New Directions

Our ambition at Music Theatre Wales is to be a force for change: to challenge opera’s tendency to cling to the past by forging a new and different direction of travel for the future of the art form.

We believe that if we expand the horizons of opera, we can demonstrate that it’s an art form capable of engaging with people from all areas of society. To achieve this, we know that we too must change, and take our lead from artists with whom we have never previously worked. By collaborating with a wider range of practitioners and harnessing their creativity to explore new ideas, forms and stories, we will be able to connect to and inspire audiences we don’t currently reach.

To start this process, we’re launching New Directions.

With New Directions, Music Theatre Wales sets out to achieve real change - for the company, in terms of the diversity of those we work with and commission, and for the future of opera.

Through this new programme, we will ask: what can opera and music theatre in the 2020s be? Who makes it? Who is it for? How is it created? And where is it performed?

New Directions will celebrate the voices of those we commission as artists in their own right, and lead by example in an industry that has been slow to embrace diversity. We will be led by the commissioned artists’ visions for what opera and music theatre can be, in terms of the stories they choose to tell and the forms and processes they employ. As MTW enters into this new period of creativity, collaborating with artists who will inspire us to innovate, we are excited to also reach out to new and more diverse audiences and share our work more widely.

New Directions is led by Elayce Ismail, a theatre/opera director and dramaturg, who holds the newly-created post of Artistic Associate.

New Directions - Digital Works

Inspired by the creation of our first digital work, AMAZON (link) by Alex Ho and Elayce Ismail (commissioned for the Homemakers programme at HOME Manchester in July 2020 and created in partnership with associate company the London Sinfonietta), New Directions begins with three short digital commissions which bring together artists who have not previously collaborated with each other. The short commissioned works begin exploring what opera might be, and will open the discussion about how to approach making opera as a digital form.

We are proud to present these first, New Directions pieces:

The House of Jollof Opera

digital Production

Pride (A Lion's Roar)

digital Production


digital Production

An unexpected outcome of this initial phase of work is the potential development of new networks with other organisations such as LOYALTY – a mentoring scheme for emerging Black artists in Wales, and ENOA (European Network of Opera Academies) who have established residencies for diverse artists in European opera companies.