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Profile: Lissa Lorenzo, Animateur, A little bit of Figaro

Can you describe your job at Scottish Opera in one sentence?
As part of Scottish Opera's education team I encourage people to enjoy and be open to opera through workshops and activities that introduce and explore this wonderfully rich art form at a basic level - great stories told through wonderful, emotive music.

As a freelance drama animateur, my work involves everything from directing youth theatre performances to running holiday drama clubs (I'm fresh from working at a week long course for Harry Potter fans called Wizard Academy!)

Where did you picture yourself working 10 years ago?
10 years ago, when I was asked where I wanted to be in 10 years, I said I hoped to be directing my own theatre company. As I've gotten older I've realised ambition is great and healthy but as people we are changing all the time and if we don't respond to those changes then we might end up being very unhappy, even if we are where we thought we'd be in our imagined future. Right now I'm happy and that's the main thing.

What 3 things might people be surprised to learn about you?
I didn't see my first live opera until I was 25
When I was 10 I wanted to be an accountant and drive an Audi
I used to collect cuddly toy pigs


What do you like to do when you're not working?
Sleep! At the moment I'm ridiculously busy with work but in quieter times I like to cook (and eat!). I also enjoy going to gigs with friends, everything from Celtic Connections to T in the Park, and I like a glass of red wine and a proper catch up with good friends. If I need to relax and clear my head then nothing beats a long walk somewhere lovely and green.

Where is your favourite place to be?
Depends on my mood, if I need peace and quiet I like disappearing up north to sit on a hill, or if I'm feeling wild and sociable I'll head to a gig somewhere like King Tuts or Stereo with a bunch of friends. Curled up on the sofa with a good film, big blanket and glass of wine is also good.

What do you love about working with young people?
Their creativity and ideas excite me. I feel like I'm constantly learning from the young people I work with even though I'm the teacher. I sometimes feel like my job is just playing games all day, but I'm aware that it's so much more than that. I'm there to encourage and develop creativity and that's such an important thing.

Do you have any memorable experiences working with Scottish Opera that you would like to share?
I've been working with the company for nearly 10 years so there are too many to count, from the sublime to the ridiculous! Mostly I remember working with consistently brilliant teams of people who are highly skilled and really care about their job. Working within the education department I still get a kick out of the sense of achievement and pride that young people experience through our projects. I used to go on the road with the primary schools' tours that have been running for over 30 years. I remember one little boy in Aberdeen running up to me at the end of the day and saying "Lissa, that was amazing, that was my first ever opera, and it was brilliant!"

My first ever memory of the company was in 1989 when I was in Primary 6 and my class performed in a primary schools' tour workshop of a children's opera about aliens landing on earth and seeking refuge. I can still remember almost all of the songs - so I am living proof that working with Scottish Opera is a truly unforgettable experience!