Opera based on life of child refugee who went from jail to university shortlisted for award

Young people in a performance of Full Circle. Picture: Lidia Crisafulli

Young people in a performance of Full Circle. Picture: Lidia Crisafulli - Credit: Lidia Crisafulli

An opera based on the life of a refugee who turned his life around has been shortlisted for an award.

Full Circle, based on the story of Canning Town resident Jonathan Lofulo, was the result of a year-long collaboration between Newham Music and Lister Community School.

The opera, which was devised by more than 300 young people, is now in the running in the outstanding musical initiative category at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence.

John Bergin, CEO of Newham Music, said: “In a busy modern world it’s so easy to miss the moments that can inspire us to think differently and to do better. Jonathan Lofulo’s story is one of those moments.”

Jonathan fled the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo aged 10 and despite showing early promise as a footballer, fell in with the wrong crowd and served a prison sentence for burglary.


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On his release, he completed an education studies course at the University of East London.

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