Photos: Jolade Olusanya, Charles Newman, Ruby Yeung

Singing Our Lives 2018

Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Refugee Week
6pm, Sunday July 1st, Milton Court Concert Hall, Guildhall School of Music & Drama

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On 1st July 2018 singing will once again unite choirs of refugees, migrants and local communities in the return of the acclaimed Singing Our Lives project. This ground-breaking initiative explores through music the stories and experiences of refugees and migrants in the UK. The concert marks the culmination of a unique creative process bringing 4 amateur choirs together with professional musicians to share experiences and compose new music together.


Building on the success of last year's Singing Our Lives project, over 200 performers will celebrate diversity through original music combining opera, classical, popular and electronic genres with music from around the globe. The Singing Our Lives concert hosted by Together Productions, in partnership with IOM- the UN Migration Agency, Freedom from Torture, The Royal Opera House, Improbable and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama will mark the final event of the 20th Anniversary of Refugee Week.


With music as the common language, the project aims to bring together local communities, migrants and refugees to build mutually positive, trusting and lasting relationships that benefit all.


Singing Our Lives reunites the Mixed Up Chorus, the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus, the Sing for Freedom Choir and the Guildhall School as well as featuring refugee and asylum-seeker choir Woven Gold and professional vocal ensemble Stile Antico.


This year acclaimed theatre and opera director Phelim McDermott joins as Stage Director for the project, alongside Musical Director Jeremy Haneman and Creative Producer Holly Jones.


Over six months the four choirs will come together at creative workshops/rehearsals facilitated by composer Mike Roberts (Head of Electronic Music, Guildhall School of Music & Drama), librettist Sarah Grange and director Phelim McDermott (Improbable) with students from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. These will include using Open Space Technology - a collaborative tool that forms a big part of how Improbable works - as well as building on methods developed in Singing Our Lives 2017.

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"We wanted to explore ways in which the arts, specifically choirs, could be used to build bridges between people from different backgrounds and bring a more nuanced understanding of the lived experiences of refugees and migrants to wider communities. With composer Mike Roberts and librettist Sarah Grange, we pioneered a new collaborative composition process, bringing together community choirs, refugee groups and professional musicians and culminating in a new song cycle – Singing Our Lives 2017. We are delighted to be building on the successes of last year and working with new partners to take the project even further."
Holly Jones and Jeremy Haneman, Together Productions


"When migrants, refugees and communities come together and learn from each other - as they do for Singing Our Lives - this is the true essence of integration. It is a two way process fostering mutual understanding and reducing vulnerabilities and risks of marginalization. IOM is proud to be a partner in such a unique undertaking as Singing Our Lives for the second year."
IOM UK Chief of Mission, Dipti Pardeshi


Partners and Performing Groups:

together productions logoIOM logoguildhall music logoROH logo

freedom from tortutre logoimprobable logorefugee week logo

misexd up chorus logowovengold logostile antico



Funded by Arts Council England and National Lottery Awards for All

thurrock councillottery logoACE logo


The Thurrock Community Chorus is generously supported by Kim Samuel and Thurrock Borough Council.


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