Opera Shack

Professional but warm, brimming with talent whilst down to earth and modest - the group possesses that rare combination of excellence in what they do and a real, proactive sense of inclusiveness.
— Dan Hall, Technola Education
Watching The Opera Shack’s wonderful production of Carmen, with spoken word poetry to entertain and explain, made me understand the power of opera for the first time. I’ve seen big productions in beautiful opera houses but this Carmen had intimacy, immediacy and impact.
— Audience member, Carmen
I fortuitously stumbled across Emma and the Opera Shack team performing in Sand Bar in Manchester. I was struck by the lively yet relaxed and open atmosphere they created and the mind-blowing talent of the performers
— Sam meech, 1big1
The Opera Shack are onto something special here and I would love to see more of this kind of thing in the future.
— Alex Pigott, the mancunion

the opera shack

Who are we?

The Opera Shack are a Manchester based arts collective who create innovative and accessible opera in unusual locations.

Founded in 2016, The Opera Shack combines various performing arts, (including music, physical theatre, movement, and spoken word) to create engaging and relevant performances. Through our work, we aim to remove the stigma surrounding opera as elitist and intimidating, and instead bring our immersive performances to a wider demographic. Since starting, we’ve put on sell out productions such as Carmen and Gianni Schicchi, worked in partnership and supported incredible charities such as Olympias Music Foundation and Streetwise Opera, as well as given performances in commercial and pop-up settings all over the North West!


For Booking Enquiries or any other questions

Please contact us at and we’ll get back to you as soon as humanly possible.







The Opera Shack are changing the way we do things. Firstly, we want to start performing with a regular pool of brilliant singers who will sing with us on a project by project basis. Secondly, we want to start paying our performers whenever and wherever possible. If you want to get involved, come and audition with us! If you’ve sung with us before, please come along and audition, as we’d love to hear how you’ve developed, as well as have a quick catch up.

The next audition date is Thursday 25th October 2018 from 4-9pm with our Artistic Director Emma Doherty and Musical Director Abi Kitching. In the auditions, an accompanist will be provided, and you will need to perform a solo piece of your choice. Performances should be off copy, and you will need to bring two copies of the score to the audition. Auditions will take place at Manchester Music Box:

Please note there will be a £2 cost for anyone who auditions in order to cover our accompanist and venue hire fee. This will need to be paid in cash upon arrival at the audition.



52 Newton St, Manchester M1 1ED


If you’d like to come and audition, please send a short biography or CV outlining your previous performance experience to us at Make sure you outline your availability between 4-9pm on Thursday 25th October 2018. If you can’t make that date, email us anyway and we might be able to sort something out, whatever the case, there will be more auditions in the future!

Deadline to Apply: Midnight on Friday 19th October. We’ll then try and send you your audition slot time as soon as humanly possible after the deadline.

Best of Luck!






About Us

opera shack pic.jpg

artistic director

emma doherty

Emma is a director and creative practitioner based in Manchester and the  artistic director of The Opera Shack. Following her directorial work with The Opera Shack, Emma is currently directing and devising for Manchester Collective, Olympias Music Foundation, Manchester Contemporary Youth Opera and Kensington Opera. Emma believes that accessibility of art is an invaluable tool for empowerment and emotional wellbeing. She has worked as a facilitator in various settings with young people and adults from differing backgrounds including Streetwise Opera, Brighter Sounds, The Irene Taylor Trust, Peshkar, TIPP, Manchester Rape Crisis, Manchester Action on Street Health, and Music Action International.


Production and Marketing director


Max is currently the Production and Marketing Director, occasional poet and performer of The Opera Shack. He graduated with a first class degree in Music with Spanish at the University of Manchester in 2018, and has recently started working as an Events Intern at the University of Manchester Student's Union. Whilst at Manchester, he was President of the University’s Chorus, Publicity Director for Ad Solem Chamber Choir, as well as writing and producing a musical called Some Shoes Don’t Fit. Max is also a published poet, and has been a prizewinner with Foyle Young Poets and Tower Poetry competitions. He believes that the accessibility of the arts is a necessity for the happiness of individuals and society, and hope to realise this belief through The Opera Shack.



AbiGAIL kitching

Abigail is a conductor, practitioner and singer. She graduated with a first class degree from The University of Manchester, where she was Musical Director of elite chamber choir, Ad Solem, and co-founder of Musica festival and The Opera Shack. Upon leaving university, Abigail was made Assistant Conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus after being awarded the Alexander Gibson Memorial Fellowship. She is passionate about increasing accessibility to the arts; she regularly runs music workshops for refugees and women’s groups (The Olympias Music Foundation), homeless participants (Streetwise Opera), and young people (Contact Theatre), witnessing the positive impact this work has on wellbeing. Abigail is an active singer and last year won the prestigious David Clover Festival of Singing recital category.


development manager 

Chloe jackson

Chloe graduated with a degree in music from the University of Manchester in 2017, and hopes to begin a Masters course in Theatre and Opera Performance in Berlin in 2019. Chloe is an aspiring opera singer, and has been involved in productions of Manon, Castor et Pollux, and Gianni Schicchi. She continues to perform with various ensembles around Manchester, and will be performing with a Young Artist Opera Festival this summer in productions of A Hand of Bridge and Don Giovanni. Chloe’s desire for more performance opportunities and more widely accessible opera productions led her to co-found The Opera Shack, through which she hopes to highlight opera’s social and political relevance in art culture. 




To find out more about our educational and community programmes and performances, please contact Emma Doherty at


The Opera Shack also offer workshops and courses in various settings. Recent workshops have included Women’s Voices (Olympias Music Foundation) and Streetwise Opera. We also offer workshops in schools allowing students to explore the stories, dramatisation, and musical themes of various operas. We combine excellent standards of performance with a passion for arts education – creating a unique model that inspires students to be creative and confident.

Through a variety of one-off workshops and week-long courses led by professional performers, participants are taken on an exploration of opera to discover the stories and themes, as well as performing specially arranged extracts from well-known operas themselves.

We believe that arts and culture are integral to the wellbeing and education of all people and are passionate about delivering high quality and enjoyable workshops, which showcase opera's accessibility for all.