TBA

Theatre, music and maths!

We are super excited to have Sophie Hamlet joining our Board of Trustees! Not only is she a brilliant accountant but she’s super passionate about theatre, opera and music and reaching new audiences. So we asked her a few questions so you could get to know her:

 

Describe yourself in three words

A question I always struggle with because I have been known to be talkative!  I suppose that would be one; chatty.  Passionate (particularly where arts and music are concerned), and… Kind.  I’d like to think of myself as kind.

What made you want to get involved with Baseless Fabric?

I’ve wanted to get involved in volunteer work for a while, particularly in using my skills as an accountant to give back in some way.  The best way to do that is to get involved with charities as some form of treasurer / financial consultant and, having a lot of love for the arts (theatre in particular), it seemed obvious to look to work with theatrical charities.  An opportunity for Baseless Fabric came upon one of the volunteer sites that I signed up for and I simply jumped at the chance to get involved.

The work that Baseless Fabric do in terms of making theatre and opera accessible is incredibly important and valuable to the local community, and their engagement with the community is so unique (I’d never heard of street opera before!) it really feels like their work is something very special. The chance to be a part of that in any small way is one that can’t be ignored.  I may not be an opera singer, but I can at least offer my mathematical mind.

You saw our Die Fledermaus production in the summer.  Which character are you most like, and why?

That’s a difficult question because the characters are all so much fun in their own ways, but if I had to choose one, I think I would say Rosalinde.  Relatively down to earth, she has a real sense of responsibility and right and wrong – but isn’t above having a little fun, even if it was at Eisenstein’s expense!

We know you see a lot of theatre. What productions have you seen recently that you would recommend?

I try to mix up the shows that I go to, going from larger to smaller venues quite regularly.  Recently I’ve seen School of Rock, which is great fun.  But the two shows that I’ve seen in the last month that have really stood out are Preludes by Dave Malloy, which was showing at the Southwark Playhouse until early October.  A musical that’s set inside the hypnotised mind of Rachmaninoff, it’s a chaotic blend of classical music, opera and electronic sampling.  The players were just fantastic, but special mention has to go to Norton James, Rebecca Cain and Georgia Louise, all of whom just sang beautifully.

The other is a show written by Tice Oakfield called The Astonishing Singing Fish.  This is a really fun and quirky show that only seems to pop up for a couple of days at a time, so you need to get in quick to see it!  The premise is very simple; Peter, a scientist, and his genetically modified pet fish (the closest thing he has to a friend), Alex, watch the Olivier Awards one night, and Alex is so enamoured with the music that he decides he wants to play Jean Val Jean in Les Miserables.  The show is effectively about his quest to be a West End star and is full of homages to existing musicals (and a few digs, as well) that left me grinning from ear to ear.  It is likely to come back in the future, so keep a lookout for it!

Thanks Sophie for the great theatre recommendations and excited to have you as part of the team!

“Had never been to the opera and now would love to go!”

Louisa & Giles at the Autumn Rose Club

Louisa & Giles at the Autumn Rose Club

It’s a sad time but we’ve come to the end of our amazing Die Fledermaus project over the past 18 months. We’re looking back on everything that we’ve achieved and all the brilliant people we’ve met, especially the fantastic young people in our Opera Taster Workshops and Parallel Productions and the wonderful older people in our sessions for elderly groups. We’ve had such fun in all the different activities of the project and are so proud of what everyone’s achieved.

In our final part of the project after the busyness of the summer performances, we visited 5 different organisations across Merton and Wandsworth who provide activities for local elderly people supporting them in times of difficulties and loneliness. It feels important for us to partner with organisations such as these since the format of our unique street opera concept is that it requires people to be able to stand and walk around the high street (up to 60mins if they want to see the whole performance) which means we’re not very accessible to the physically frail who may not be up to that. So visiting these groups enables us to make our work accessible to them.

Louisa & Giles at Regenerate Rise Putney

Louisa & Giles at Regenerate Rise Putney

As many people in these groups can’t follow us down the high street we take the street opera to them! We edit the filming from our street opera performances so we can show videos of our street opera performances and talk to the groups about what we’re aiming to do in terms of making high-quality

professional opera accessible to everyone as they’re going about their daily lives in shops, supermarkets, pubs and libraries. And our wonderful singer Louisa Tee (who played Fiordiligi in our 2018 production of Cosi Fan Tutte) and Wimbledon-based pianist Giles Kennedy performed sections of our modern English adaptations of both Die Fledermaus and Cosi for the groups – as well as giving them an insight to their careers as professional musicians and the work of our company.

We had some great feedback from these groups, especially with several of the sessions leading to impromptu sing-alongs – such as singing ‘Amazing Grace’ with the Autumn Rose Club in Balham! And of course we love hearing feedback such as this after our sessions –

“The interactive performance was brilliant. Z stopped me in the corridor asking when they would be coming again. She particularly enjoyed the intimacy of the presentation and felt so involved. Many of the ladies, couldn’t believe how high the standard of singing was and were blown away. One lady explained how she had never been to the opera and would now love to go!”

That’s just what we like to hear! 🙂

 

#TeamDieFledermaus

So that you can get to know #TeamDieFledermaus we thought we’d ask our brilliant singers a few questions about their characters:

 

What would your character have in their supermarket shopping trolley?

Falke: Vodka and crisps

Rosalinde: Nappies, formula, Pinot Grigio

Eisenstein: Stella and nappies

Adele: Smashed avocado, honey flavoured lockets, sugar free red bull Read more

Help us bring opera to Merton & Wandsworth

We are looking for reliable, enthusiastic volunteers with an interest in theatre, music and community projects to help us create our Die Fledermaus re-imagined for high street locations across Merton & Wandsworth , South London between 1st – 14th August.

No experience necessary – all training will be provided! Volunteers will get a sneak peek into our rehearsals and travel expenses covered on performance days. We also provide tea & cake!

You only need to commit to a couple of hours per show – and of course you get to see the show too! Whether you can commit to one, two or all of the performances we’d love to hear from you!

To find out further details or if you have any questions please contact General Manager, Leo Mercer.

Need more info? check out our Die Fledermaus page.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Performance Dates

Date Time Location  
Thu 1st Aug  5pm COLLIERS WOOD
Starts at Savacentre / The Qube, SW19 1DD
 FREE
Fri 2nd Aug  11am POLLARDS HILL
Starts at New Horizon Centre cafe, CR4 1LT
 FREE
Sat 3rd Aug  1pm RAYNES PARK
Starts at Waitrose, Raynes Park, SW20 0BS
 FREE
Sat 3rd Aug  5pm WIMBLEDON
Starts at Elys, Wimbledon SW19 4DP
 FREE
Tue 6th Aug  8pm Arcola Theatre – Indoor Seated Version
24 Ashwin St, Dalston, London E8 3DL
Book at:
Arcola Theatre
Wed 7th Aug  8pm Arcola Theatre – Indoor Seated Version
24 Ashwin St, Dalston, London E8 3DL
Book at:
Arcola Theatre
Thu 8th Aug  5pm WANDSWORTH TOWN
Starts at Southside Shopping Centre, SW18 4TQ
 FREE
Fri 9th Aug  1pm MITCHAM
Starts at Morrisons, Mitcham, CR4 2JS
 FREE
Sat 10th Aug  1pm CLAPHAM JUNCTION
Starts at ASDA, 204 Lavender HIll, Battersea, SW11 1JG
 FREE
Sat 10th Aug  5pm WIMBLEDON VILLAGE
Starts at Bayley & Sage, 60 High Street, Wimbledon, SW19 5EE
 FREE
Tue 13th Aug  1pm MORDEN
Starts at Oxfam, 31 London Road, Morden, SM4 5HT
 FREE
Tue 13th Aug  5pm TOOTING BROADWAY
Starts at Tooting Market, Tooting High Street, SW17 0SN
 FREE
Wed 14th Aug  1pm ROEHAMPTON 
Starts at Roehampton Library, 2 Danebury, Ave, SW15 4HD
 FREE
Wed 14th Aug  5pm WIMBLEDON
Starts at Elys, Wimbledon SW19 4DP
 FREE

Making friends at the Puppet Olympics!

Beatboxing Workshop

Mitcham Library Beatboxing Workshop

Click the video above to play it!

Easter already feels like a long time ago but before eating too much chocolate we had a fab week with nearly 70 brilliant young people aged 12 – 16 and 5 different professional theatre practitioners creating great stuff in Mitcham Library’s Merton Arts Space!

Beatboxing, stage combat, puppetry, theatre design and of course drama! Each of the workshops was fully booked with a waiting list and from our post-workshop feedback forms sent to parents, 64% of respondents said their child had never taken part in arts activities before, and over 70% said their child gained new friends, new skills, more confidence and a desire to take part in more arts activities in the future. In fact, 100% said they would like to take part in the future so I think we can say the workshops were a resounding success! Read more

Die Fledermaus first road trip!

So after the excitement of our young people’s workshops and our two school parallel productions for Die Fledermaus getting underway, we’re now pleased to tell you about our sessions for local elderly groups across Merton and Wandsworth!

Because our unique street opera concept means that audience members need to be able to stand for most of the performances and walk around to follow the story of our characters around the high street, it means it’s not suitable for those less physically able. So this means that we also go into local elderly organisations and run sessions for them so that they can also engage with our work.

We’re thrilled that shortly we’ll be running sessions at old friends including Merton & Morden Guild and Friends in St Helier, who we previously worked with for Drifting Dragons and A Secret Life as well as going to new organisations including the Alzheimer’s Society.

Our brilliant singers Claire Wild, Abigail Kelly and David Horton will sing a couple of arias for the groups accompanied on piano by Juliane Gallant and Giles Kennedy, talk to them about their work as professional opera singers and pianists while Astrid will talk about the company and show edited filming of the Die Fledermaus Research & Development and our previous Cosi Fan Tutte Street Opera.

We’ll be back in touch soon to let you know how the sessions go and our plans to run further sessions later on in the year! Read more

Do you like performing?

We are thrilled to be running some drama workshops at Mitcham Library, Merton Arts Space during the Easter holidays. We have some brilliant professional practitioners running these workshops, so if you are aged 12-16 sign up now!

CLICK to check out our brilliant workshop leaders!

 

Aged 12-16?

Interested in Beatboxing, Stage Combat, Puppetry, Theatre Design?

Read more

And the word was FUN!

We asked Elliott, our workshop leader for the St John Bosco College Parallel Production to give us an idea of what the groups are getting up to….

St Marks Primary School Workshop

In the beginning was the word, and the word was FUN! Toward the tail end of 2018, I was lucky enough to lead taster workshops for both our prospective primary and secondary school cohorts. The plan, to take Baseless Fabric’s modernised version of the classic, ‘Die Fledermaus’ and go wild with it; adding characters and scenes or doing them in new and different ways, learning to sing with correct operatic technique, acting, song and script writing and of course we play games! As you can imagine the reception was fantastic and our taster sessions were so much fun, we had scenes set anywhere from a hilarious family dinner, just after Eisenstein had gotten in trouble with the police, to a party at the top of a mountain and a marriage counselling session between Eisenstein and Rosalinde on the moon. Read more