The Identity Crisis Project: Using Opera to Tackle Tough Issues

5 February, 2018

“As an opera composer, I know that opera has a crucial role to play”

RESEO member Omar Shahryar has an exciting – and important – new project in the pipeline. Growing up after 9/11 as a mixed-race Scottish-Bangladeshi, it pained Omar to feel that part of his identity could be seen as a threat by society, while he continued to fear the threat of extremist violence.

Sixteen years later, Omar’s company Opera Schmopera has created a unique project alongside Gestalt Artsthat enables him to contribute his perspective and skills to the creation of a more harmonious society.

The Identity Crisis project aims to use opera to engage young people safely and sensitively with issues surrounding terrorism. The project started with facilitated group dialogues with teenagers at North Huddersfield Trust School about terrorism’s causes and effects. Creating a safe space for young people to discuss sensitive topics and practice critical thinking forms a key part of the approaches to peace-making and extremism-prevention.

Inspired by the discussion, Omar has brought together a team to make the opera A Shoe Full of Stars, focusing on young people, courage and dialogue.

In order to ensure A Shoe Full of Stars is created in the best possible conditions, Opera Schmopera and Gestalt Arts have launched a crowdfunding campaign that aims to raise £4,330 (€4887). You can support The Identity Crisis project here.

For more information, please contact operaschmopera (at)