Amanda Johnson is a composer and classical violinist based in Sheffield on the edge of the Peak District National Park. She performs and records her own music, which explores the themes of travel, migration and freedom. She is interested in exploring the musical qualities of everyday sounds and finding ways of engaging audiences in moments of shared emotion through exciting combinations of environmental recordings, instruments and voices. Her ancestry has a significant influence on her work, reflecting a complex mix of culture as well as her family’s own story of migration.

Amanda will collaborate with writer and poet, Tamsin Treverton Jones, whose work inhabits the creative space between textbook accounts of history and the alternative narratives of the people who lived through it. Her literary output includes poetry, two community histories, a biography, a nature memoir and a work of historical fiction.

Together Amanda and Tamsin will develop Thea, a new opera with just one strong female protagonist, exploring themes such as sexual and racial discrimination, motherhood and poverty. The opera is inspired by the life of one of the composer’s Bargee Traveller ancestors and aims to challenge the unfair portrayal of women in opera, particularly those from Traveller backgrounds. An intimate portrayal of a strong, independent woman, seen entirely through her own eyes.