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 by a group of music students at The University of Manchester, 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.



We are always looking for new talent so whether you are a singer, poet, musician, composer or just want to hear more, please contact us at for more information.





In the first half of 2018, we worked on our production of Bizet's Carmen, which was performed in Salford from 14-16 June. We're hoping to have some reviews up soon, as well as re-performing it elsewhere in the future, but in the meantime here's a trailer that gives a real taster of the show in case you missed it. Video by Morven Oliver.






About Us

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artistic director

emma doherty

Emma is a director, singer, teacher and practitioner based in Manchester and the  artistic director of The Opera Shack. Emma graduated with a first class degree in music from the University of Manchester, and performs regularly as a soprano soloist with many ensembles and choirs. During her second year, Emma directed the University’s annual opera Rameau’s Castor and Pollux which led her to co-found The Opera Shack, and go on to be the stage director for Manchester Contemporary Youth Opera's inaugural two week course. Emma is passionate about music education and the accessibility of art for all as a tool of empowerment and wellbeing. She was a student ambassador for The Royal Opera House and works with Manchester Rape Crisis, Manchester Action on Street Health, Brighter Sounds, The Irene Taylor Trust and Music Action International.


Marketing director


Max is currently the Marketing Director, occasional poet and performer of The Opera Shack, whilst still studying his final year of Music with Spanish at the University of Manchester. Whilst at Manchester, he has been 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 artistic marketing and The Opera Shack.


community coordinator

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 programmes and performances, please contact Emma Doherty at


The Opera Shack also offer workshops and courses for young people, 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, students 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 children and are passionate about delivering high quality and enjoyable workshops, which showcase opera's accessibility for all.