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.






Exciting updates coming soon!






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 (Carmen, Bizet and Gianni Schicchi, Puccini) Emma is currently directing and devising for Manchester Collective (Pierrot Lunaire, Schoenberg) Olympias Music Foundation (Making Manchester and Hansel and Gretel, Humperdinck), Manchester Contemporary Youth Opera and Kensington Opera (Die Fledermaus, Strauss). Emma believes that accessibility of art is an invaluable tool for empowerment and emotional wellbeing. She has worked as a facilitator with young people and adults in various settings including Streetwise Opera, Brighter Sounds, The Irene Taylor Trust, TIPP, Manchester Rape Crisis, Manchester Action on Street Health, and Music Action International.


Production and Marketing director


Max is a Manchester based creative and organiser. With The Opera Shack, he generally works behind the scenes by producing and marketing events and productions, as well as doing design and poetic work. He graduated with a first class degree in Music with Spanish from the University of Manchester in 2018, and has recently started working as an Events Intern at the University of Manchester Student's Union. Max has worked with a variety of organisations including Olympias Music Foundation, Migrant Support, Kantos Chamber Choir, The University of Manchester Chorus and Ad Solem Chamber Choir. Max is also a published poet, and has been a prizewinner with Foyle Young Poets and Tower Poetry competitions. He believes that accessibility to the arts is a necessity for the wellbeing of individuals and society, and hopes to realise this belief through The Opera Shack.



AbiGAIL kitching

Abi is a Manchester based conductor and music facilitator. Alongside her role as Musical Director of The Opera Shack, she is the Assistant Musical Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus, Musical Director of Blackburn Music Society, Preston Orpheus Society and Darwen Ladies Choir, as well as being a conductor for the Hallé corporate choir scheme. She is passionate about increasing accessibility to the arts, reflected in her work as a workshop leader for Streetwise Opera, The Irene Taylor Trust (Making Tracks and Music in Prisons), Olympias Music Foundation (Women’s Voices), Contact Theatre, The Academy Singers (Piccadilly Symphony Orchestra), Child’s Play India Foundation and her position as Artist in Residency at Risley Prison. She is co-founder of Musica Festival (Manchester University) which celebrates female music making, and is a regular singer; she has extensive choral experience and won the Rectial category in the David Clover Festival of Singing in 2017.


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.