Opera Arrives in the Downtown Eastside

Table of Contents


Carnegie Community Centre, with support from the Downtown Eastside community, the Vancouver Opera, and the SFU School of Contemporary Arts, worked with local residents and artists to create a community opera. The Carnegie Community Opera entitled Condemned - A work in progress tackles the theme of homelessness, and was written by five Downtown Eastside writers. It was performed by 22 community participants to sold-out houses in October 2006. Many more were involved in the early stages with an initial community meeting attended by 70 people who brainstormed ideas for the opera’s theme. A volunteer advisory made decisions each step of the way and worked with the stage director, composer, voice coach, and others.

Project funding of $20,700 by Innovations allowed the group to explore words and music together to illuminate the community and its residents. The community was showcased in a way that instilled pride in the Downtown Eastside. The group has since received funding from the BC Arts Council and the Spirit of BC and produced a libretto, mounting a second opera in 2008.

Innovations invests in arts, cultural and heritage organizations wishing to create new opportunities for community members to participate in arts and cultural activities. The program is supported by the Province of British Columbia.