Who We Are

SIMON HANNIGANFounder & Artistic Director
Coming back to professional singing in 2010 after an absence of about fifteen years, I had a renewed enthusiasm for opera as a powerful musical and dramatic experience. I’ve been fortunate enough to take part in some wonderful productions at Scottish Opera and part of my new-found enthusiasm made me want to share what opera really is with others, especially those who had never really experienced it. Paisley Opera has become very important to me as I feel we have made a start at spreading the word, that opera at its best is incredibly powerful, dealing with big issues and emotions through the unamplified, natural power of the human voice and acoustic instruments. Our core of volunteer singers have become a supportive and welcoming group of friends who have fun and love singing together with our professional friends to produce of their very best.
ANNE HANNIGANFounder & Chorus Member
I was a founder member with my husband, Simon. We used to talk about the idea of starting a community opera in Paisley, and made the leap in early 2017, distributing flyers wherever we could, and spreading the word on social media. I had no musical experience since singing in the school choir several decades ago, so did not think I would be actively involved in singing, just promoting our slightly mad plan, and helping with the practical issues.
I thought my inability to read music would be a huge barrier, but it simply is not, and five years on I have been amazed by the benefits and joys of singing in our very friendly and supportive group, which includes many who also cannot read music.
PAT KELLYTreasurer & Board Member
I am one of the Chorus representatives on the Board, and act as Treasurer. I have been with Paisley Opera since our beginnings in 2017, and have loved every minute of it, not just the singing bits, but just having a great time with a fantastic and friendly bunch of people. When I look back on some of the productions we’ve staged or been involved in , like I Pagliacci (in a big tent in Seedhill Park!) I am constantly amazed by the sheer professionalism and quality of the performances that we have achieved. We are really looking forward to life getting back to normal after Covid and creating exciting new pieces for the people of Paisley. We’re also working with Renfrewshire Council on the possible community transfer of Whitehaugh Barracks in the East End as a Community Centre, which would give us a permanent home in the town.
I joined Paisley Opera when it began in 2017 and have enjoyed taking part in all our productions. More than this however I enjoy the fun and camaraderie of our weekly meetings. I was asked to join the board as a chorus representative and have enjoyed finding out how the group is run and making a small contribution to this.