Over the last decade Opera North Podcasts have been developing ways in which they can supplement and enhance the work happening on the company's main stage. Related projects in other disciplines - film, drama, visual arts - have essentially created an arts company within an opera company. The arrival of the Howard Assembly Room - arguably the most versatile and beautiful space of its kind in the country - has in turn had a huge creative impact on the way in which these projects evolve.

In this exclusive audio podcast Jo Nockels talks to Edward Seckerson about the past, present, and future of Opera North Projects with specific focus on the new season of events: the series of performance, film, and talks entitled "On Liberty" referencing issues of human rights thrown up by the main stage productions of Beethoven's Fidelio and Janacek's From the House of the Dead; and, hot on the heels of Channel 4's One Born Every Minute, a candid look at life's other cycle - from conception to cradle - motherhood.

Life Cycle is a collection of twenty short songs written by Toby Litt and Emily Hall and performed by Mara Carlyle whose voice has lately been all over YouTube on the soundtrack of Ikea's feline TV ad. A return visit, too, from the popular Northumbrian English folk group The Unthanks.

To listen to the full recording of the Q&A, click the 'play' button below; or to subscribe and download from iTunes, click here.