Persona Arts

Sponsor Name: Byron Jackson FRSA

Location: Midlands

Sector: Arts

Budget: 50k - 100k

Social Links

Persona Arts are seeking sponsorship to develop their project as they provide access of opera to West Midland communities.


Persona Arts are a BME-led West Midlands based arts company who stage opera, classical and choral workshops, concerts and productions to the highest possible standards.

Persona Arts strives to be part of the future change of the opera and choral arts landscape in the UK, championing, access, diversity and inclusion from grassroots level.

Formerly known as BJ Music Events Limited, (BJME), it was founded in 2008 as a not-for-profit initiative to bring opera as an art form to the people of Birmingham in their communities. Co-founders Byron Jackson and Amanda Doyle recognised that there was a need for engagement with classical music through awareness, audience development and direct participation. Since then, BJME has held music events across the West Midlands, including ‘come and sing’ workshops, opera concerts, recitals, and live music nights, facilitated by some of the country’s top performing artists.

An opera concert in a central community venue in 2009 was a sell-out, raising hundreds of pounds for charity. Workshops in local primary schools over the following two years were also a success. In September 2012 BJME hosted a ‘come and sing’ Messa di Gloria by Puccini with conductor Colin Baines. We had over 80 singers participating in this event from across the West Midlands and beyond.

In 2015, BJME hosted an opera gala in the former prestigious concert venue, the Adrian Boult Hall. Four top British opera singers performed an exciting range of music with the Sinfonia of Birmingham. This was led by the renowned opera and symphonic conductor Michael Lloyd. Over 50% of the audience came from BME communities. In 2019 BJME held an open workshop in Gospel music, led by Carol Brewster. Gospel music has a powerful, spiritual and vocal message which should be accessible to all, not just within the Black Church community.

We are looking for a sponsor to develop our continuing project and widen the access of opera within West Midlands communities. The Flying Dutchman project 2022-23, is a BME-led is a combined arts opera project which concludes with dramatically staged concert performances. Uniting the skills of under-represented professional and community artists we will reach new as well as existing audiences and participants.

There have been many critiques from industry experts about the future of opera, the Arts Council have stated – “We have seen almost no growth in audience demand for traditionally staged ‘grand’ or large- scale opera, but was “confident there is appetite to enjoy opera . . at different scales, reimagined in new ways, and on new stages”

This project will take it out of the traditional theatre setting and present the process through community chorus workshops, a community talk & performances that will collaborate with appropriate partners, using those very community venues, that will engage our BME and community audience core & increase the profile & development of our company. This will improve access to enjoy opera wherever people live & what ever your background, showcased by the people that these communities represent.

Future partnerships will enable us to be part of this innovative and much needed change within opera.


Target Audience

All ages and demographics (however keen to inspire arts deprived and neglected communities in the West Midlands)

Key Dates and Timings

The Flying Dutchman performances
10 & 13 July 2024 at the Bradshaw Hall, Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

Specific Opportunity Details

Persona Arts is looking for future partners to develop our profile within the region and nationwide. Currently our fanbase is over 400 and we have strong local partnerships to spearhead that further.

Features and Benefits

The beneifts include, advertising in our progammes and literature, website and social media.



Other Info

We have secured major funding from Arts Council England and support from over 20 trusts and foundations.