Charlie Forrest


Charlie works with a number of leading educational and outreach organisations, choirs and charities throughout the UK as a pianist, workshop leader and chorus director. She has an ongoing relationship with the Learning & Participation departments of Opera North, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, Grange Festival Opera and Garsington Opera, working to bring opera to a new generation of young people of all ages and backgrounds. Educated at Edinburgh University, Charlie's most challenging outreach work was in high-security prisons in Scotland, and in the Balkans, in association with War Child, working with severely traumatised and disabled refugees.She now works in a variety of settings including Early Years spaces, schools, arts venues, hospitals, care homes and prisons.

Trained by leading Animateur Dominic Harlan, in association with Opera North, Charlie has musically directed, devised and delivered schools workshops across the country for Opera North, Garsington Opera, Grange Festival, Opera Holland Park, Spitalfields Festival, The Sixteen, and the Royal Opera House. This year, in partnership with the Royal Opera House and the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, she has helped to recruit 40 singers from diverse backgrounds from the West Midlands to join new initiative Opera Nation.

She has created and presented opera insight events for Buxton Festival, Opera North, and Mid Wales Opera, as well as giving lecture recitals at Nottingham University, York University, Leeds School of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music, WIAV and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

For Mahogany Opera she has helped to devise and implement a nationwide opera-learning devise called Snappy Operas, delivering workshops throughout the country and working in close harmony with composers and librettists. Her most rewarding and memorably experience was working with Mahogany Opera's Artistic Director, Freddie Wake-Walker on his production of Brundibár culminating in regional performances nationwide, putting school children from diverse backgrounds at the forefront of the project.

Charlie has been a regular mentor on the Aldeburgh Opera Writing Course, as well as a musician in residence with the Royal Philharmonic Society's Women Conductors' Course. Her work with community choirs has included being assistant chorus master and music staff at Glyndebourne for the world premier opera Agreed, assistant conductor for Birmingham Opera Company's Khovanshchina as well as assistant chorus director for their Wagner season.

She has contributed towards projects to aid corporate productivity through team building workshops in London and Manchester with Feelgood Productions and SingingWorks.

'Educational work, opera workshops and community operas are a huge part of my life and work. It's vital to continue reiterating the importance of the arts in education and society, particularly when the arts are getting lower and lower on the priority list. I feel it's my moral obligation to give something back, and to try and make a difference. Music so easily gives you that opportunity.'

For Mahogany Opera: Brundibár and Snappy Operas.

Charlie Forrest headshot
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