Jerwood Opera Writing Programme

Four Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowships are being offered to provide bespoke support to composers and writers and their collaborators who want to develop a particular opera idea for commission and performance. Fellowships are open to composers with some (but not a lot) of experience of opera, including but not limited to graduates of the Opera Foundation.

Fellowships are intended to give support during the development of an opera project. Fellowships will provide a collaborative, supportive environment, as well as financial and practical support and expertise e.g. bursaries, workshops and mentoring.

We’re looking for emerging opera writers who are excited about the artistic possibilities of the genre. We want to encourage artists who want to stretch their own practice, and who will contribute to the view that opera is a vibrant and relevant art-form in the twenty-first century.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 31 January 2016. Please download an application form which includes full details of how to apply.


Information about the Jerwood Opera Writing Fellowships, April 2016 – March 2018


An advisory panel will select a maximum of four projects to be awarded a Fellowship. An announcement of the successful proposals will be made around the end of March 2016. Proposed works on a chamber scale will have more chance of selection because, with resources available, we can offer more constructive support.


A mentor may be assigned to each Fellowship. Travel expenses will be provided (and accommodation if required) for the creative team to come together, as well as meet with their mentor throughout the fellowship period.

Get Together Week in Aldeburgh

There will be a communal workshop for all Fellows given by leading practitioners, where the participants will contribute material which will form the basis for the exploration of form, technique and ideas. It may include libretto readings and run-throughs of scenes. This get together and workshop will take place over a week in Spring 2017 at Aldeburgh.


With dramatic landscapes, soaring skies and a rich musical history, Aldeburgh is a haven for creativity, a place where artists from around the world have found inspiration and reached their full potential since the days of Benjamin Britten. An Aldeburgh Residency will provide the opportunity for Fellows to spend time on the Suffolk Coast, providing space to work, accommodation, travel expenses and a per diem to cover living expenses. It may be possible to provide further resources for Residencies, which will be tailored to suit the individual needs of each Fellowship.


Two workshops at Aldeburgh will be offered for each Fellowship, the second of which will take place towards the end of the Fellowship period when a first draft of the entire project should be complete. The final workshop will include a play-through of substantial sections of the work with singers, instrumentalists and conductor.

Outline timetable

To allow for the fact that artists work at different speeds, we expect the Fellowship to last between twelve and twenty-four months and achieve the following landmarks very approximately as follows:

  • at six months, a script or the basic structural/narrative ideas;
  • at twelve months, a first workshop with a small group of musicians;
  • at eighteen to twenty-four months a first draft of the entire project should be complete and the second workshop will take place with singers, instrumentalists and a conductor.

Although there is unlikely to be uniformity in the needs of each project, at eighteen months it will be clear whether a project is ready for production, or needs further development/revision time at Aldeburgh or elsewhere.

Future Life – Post Fellowship

A network of producers will be encouraged who are interested in presenting these works.

All participants will be asked to ensure that Aldeburgh has an option to present any work within a two-year period, and that Aldeburgh and Jerwood Charitable Foundation will be appropriately credited if a work has a future life in any other venue or with another producer.


If you have any questions regarding the Fellowships, please contact Chelsea Lawrence, Opera Administrator at Aldeburgh Music by email: or telephone: 01728 687 154.

Jerwood Foundation participants and tutors 2015