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Making Manchester interview 4 - Emma Doherty, Director


Emma Doherty is a Manchester based stage director and the Artistic Director of The Opera Shack, a collective designed to create accessible opera in unusual locations. Emma’s work is rooted in accessibility and art as a tool of empowerment. Recent projects include a seven city tour of Pierrot Lunaire with Manchester Collective (***** - North West End), Director for Mahogany Opera’s Snappy Opera Scheme, Assistant Director for National Opera Studio at Welsh National Opera, a sell out production of Carmen with The Opera Shack and an observership on La Traviata at The Royal Opera House. Emma has recently been selected as Young Artist Director for Waterperry Opera Festival and First Assistant Director for Keith Warner for British Youth Opera.  Emma is the director for Making Manchester and will be working alongside the artistic partners and DTA students to devise the final performance.



What interested you about Making Manchester, and why did you decide to get involved?

Making Manchester is all about celebrating how migration has made Manchester the place that we know and love today. To be able to facilitate young people to explore and celebrate their stories and their family’s stories in a creative capacity really appeals to me and I can’t wait to see what we come up with.


How do you see Making Manchester being different from other projects you've been involved in?

At the centre of this project are the young people’s stories. All creative responses that we’ve come up with – whether that is the artists involved, words of the poem or the musical influences – have been derived directly from their words. When we go into Dean Trust for the first workshop, the first questions we will ask the students are ‘What is the message you want to get across to the audience? And ‘What is the story you want to tell?’ The answers to these will be central to everything that is created. I think that is really exciting - that these young people will be given the opportunity to determine the outcome of the final piece.


What are you most excited about, as part of Making Manchester?

I am most excited for the moment that all elements of this multifaceted piece are put together. Making Manchester comprises poetry, live recordings, live music and movement all inspired by the original accounts written by the young people. The whole piece culminates in a musical performance devised by and performed by the young people. The moment the entire artistic team are in the same space and we perform the final piece for the first time will be really special.

What do you hope to achieve in your role as part of the project?

As well as creating an artistically cohesive and exciting performance, more than anything I hope to achieve a piece that is true to the intention of the young people’s words and to bring together members of the community to celebrate migration.



Two performances of Making Manchester will take place on 27/28th June at Niamos Radical Arts Centre. Tickets for are £5 and available from Skiddle, Tickets For Good or on the door.


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