The SWAP'ra Blog

July 9, 2019

Like many others I have been feeling lifted by fantastic initiatives that have been actively addressing what can be done about gender inequalities within the classical music profession. Although we have some way to go, it has been fantastic to see women’s composition starting to be played and more female conductors take to the podium. However, whenever I attend these concerts I find it hard to ignore one more, very visual gender problem within our orchestras…

I am a female percussionist and so it...

May 26, 2018

Music education in the UK has hit crisis point. An open letter published in the Guardian, signed by over 100 leading artists, expresses grave concerns about the exclusion of arts and creative subjects from the new English baccalaureate (Ebacc) for secondary school children, which they believe will seriously damage the future of many young people in this country, depriving them of opportunities for personal development in the fields of self-expression, sociability, imagination and creativity. The...

April 1, 2018

There are some questions you simply shouldn’t ask a woman - “Are you pregnant?” comes to mind - the person with the potential bump that you’re talking to might be bloated after a big meal, wearing a fashionable empire line top, rubbing their stomach because they have indigestion and not drinking because they are the designated driver. It is NEVER safe to assume.

There are some questions in particular that you should definitely not ask a woman if you’ve worked out (without asking) t...

March 8, 2018

This is for all the human beings of the opera industry. For everyone who has worn a smile when they have wanted to cry, for everyone who has pretended to know what they are doing when inside they feel like they are cheating, and for everyone who has ever felt pain or disappointment as well as pride and joy in their work. This is to tell you that it is ok to not be ok. It is ok to have doubts, confusion, and to struggle with our own sense of inferiority in the world around us. It’s called being h...

March 8, 2018

Kitty describes the differences between becoming a mother very early on in her career, and then again, ten years on.

No time like the present

I have been a mother since before my professional career began. I was pregnant with my first child during my last year of undergraduate studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, so in that respect I have never known any other way of having a career as an opera singer. They say there is no perfect time for a singer to have a baby, but in many ways s...

February 17, 2018

(First published in Audition Oracle, 27 September, 2017)

Earlier this month, Victoria Sadler wrote a, quite frankly, depressing article about the lack of work by female writers being programmed in the leading London theatres. The only theatre to come out in a positive light was Vicky Featherstone’s Royal Court, with a stonking ten out seventeen plays in the 2017 season written by women. At the other end of the scale was the Old Vic Theatre which programmed - can you guess? - zero plays by women i...

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