Persona Arts was initially known as BJ Music Events Ltd (BJME).
Founded in 2008 as a not-for-profit initiative to bring opera as an art form to the people of Birmingham in their communities.
The co-founders Byron Jackson and Amanda Doyle recognised that there was a need for community engagement with the classical arts through awareness, audience development and direct participation.
Since then, BJME has held music events across Birmingham, including ‘come and sing’ workshops, opera concerts, solo recitals and live music nights, facilitated by some of the country’s top performing artists.
- An opera concert at a central community venue in 2009 was a sell-out, raising hundreds of pounds for charity
- Workshops in local primary schools over the following two years were also a success.
- In September 2012, hosted a ‘come and sing’ Messa di Gloria by Puccini with conductor Colin Baines. We had over 80 singers participating in this event from across the West Midlands and beyond
- In autumn 2014, presented two recitals featuring two renowned opera singers Byron Jackson and Jordene Thomas in two new targeted areas of Birmingham, the districts of Aston and Acocks Green
- In 2015, hosted an opera gala concert in the former Adrian Boult Hall. The Sinfonia of Birmingham led by the renowned opera and symphonic conductor Michael Lloyd, featured four top British opera singers performing an exciting range of music
- In 2019, held our first open workshop in Gospel music, led by Carol Brewster. Gospel music has a powerful, spiritual and vocal message which should be accessible to all, not just within the Black Church community
Due to the ever changing landscape, it was decided to develop into the new company Persona Arts.