its use of new media to innovate in opera. In response to this interest, and the absence of large theatres in most of Ireland, the INO trial is the first community opera to be created in and for Virtual Reality (VR). The opera they are co-creating with professional artists and participants will be experienced through virtual reality headsets, and will tour throughout the country from summer 2022 allowing them to bring opera to parts of Ireland usually excluded from access to this art form. The communities involved reflect a cross-section of Ireland today, including Irish speakers from the Atlantic island of Inis Meáin, teenagers from different rural districts and adults from Dublin.

The co-creation process started online, due to restrictions imposed by the pandemic with a series of workshops, held on Zoom, exploring visual design, composition and storytelling. Facilitators empowered the participants to create imagery, narrative and music which has been collected to serve as the stimulus for the development of the final opera.

Online workshops with Inis Meáin residents

A selection of imagery created in visual design workshops with Ceara Conway

Co-Creation Space Open Pilot

INO used the Co-Creation Space in an open pilot for composition workshops. During these workshops, composer Finola Merivale worked with participants to explore a range of composition techniques, such as creating sounds with your body without singing or making instruments using household objects. This approach was designed to challenge participants’ ideas about what composition can entail and the ideas it leads to.

As part of the workshop, Finola prompted participants to create their own short piece or musical idea that they captured on their phones, a process that generated a huge amount of material. Rather than using tools like email or WhatsApp, workshop participants used the Co-creation Space Traction tool, not only to store and discuss recordings, but also to support one another’s work, through comments and emojis. Each workshop culminated in a co-created piece of digital music as well as providing creative stimulus for the final VR opera that will be presented in 2022.

Read more about our Co-Creation Workshops.