Project creates a choir in tune with women to raise awareness of menopause
The University of Wolverhampton is in tune with millions of women suffering from symptoms of perimenopause and menopause and is embarking on a unique collaboration with Creative Black Country (CBC) to raise awareness of the menopause through song and is looking for participants to join.
The project is supported by CBC’s Creative Connection Commissions that, hopes to encourage more communities to get involved in creative projects, and through funding from the University’s School of Performing Arts.
An idea to create a ‘Menopause Community Choir’ was submitted by Anne-Marie Beaumont, Programme Leader for Music in the University’s School of Performing Arts.
The project will be delivered by an experienced choir director who understands the emotional, physical and vocal changes that menopause can bring.
Rehearsals will take place in the state-of-the-art facilities at the University’s Performance Hub based at its Walsall Campus from 26 April 2022 on Tuesdays from 7.00 pm until 9.00 pm culminating in the final performance on 19 July 2022.
The 12-week project is looking for between 25 and 40 women to participate with the experience of performing in a professional theatre.
Ann-Marie said: “Although the Menopause is described, like puberty, as a natural stage of transition, the reality is that it can have a very profound effect on women and their families. Symptoms vary in both duration and severity but can include Anxiety, Brain Fog, Heart Palpitations, Sleep Disorders and Hot Flushes.
“Many women describe feelings of low mood, lack of self-confidence and increased isolation from social activities having a significant impact on their ability to carry out their daily lives. By providing a social and creative activity for women, it’s hoped that this choir will help to bring people together and provide a new sense of purpose and artistic engagement.
“Although multiple support groups exist online, this choir will bridge the gap between the real and virtual world by bringing a creative, artistic presence to its members with a final public-facing performance at the end of the programme.”
Dr Sarah Browne, Head of the School of Performing Arts at the University, said: “Singing has been proven to benefit mental health by reducing anxiety and low mood; it can also improve cardiovascular health and breath control. Membership of a choir creates a sense of community which is particularly important for women who report that they perhaps feel isolated or side-lined from professional and social engagements as they start to experience the menopause.
“Regular choir rehearsals will encourage people to come together, to socialise and to engage in creative processes in music. The choir will also hold a concert in The Performance Hub which will be open to family, friends and the local community. Selected rehearsals and the final concert will be videoed using professional equipment, and a technician from the University will create a five-minute film of the choir with soundbites from participants, the director and audience members discussing the impact of the choir.”
The physical comfort of participants will be considered, ensuring that rehearsal spaces are accessible, comfortable and are well-ventilated (to help with temperature regulation). There are toilets, showers and changing rooms available within the building and free sanitary products are available in recognition of period poverty and the challenge it may pose for menopausal women.
More information on the Menopause Community Choir can be found here.
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