2017 A year in review

St Teresa’s Primary School opera workshop

It’s the start of a new year so it’s that time of year that gets you thinking about what you’ve achieved over the last year. We had a big year in 2017 with two massively successful productions – Cosi Fan Tutte and Reunion & Dark Pony – both of which included professional performances, workshops for young people, and for Cosi also sessions for the elderly, not to mention re-writing the music and libretto for the high street! We loved working with so many shops, cafes, supermarkets and libraries for performances, especially being part of National Libraries Week for our Reunion & Dark Pony production. Our Cosi Fan Tutte further embedded our work in our home borough of Merton, while Reunion & Dark Pony took us further across South London to Southwark, Lambeth and Wandsworth as well as our first performances in the new Merton Arts Space in Wimbledon Library. 

Battersea Library Dark Pony Snow

And we made lots of new friends – audiences seeing our work for the first time; lovely local people and Wimbledon College of Art students volunteering with us at performances; our amazing partners and funders; and all the young people exploring with us in our workshops.

We particularly enjoyed our storytelling workshops in libraries recently. To continue our relationship with libraries after National Libraries Week and inspired by our professional production of Dark Pony, we had a brilliant time with groups of children in John Harvard Library, Battersea and Earlsfield Libraries as well as Jigsaw4u and local schools encouraging childrens’ imaginative and storytelling skills. 

Jigsaw4u Kids Workshop

And what imaginations they had! Making up stories as an ensemble one sentence or one word at a time, the children created stories about the King of the Crabs on the beach, an evil sandwich eating robot, and a long bearded man who lives in a treehouse. The children also developed their character development skills by asking Yes/No questions of each character, leading to hotseating for older children, and created soundscapes of magical forests using our bodies and voices, leading to the children presenting scenes using movement and sound.

Cosi Fan Tutte – Elys Wimbledon

And after a well earned rest over Christmas, we’re now well into our planning for 2018 and even 2019! We have some exciting plans afoot for both our innovative site-specific performances in public spaces and our Education & Outreach work to ensure everybody has access to experience and learn about high quality theatre and opera. We’re excited to be developing our relationships with Jigsaw4u and Merton Music Foundation even further to reach more young people across the borough. Want to find out how you can get involved or support us so we can continue to develop our work both in our local community whilst raising our national profile? Then just drop us a line…

 

 

And all good wishes to you and yours for a happy and successful 2018!

 

5 Star Review & OffWestEnd Award Nomination

We have been overwhelmed and delighted by everyone’s super positive responses to our Cosi Fan Tutte Street Opera!

Firstly, we are so excited to have been nominated for the Offies Best Opera Production award by OffWestEnd.com after one of their assessors saw our Morden performance. The nominations continue over the year with the 2017 winners announced early 2018 – so keep your fingers crossed and watch this space!!

And we couldn’t be more thrilled by our 5 and 4 star reviews from Operissima and LondonTheatre1 respectively. You can read the full reviews at the links below or check out the Cosi Fan Tutte page for some of the quotations we’ve picked out. Read more

“I’d date Guglielmo if he was filled with marshmallows…”

Wow, running opera workshops for young people can be such fun – and so rewarding! We’ve just run a series of workshops at Merton primary, secondary schools and the fantastic Jigsaw4u as part of our Cosi Fan Tutte Street Opera project, funded by Wimbledon Foundation and it’s really been fantastic. Many of these children would not otherwise have an opportunity to access this art form, and some may not have previously known what opera was, but after a session with us they were confidently singing a Mozart love duet and giving us their best confident cocky Guglielmos and flirty coy Dorabellas!

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Big thanks to everyone involved in Drifting Dragons

Patisserie Valerie, Wimbledon Piazza

Patisserie Valerie, Wimbledon Piazza

We had such an amazing time running our Merton Opera project Drifting Dragons this summer – we hope you managed to catch one of the performances on your high street or perhaps participated in one of our workshops at schools and young people’s groups in the area.

It was fantastic seeing the surprised faces in Morrisons and M&S as customers realised that other customers were opera singing their conversation! And we were delighted by the positive audience responses – everybody seemed surprised and pleased we’d gatecrashed their lives for 10mins in a public space as they went about their daily life, shopping, waiting for a bus or drinking coffee.

Jigsaw4u

Jigsaw4u

The biggest thanks to all of the local businesses across the borough of Merton that supported the project and allowed us to perform in their stores – Wyevale Garden Centre, The Gorringe Park Pub, Tesco Tooting, M&S and the Qube Centre, Café La Lavella and Morden Library, the New Horizon Centre and Pollards Hill Library, Starbucks & Waitrose Raynes Park, Tag Elezz Café and Morrisons Mitcham, Patisserie Valerie and Morrisons Wimbledon, Saucer & Cup and the Co-Op Wimbledon Park, Maison St Cassien and Bayley & Sage! And also thanks for those involved in our performances as part of the Arcola Theatre’s Grimeborn Festival – Café Route, Dalston Junction station manager, Dalston Square, Hackney Council and of course the Arcola itself. We had so much enthusiasm and support so thank you all! Read more