One Act Opera – ‘Cofi Opera’ – music written with children from Ysgubor Goch, Caernarfon. Artists included Prima Strings, Robyn Lyn (tenor), Llio Evans (soprano), beatboxer Ed Holden and poet Mei Mac.

The whole process was filmed by BBC Wales for S4/C.

Funded by: Children in Need.

Venturing into the unknown. I hasten to add, however, that community activity should not always necessarily focus on events which are familiar, safe, easy to understand and popular. In my experience, people are prepared to venture into unfamiliar territory as long as there is a strong element of trust in the tutors or facilitators and that they are included in the creative process from the beginning. This was the case with the Cofi Opera production in 2008 performed by Cwmni Cofis Bach, an arts project linked to SBARC! and based at the Peblig estate. This was a perfect example of taking a disadvantaged community on an ambitious and challenging artistic journey. In my opinion, the arts community does itself no favours by adhering to what feels comfortable and safe when working with disadvantaged groups. It is also patronising. There is no doubt that there is an element of risk in doing things which push the boundaries and confound expectations. But what is actually wrong with staging a modern community opera in the middle of a council estate in Caernarfon?

[Elen ap Robert. Arts Council of Wales. Community Arts in Wales Review.]