Rough for Opera #18 – Relaxed

This call for proposals is available in large print and audio.
For further information or support with access requirements for your application, contact Abigail at

What is Rough for Opera?

It’s a scratch night: a platform for new opera and work in development. 
It’s produced by Second Movement (
The first Rough for Opera was in October 2011. Since then it has platformed more than 40 new operas and operas in development. |
Each Rough for Opera is programmed from an open call for proposals.
Up to three proposals are programmed per event.

There is information about every past Rough for Opera, and each programmed work on this website, all from the drop down menu on the top left of the screen.

a man plays a violin and a woman who is a dancer has her hand gently stopping the end of his bow. They are both wearing silky blue costmumes

Dreaming Clouds created and performed by Alex Ho and Julia Cheng
Rough for Opera #17

Who can apply?

UK based composers, librettists, directors, performers or any other opera makers at any stage in their careers. You can apply as an individual, group, company or collective. 
We particularly welcome applicants with lived experience of disability and neurodiversity, and from people from groups currently under-represented in the arts.

What kind of proposals are we looking for?

New opera and voice-based musical work for staged performance.
Your work can be in development; Rough for Opera is a great place to try out or tests new ideas.
You can be new to making opera or music for staged performance; Rough for Opera is a great place to make your first work.
A wide variety of work is programmed at Rough for Opera, from opera and music makers from different musical backgrounds, with different experience and interests and ways of telling their stories, on stage, in music.
Your work could feature elements such as a string trio, electronics, turntables, baroque instruments, piano, unaccompanied voices or live video.
Rough for Opera is an opportunity to present your work in a theatrical context, and we’re interested in how you plan to use your performers, the stage and the theatre facilities to tell a story.
We encourage participants to make use of the facilities and technical support available at the Lilian Baylis Studio for their performance.

Essential Information for Proposals

As this is a music focused opportunity proposals must include a named composer or lead music maker.
Proposals must be for work that is entirely original and previously unperformed, either a complete work or extracts.
Your work can be between 10 and 30 minutes long.
You can use a maximum of 7 performers, including vocalists, instrumentalists and a conductor if relevant.
Your proposal must be for work suitable for ages 12+.
Proposals for concert performances are not eligible.

Hum by Edward Henderson
presented by Bastard Assignments
Rough for Opera #11

What will happen at Rough for Opera #18 – Relaxed?

There will be two performances on 3rd May, one at 2.30pm and one at 7.30pm.

The day before, on the 2nd May, each participant and their performing group will have a three-hour technical rehearsal at the Lilian Baylis Studio.
On the day of the performances, a further hour in the venue is available for each group.
Audience feedback about each performance will be obtained and shared with participants, via a Q&A after each performance and written feedback forms. Each performance is professionally documented.

All the performances at Rough for Opera #18 will be relaxed. There is more information about what this means in the section below titled Relaxed Performance.


Successful applicants will receive funding of £3000 from Second Movement.

The funding is paid in three instalments of £1000 made in January, March and May 2023.

Payment Schedule and Conditions:

Payment 1 January: will be made on completion of the Rough for Opera participation agreement.
Payment 2 March: we will ask you to prepare and submit a progress report before we make this payment. The report can be made in writing or in a telephone or video call.  
Payment 3 May: will be made after you have presented your performance on 3rd May.

The funding is in support of you and your group’s expenses in making your piece and presenting it on 3rd May. These expenses might include performer fees and travel expenses, a research and development project, props and costumes.

Access Support

Second Movement realises that there may be extra costs relating to participants’ access needs, or those of the people they are working with, in order for them to take part.
Second Movement can help to cover access costs for successful participants, including creative teams and performers. There is more information about this in the section titled How to Apply.

What else is provided?

The Death of Kodak by Ed Baxter
The Resonance Radio Orchestra
Rough for Opera #13

Second Movement provides

The performance venue
A piano, music stands and lights
Rehearsal sessions on 2nd and 3rd May in the Lilian Baylis Studio, with technical support from in-house technicians and lighting, sound and video facilities.
A stage manager and Second Movement producer to support participants throughout both days at the Lilian Baylis Studio.
Audience feedback delivered to participants.
Professional films, audio recordings and photographs of each performance.
A breakout room is available on 2nd May 2023 for those who need a quiet space to relax (also available to audience members on 3rd May).
All participants, creative and/or access teams and performers will have an allocated seat in the auditorium for each performance.We

Venue Access

The Lilian Baylis Studio is fully accessible.
Disabled parking is available.
Two dressing rooms are fully accessible, the third is not wheelchair accessible.

Relaxed Performance

All performances will be relaxed.

A relaxed performance is ideal for those who would benefit from a more informal approach to noise and movement in the auditorium or would feel more at ease knowing they could enter and exit freely.

This means that:

The theatre will be opened early to allow audiences more time to find their seats.
The Front of House team will be briefed on providing a more informal service and relaxing any expectations in terms of audience behaviour during the performance.
People will be able to leave and re-enter the auditorium more freely if they arrive late or need to spend time outside the space.
The house lights will remain slightly raised to during the performance to ensure the safety of those who need to move about.
Auditorium doors will be kept open during the performance to assist the audience in entering and exiting the theatre during the performance.
A quiet chill-out space will be provided with comfortable seating.

Some additional elements of this relaxed performance will be decided by the successful applicants, together, with support from Second Movement’s producer and the venue’s technicians.

These may include consideration of noise and lighting levels on stage during performances.
They will also decide what kind of information about this relaxed performance will be shared with the audience and what kinds of format that might be in. This could include printed programmes, a spoken introduction to each work or an introduction to the performers and their instruments.

Essential Information for Applicants

You must be available in London on 2nd May 2023 from 10am-8pm for technical rehearsals.
You must be available in London on 3rd May 2023 from 10am-10.30pm for the day of the performances. 
Successful applicants are responsible for sourcing and managing their own performers and arranging their own additional rehearsal time and space.

How to Apply

Please send your proposal to

You can apply in writing or by video or audio recording.
For written applications please include all information on a single PDF. Please title the PDF with your full name only.
Please send all video and audio recordings as links.

Proposals must include:

*An outline of the work you would like to present
200 words maximum

or a video or audio recording of 3 minutes maximum

Please include a description of the work, the kinds of performers you will use and how you think you and your work would benefit from taking part in Rough for Opera.

*An outline of your ideas for a simple staging of your piece
100 words maximum
Or a video or audio recording of 2 minutes maximum

Your proposal might include some ideas for simple lighting, costumes or small props.
Previous directing experience is not necessary and you do not need to have a director or designer in your team to apply.
Guidance will be available throughout the process to support you in developing and realising your ideas. 

*Biography of your  composer or lead music maker
200 words maximum
Or a video or audio recording of 3 minutes maximum
Please include details (if available) of any previous works for the stage and/or previous experience of staging your work.

*Weblinks for up to 3 examples of your composer’s work
Where available please include at least one piece for voice
We cannot accept video or audio files, please provide examples of your work as links from e.g. Soundcloud, You Tube or Vimeo.

Please do not send scores for your proposed work at this stage. These are not a requirement for proposals. We will contact you if we need any further information

*Names and contact details of 2 referees

You can also choose to include:

*A biog for your company (if you have one)
Or of the main person making your application if they are not the composer
200 words maximum
Or a video or audio recording of 3 minutes maximum (links only, no files)

Access Requirements

Please provide information about any access requirements.
You can give us this information in writing (please include on your PDF) or as a video or audio recording.
You can also include access requirements for your creative team and performers.
We realise that you may not know at this stage about everyone who will be in your creative team or performers. They can give us information about their access requirements once you have confirmed they are taking part.
Access requirements will not be used in the assessment of your application.

What Happens Next?

All eligible proposals will be considered by a panel of experienced opera makers who will decide on a shortlist of proposals.
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to an interview with the panel.
More than 50% of the panel identify as disabled.
Feedback on proposals will be available to all applicants.


Applications open 24th November 2022

Applications close 9pm on 21st December 2022

Shortlisted applicants will be notified by 5th January 2023

Shortlisted applicants’ interviews (zoom, 40 minutes) will take place on 9th and 10th January 2023

Successful applicants will be notified in the week beginning 16th January

If you have any queries before making an application please contact us at

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

When we receive your application we will send you a link to an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form for you to complete. Information included by you on the form will not be used in the assessment of your application.

Please note Second Movement is unable to provide advice on your creative ideas for individual proposals.