Trials

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“O tempo (Somos Nós)”

Time (As We Are)

A community opera, created with young inmates, family members, former inmates, residents of Leiria and prison service staff.

O Tempo (Somos Nós)’, second performance 3 June 2022, Leiria, Portugal © Gil de Lemos/SAMP 

The Mozart Pavilion at Estabelecimento Prisional de Leiria – Jovens (Prison)

©SAMPJoaquim Dâmaso

The Sociedade Artística Musical dos Pousos (SAMP) is an independent music school in Leiria, central Portugal, with an exceptionally strong community music programme for everyone from babies to people at the end of life. SAMP musicians have been working in the city’s youth prison since 2004, first as volunteers, and more recently with funding from Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, which supported the production of Mozart operas in 2015 and 2017. The TRACTION trial builds on that experience through the co-creation of a new opera, written and composed by professional artists with inmates, relatives and staff members, using the Co-Creation Stage technology to link people in real time, inside and outside of the prison during performances in Lisbon and Leiria. The Portuguese Traction project trial combines the most elaborate and complex musical genre with a service for the rehabilitation of young inmates.

The Mozart Pavilion Centre for Performing Arts

The Mozart Pavilion is located inside the grounds of the Estabelecimento Prisional de Leiria – Jovens (EPL-J) youth prison in Leiria. Originally, the newly renovated space of the Mozart Pavilion inside the prison was for binding books. With this activity no longer available, the pavilion was given another purpose, and with it, another name. After singing so many of Mozart’s pieces from operas such as Don Giovanni and Così fan Tutte, it seemed appropriate to name it the Mozart Pavilion. It has become a dedicated performing arts and rehearsal space for SAMP and the inmates.

In January 2021, the doors to the Mozart Pavilion opened for the first time, marking a momentous occasion for SAMP who have been working for years to create a space dedicated to music inside the prison walls. The goal is for it to eventually become a centre for performing arts with permanent shows, open not only to inmates, but also to family and friends and to the wider community. More than just a room for cultural enjoyment in Leiria, the Mozart Pavilion will be a place where the young participants of the project will be able to experience collective artistic creation, adding sounds and images to their words, and expressing their feelings and ideas. In January 2021, the Mozart Pavilion was inaugurated with a performance using the Co-creation Stage tool to enable a real-time performance from three locations.

Highlights from this special event can be seen in this video, demonstrating the first experiments using the Co-creation Stage tool as well as a work-in-progress version, which is being developed iteratively in the project.

The inauguration of the Mozart Pavilion

What’s Next…?

During the final months of the project, more small performances will be delivered, exploring all the opportunities of the toolset to create novel opera formats.