THE UNIVERSITY of South Wales has secured £54,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to perform an opera which aims to teach the community more about local archaeology.

The First Campus project, based at USW, is working with National Museum Wales to produce the community opera, entitled The Archaeologist’s Wife.

The story focuses on Tessa Wheeler, the archaeologist responsible for the excavation of the Roman amphitheatre in Caerleon in 1926.

Tessa was married to Mortimer Wheeler, one of the country’s most famous archaeologists. Mortimer spent very little time in Caerleon as he had just been appointed Keeper of the Museum of London, and so he put Tessa in charge of the field archaeology, where she proved to be a brilliant and innovative archaeologist.

The opera’s cast includes four professional singers and a community chorus of 25 performers.

Jane Ellis, First Campus co-ordinator at the University of South Wales, said: “We are very excited to be collaborating with the National Museum of Wales on this project to raise the profile of women in science, and more specifically the contribution of Tessa Wheeler to cultural heritage of Wales.”

The opera will take place on Thursday and Friday 9 and 10 April at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, in Cardiff, with another two performances on Friday and Saturday 10 and 11 April at Tredegar House in Newport, all starting at 5.30pm. Tickets are free, and available to book via Jane Ellis on