SWAP'ra RETREAT AT GLYNDEBOURNE
16-19 FEBRUARY 2023
in association with
the 2023 SWap'ra retreat at glyndebourne
We’re incredibly proud to report that the first ever SWAP’ra Retreat took place with huge success earlier this spring. The Retreat was an inspiring residential course, providing intensive support, training and skills development for for parents who had given birth within the last four years and who were facing barriers to returning to singing careers in the opera industry. For a four-day programme hosted by SWAP’ra and supported by Glyndebourne, in February 2023, we invited a small, intimate group of artists with young children to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing, rebuild confidence to help them to feel able to promote themselves for future professional opportunities, and to connect with a friendly, safe and non-judgmental community
The programme was profoundly helpful and therapeutic for all involved. Each day started with yoga, which was specially tailored for the physical and emotional needs of these new mothers, rebuilding core strength so vital for singing, and healing emotional trauma experienced going through the shock of childbirth and new parenthood in the midst of the pandemic. Daily group sessions with a performance psychologist, also helped our participants to rebuild confidence and to make plans of how to move forward with their careers productively and to set realistic goals on how to balance parenthood with practice/auditions/performances.
There were coaching sessions and masterclasses with highly respected industry professionals, to work on audition repertoire, helping the artists to feel ready to get back onto their career paths. They also enjoyed a class on vocal health with Kate Valentine, which gave them brilliant advice on how to maintain their voices safely (even when working on little to no sleep). The course culminated in the recording of audition aria videos which are so vital now in our industry, and so expensive to make, and which will be a huge help to our participants, for self-promotion.
Aside from the practical support they received, it was hugely beneficial to them all to have three days of peace and headspace in the beautiful grounds and building at Glyndebourne. SWAP’ra provided meals for the participants, and the schedule incorporated free time either to work or to rest, which are two commodities that are so rarely available to mothers of very young children, so this was as valuable as the classes and coaching sessions.
All of this was provided free of charge to our participants and we’d like to extend a huge thank you from the very bottom of our hearts all those who helped up to make it happen, particularly to our donors and sponsors.
For more information about the practitioners who delivered the coaching, masterclasses and other therapeutic sessions at the SWAP’ra Retreat, keep scrolling down!
What is the SWAP’ra Retreat?
An inspiring residential course, providing intensive support, training and skills development for new mothers and birthing-parents, facing barriers to returning to singing careers in the opera industry. A four-day programme co-hosted by SWAP’ra and Glyndebourne, February 16th-19th 2023, the SWAP’ra Retreat supported a small, intimate group of mothers/birthing-parents to improve their physical and emotional wellbeing, rebuild confidence so they feel able to promote themselves for future professional opportunities, and to connect with a friendly, safe and non-judgmental community
We worked to achieve these outcomes through a carefully curated programme of activity, including:
Sessions with a performance psychology coach.
Group yoga sessions led by an expert in post-natal core strength rehabilitation
Individual vocal coaching sessions.
Informal discussions with peers who understand the precise pressures and obstacles faced by fellow opera parents.
Two masterclasses led by industry experts.
Professional recordings of two audition arias that can be used to support attendees’ return to auditions and professional engagements.
How much DOES it cost to attend?
Places on the course were free of charge for all artists attending the retreat, with suitable accommodation for themselves/their families as appropriate, provided.
Who is eligible?
The SWAP’ra retreat was open to applications from opera singers who:
are based full-time in the UK
have given birth in the past 0 to 4 years (four years and under at 16/02/2023)*
were in the final stages of opera training with a demonstrably promising future career, or had already established a professional career in opera before the birth of their first child
can demonstrate an ongoing commitment to a career in opera
will feel ready to record two unedited opera arias, off copy, by February 19th 2023
are available for the entirety of the course
*our intention in the future is to hold a separate course for parents and carers of children in a broader age range, for those who have taken a significant career break to raise children.