Today, Wexford Festival Opera launched a new outreach initiative as part of the 2021 Festival which will bring the opera to Wexford care homes and day centres with the support of its long-standing technology partner, Datapac. The initiative is part of the Festival’s outreach programme, Synapses, and will see a series of events performed in care-homes and day centres around the county, starting this month (October) and carrying into November and December. The theme of Synapses is about making connections between audiences, members of the Festival and the wider community, no matter where they are or what age. An event in St Mary’s Day Centre in Tagoat, Co. Wexford this morning launched this new programme of activities. Members of the Centre dressed up for the occasion and were treated to a performance by members of the Wexford Factory, the Festival’s new academy for young Irish and Irish-based singers. Staying within the theme of making connections between different age groups, the Factory singers were conducted by a group of Wexford children called ‘The Little Conductors’, who have been taking part in workshops with the Festival and it’s Conductor-in-Residence, Andrew Synott, learning how to conduct a performance. This programme for children is part of Wexford Festival Opera’s educational partnership with Wexford’s Music Generation.
The Festival, together with funding and technical support from Datapac, will continue to travel to different care-homes and centres in the months of November and December, to showcase different artists and elements of the Festival programme. Also part of these events will be a screening of a short documentary video made during the 70th Anniversary Festival, which is currently taking place, including interviews with members of the company and snippets of performances from the stage. This new programme of activities is one of the first in a series of future plans for the Festival to focus even more on community outreach and education, as well as showcasing outside of the Festival calendar. It is a key focus of the Festival as it celebrates its 70th year to stay connected to all its audiences and to share its art with those who may not be able to make it into the theatre itself, or perhaps have not yet. As a committed partner of both Wexford Festival Opera and the National Opera House, Datapac is enabling the roll-out of the Synapses initiative, providing funding and technology including audio visual equipment, projectors and screens. The company is also providing the connectivity needed to make it happen, as well as engineering support on the ground.
Dan Kickham, Chairman, Datapac said, “At a time when we as a society we need connection more than ever, Datapac is proud to deepen its partnership with Wexford Festival Opera through this fantastic initiative. As well as keeping it connected with the audiences of today as Information and Communications Technology partner, through the Synapses project we aim to bring the festival, an important part of the fibre of our community, to audiences of the past while also inspiring audiences of the future. “As a local employer in Enniscorthy for almost 40 years, we have always recognised the important role a vibrant arts industry and a bustling festival atmosphere play in ensuring our team live and work in an area that offers them a great lifestyle on their doorstep. We are delighted to join Wexford Festival Opera in celebrating 70 years through the launch of this project.”
Randall Shannon, Executive Director of Wexford Festival Opera said of the partnership, “We are hugely grateful to Datapac for their collaborative support in this new endeavour. Like the National Opera House and Wexford Festival Opera, Datapac are an important part of Wexford and they have always been extremely supportive of initiatives and projects which boost community vitality and cultural wellbeing”