Stephen Oliver Award


When the composer Stephen Oliver died in 1992, he left the bulk of his estate in trust to provide funds to help young composers of opera and small scale opera companies, a continuation of the support that Stephen had given during his lifetime – many chamber opera performances would simply not have happened without his support. The primary aims of the Stephen Oliver Trust were to encourage the creation, promotion and performance of contemporary opera, and to encourage young people working in contemporary opera.  In 2006, the capital funds of the Stephen Oliver Trust were incorporated within the Countess of Munster Musical Trust: the Stephen Oliver Award (£3,000) is now awarded every other year to a young composer who has written a work for music theatre to assist with the cost of bringing that work to performance.

Application Procedure:

  • The Award is made biennially – the next Award will be adjudicated in 2019.
  • The Award will be made to assist with the cost of bringing to performance a work which has been, or is in the process of being, written for music theatre.
  • Applicants should be able to demonstrate that a performance is in prospect.
  • There is no set application form.  The applicant should submit a copy of the score and libretto to which the application relates (and recordings if available) together with other examples of the applicant’s work.
  • In addition, the applicant should provide detailed estimates of costings for bringing the work to production, together with an account of progress made in accessing other sources of funding and possible realisation dates.
  • New applications will be accepted from January 2019.  The closing date for applications is 30th April 2019.

If you are interested in applying, please contact the

If you would like further information about Stephen’s life and work, please go to:

Stephen Oliver Awards


Tête à Tête (Blind Date)

Blind Date premiered on 12 November 2007 at Riverside Studios where it ran for five performances before being toured to Birmingham, Newbury, Cambridge, Manchester and Bath.


Joanna LEE (Krazy Kat)

08/2010 – Tête á Tête & CHROMA.
Libretto: Howard Skempton. Singers: Sarah Leonard, Alison Wells, Joe Shovelton, Omar Ebrahim.
Director: Bill Bankes-Jones, Conductor: Tim Murray, Designer: Fabrice Serafino, Stage Manager: Sarah Tryfan.
Tête á Tête Opera Festival, Riverside Studios, London.
Krazy Kat winner of the Stephen Oliver Award. Project funded by the Stephen Oliver Award & The Leche Trust.


Laura BOWLER (The Sandman)

To help with the development and production of her new chamber opera “The Sandman” – based on E. T. A. Hoffman’s The Sandman with librettist Lavinia Murray and the support of ROH2.


Luke STYLES (Unborn in America)

To help with the costs of the 2014 UK Tour of his opera “Unborn in America” performed by Opera Up Close.


Laura BOWLER (Early Morning)

To support the commission and workshop  funds for the writing of a new Opera –  “A savagely surreal and satirical opera” by Edward Bond & Laura Bowler to be co-produced by Size Zero Opera and Arcola Theatre.


Gestalt Arts (Liquid History) – composer Sarah Dacey, writer and director Ruth Mariner

 To support the development and further production of “Liquid History”, an opera which tells the story of London, and the ebb and flow of its people through five found objects from the River Thames and from the Museum of London Docklands.