BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program

BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program

Call for Submissions

Loose Tea Music Theatre is pleased to announce a BIPOC Composer and Librettist Development Program. This two-year program supports the development of diverse creators new to opera and music theatre. Two (2) teams of BIPOC-identifying composers and librettists, who have not had the opportunity to explore their creative voices in opera*, will be selected to write a 30-45 minute chamber opera with support from four established composers and librettists throughout the process. Selected creators will develop their pieces during two extensive workshops (a reading and development workshop in summer 2021 and a fully staged with tech workshop in Summer 2022) at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston, Ontario and through multiple small workshops as their new works require throughout the process. A full commissioning fee will be paid to the creators, inclusive of the mentorship component.  This will be derived from the Canadian League of Composers’ commissioning rates.

This program is supported by the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts in Kingston and the University of Toronto’s Electronic Music Lab.

*our definition of opera: a musical piece of storytelling using classically trained voices. This could be any arrangement or expression from traditional opera influences, a music theatre telling, it could be electronic or experimental and be linear or abstract storytelling. We are interested in developing your voice in opera, whatever that may be.

If you have any questions, are unsure about any part of the description or application, have any feedback, or if we can help you with filling out the application please feel free to send an email to

Please join us on Saturday, October 10 at 2:00 PM EDT for an information session.  Please follow us on our social media for updates.


Eliot Britton, composer
Marjorie Chan, librettist
Marcia Johnson, librettist
Cecilia Livingston, composer

Support Team

Joanna Diindiisikwe Simmons, Artistic Director and Program Manager, Loose Tea Music Theatre
Alaina Viau, Creative Producer and Dramaturge, Loose Tea Music Theatre

We are looking to support creators who:

  • identify as Black, Indigenous or a Person of Colour (BIPOC);
  • are Canadian citizens, landed immigrants or have refugee status in Canada (this program is not open to international applicants);
  • have not written an opera in the past: this program is open to early career artists and established artists who are looking to explore their voice in opera

We encourage people of all ages, expressions and abilities to apply. We strive to be accessible to all participants.  The program will be conducted in English, but the libretto may be in any language.

Composers: have not written an “opera” before. You may have engaged with classical music, music theatre, experimental or electronic music and want to have the time and support to explore your voice in a chamber “opera” setting with classically trained voices.

Librettists: have not written on “opera” before. You may be a playwright, novelist, poet, lyricist, spoken word or slam poetry artist or satirist. You may explore a story in any language.

You may apply as one of the following:

  • as a composer-librettist team, if you already have someone in mind who you want to work with. Both team members will need to make an individual application.
  • as an individual looking for a creative partner. We will facilitate finding a team member for you
  • as an individual who will create both music and words for this project

Commissioning Parameters

  • 30-45 minute chamber opera (can share musical ideas in ways other than traditional notation, e.g.: mockup, charts, etc)
  • Must use classically-trained voices
  • Up to 8 voices/instruments. You can decide how you wish to distribute this between voices and instruments (e.g.: 2 singers and 6 instruments, 7 singers a capella, etc)
  • Can be in any language

You do not need to have a concept ready for the application. If you do, please tell us about it in whatever phase of development it is at. If not, no problem! We will help you through the process of finding a story you want to tell.

Creators will retain all copyright of their work.


Oct 1, 2020 – Announcement and applications open
Nov 8, 2020 – Submissions close at 11:59pm EST
Jan 2021 – Announcement of selected participants
Feb 2021- Teams begin creation with mentorship and access for exploration at Uof T
Aug 2021 – A two-week residency for music workshopping
Sept 2021 – Ongoing development of the new works with the mentors below, completing the work through small workshops with singers and musicians taking place at UofT
Aug 2022 – A three-week residency at the Isabel for a full tech workshop with presentation to a live audience
2022-2023 season – Loose Tea premieres the two new works as part of our main season.

Travel: With ongoing concerns around COVID-19, initial meetings and mentorship will be conducted by Zoom. For in person workshops, we will facilitate access to travel and accommodations through sponsorship and/or assistance with participants personal travel grant applications.

If you have any questions, are unsure about any part of the description or application, have any feedback, or if we can help you with filling out the application please feel free to send an email to

Applications for this program are now closed.