The loneliness of men explored in an opera at the Torch Theater in Swansea

FIGHT AGAINST ISOLATION: Men’s Sheds Cymru supports men through social activities

The Torch Theater in Swansea is hosting a new opera about men and loneliness called Shoulder to Shoulder on October 30.

Loneliness is the scourge of modern society. He is examined, in addition to finding a friendship, in the new production of the famous Swansea City Opera company on tour in Wales. The opera features true stories from Men’s Sheds Cymru.

Through outreach work in 2020 – 2021, Swansea City Opera has developed a partnership with Men’s Sheds Cymru, part of the internationally renowned movement founded in Australia that improves men’s wellbeing.


Men’s Sheds Cymru supports men who experience and are at risk of loneliness and social isolation by helping individuals through social activities. The Office for National Statistics in 2021 reported that around 3.3 million people living in Britain describe themselves as ‘chronically lonely’ or ‘feeling lonely all the time’.

Swansea City Opera’s Brendan Wheatley and the librettist of Shoulder to Shoulder said: “The stories of The Shedders are truly inspiring. There are stories of men overcoming tremendous adversity ranging from relationship breakdown and bereavement, ill health to being fired while serving in a Men’s Shed.

“Audiences will find Shoulder to Shoulder moving, challenging, uplifting and funny. We believe opera should be relevant and accessible. There’s something for everyone, whether you’re an experienced opera lover or new to opera.

Men often don’t have the support networks that women typically have, and they may find it difficult to talk face-to-face about the issues they are facing. The Men’s Shed movement is based on the understanding that men are more likely to help themselves and attend to something they have set up or have some control over.

Hence the notion of “side by side”: recognizing that attending a meeting, engaging in shared activities or tasks and getting organized around a cup of tea can have a positive impact on loneliness, isolation and mental well-being as people regain control and enjoy time together. .

The music for Shoulder to Shoulder was composed by Lenny Sayers with lyrics and songs written by Brendan Wheatley and all are based on shedders stories, ranging from hilarious to moving and empowering stories. The shoulder-to-shoulder ensemble for the Torch Theater performance includes members of the Haverfordwest Operatic Society as well as professional singers and musicians, mainly from Wales.

Many are singers in major opera houses, companies and orchestras, including the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Glyndebourne Opera Festival; Welsh National Opera; English National Opera; Opera North; Scottish Opera and the London Philharmonic Orchestra. The role of Gwen in Shoulder to Shoulder will now be played by the very talented singer Rebecca Goulden, who has performed with the company on numerous occasions, notably singing the main roles in Faust and La Bohème au flambeau.

ACTIVITY SUPPORT: Attending a meeting, engaging in shared activities or tasks, and getting organized over a cup of tea can positively impact loneliness, isolation, and mental well-being

From her Pembrokeshire roots, Rebecca has gone on to sing at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne and internationally with Opera Köln (Cologne).

Ben Lloyd, Executive Director of the Torch Theatre, said: “We share Swansea City Opera’s vision of making opera and the arts accessible to all and the importance of arts companies working with local communities. shoulder to
Shoulder is an exciting addition to this year’s program.

Developed in partnership with National Group – Men’s Sheds Cymru, which now has over 70 groups, Pembrokeshire currently has Men’s Sheds in:

  • Milford Harbor
  • Netherlands
  • Pembroke wharf and
  • Solva

Find out more about Men’s Sheds groups in Pembrokeshire here.

Shoulder to Shoulder is supported by Arts Council Wales, the Garfield Weston Foundation, National Lottery Awards For All Wales, Tŷ Cerdd and the Friends of Swansea City Opera. Shoulder to Shoulder will visit the Torch Theater on Sunday, October 30 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost £14.00 and £12.50. For more information or to book, call 01646 695267 or email: [email protected]

Submitted by Torch Theater


Get all the latest news, updates, things to do and more from Swansea, Mid Glamorgan’s dedicated InYourArea feed.

Comments are closed.