BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program

Home / New Opera Creation / BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program

Loose Tea Music Theatre’s
BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program Creators Announced

Loose Tea Music Theatre is excited to announce our first four creators to participate in our new BIPOC Composer Librettist Development Program.

We are thrilled to be working with and mentoring two teams of composers and librettists. Composer Ashley Au has been paired with librettist Christene Browne to realize Browne’s libretto Inertia, about elderly isolation and death. Composer Shreya Jha and librettist Nam Nguyen applied as a team to discover a work that reflects their shared heritage and experience. They will be looking to move away from art that solely focuses on one’s culture but instead uses one’s culture as a lens to explore every other multifaceted component of their personhood.

Loose Tea Music Theatre’s BIPOC Composer and Librettist Development Program is a two-year program that supports the development of diverse creators new to opera and music theatre. Two teams of BIPOC-identifying composers and librettists, who have not had the opportunity to explore their creative voices in opera have been selected to write a 30-45 minute chamber opera with the support from four established composers and librettists mentors throughout the process. Our selected creators will develop their pieces during two extensive workshops (a reading and development workshop in the summer of 2021 and a fully staged with tech workshop in the summer of 2022) 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. Through the development of this program, Loose Tea commits to making significant actionable change in opera, to address systemic racism and underrepresentation.

“I have always been an admirer of contemporary independent opera and had not considered how I could play a creative role in this world. I am so excited to be taking part in Loose Tea’s BIPOC Composer/Librettist program. Working with operatic voices and collaborating with a librettist is going to be an adventure.”

Composer Ashley Au

“The opportunity to take part in this inaugural and very important initiative is monumental for someone like me who is just entering the world of opera. I look forward to learning and being fully immersed in the process and seeing my opera, Inertia, on stage at the end of program.”

Librettist Christene Browne

“I am beyond thrilled to partake in this program and work with such a fantastic team and mentors. We truly need the arts more now than ever, and I cannot wait to explore how opera can tell novel stories in a captivating way and amplify oppressed voices.”

Composer Shreya Jha

“I’m so excited for the opportunity to learn from this group of mentors, and to tackle the intersection of music and theatre in what’s a new medium for both me and Shreya.”

Librettist Nam Nguyen

The application process introduced Loose Tea Music Theatre to many incredible people and ideas. In addition to the four participants selected for the program, Artistic Directors Alaina Viau and Joanna Diindiisikwe Simmons decided to commission Olivia Shortt with her piece called The Museum that is an allegory about how our society treats missing person cases specifically MMIWG2S.

We are also thrilled to announce that as a result of her application, Charlotte Siegel will be joining our team as a librettist on Carmen #YesAllWomen in its next iteration slotted for a 2022 Ontario tour.

“We cannot wait to hit the ground running with the first co-horts of this program. We believe that this program will help bring needed change to an industry where there is extraordinarily little BIPOC representation. We are fiercely dedicated to facilitate artist growth, experimentation, and curiosity by offering access to programs such as this. We welcome our group of composers and librettist and we look forward to working with them and helping them develop new skills in becoming successful in this field. We are also thrilled to be able to offer commissioning of Olivia Shortt’s opera and bring Charlotte Siegal onto the Carmen team!”

Artistic Directors Alaina Viau and Joanna Diindiisikwe Simmons

Meet Our Creators

Ashley Au

Christene Browne

Shreya Jha

Nam Nguyen

Meet Our New Team Members

Spacer Text

Olivia Shortt

Charlotte Siegel

Spacer Text

Meet Our Mentors

Eliot Britton
Composer Mentor

Spacer Text

Marjorie Chan 陳以珏
Librettist Mentor


Marcia Johnson
Librettist Mentor


Cecilia Livingston
Composer Mentor