A New Face at Baseless Fabric

Hi! My name is Leo, and I’m delighted to have been chosen to join the Baseless Fabric team. I’ve been working with them for just less than a month so far, but here are 5 things I’ve already learned:
 

ENGAGEMENT IS AMAZINGLY REWARDING

Beatboxing Workshop in Mitcham Library

Opera sounds beautiful, but then so does the sound of a roomful of young people buzzing as they take part in a theatre design workshop, or parents waxing lyrically about how grateful they are that we’ve been doing work in areas that might not normally offer arts activities like stage combat or puppetry. It’s been a pleasure to see how seriously Baseless Fabric takes its community engagement projects – from school groups visiting Wimbledon Tennis, workshops in Mitcham Library – and I’m excited to start playing a role in making these things happen.

 

SOUTH LONDON IS BEAUTIFULLY DIVERSE

I’ve come down from Manchester to work with Baseless Fabric this summer. South London is quite new to me, but luckily, I’ve been preparing for a half-marathon at the end of this month, which has given me a great excuse to run all around the Mitcham and Merton area. It’s been a great way to get a sense of the local area, and the sheer diversity as the urban geography and landscape shifts every couple of minutes. The fact it’s been so sunny lately does not hurt at all.
 

TWO LEOS ARE BETTER (BUT MORE COMPLICATED) THAN ONE

One of the great advantages to being called Leo is that there’s not so many of us, so you always know if someone’s referring to you. But in Baseless Fabric’s small and wonderful team, there’s two of us now, the composer / MD Leo Geyer, and myself. That’s going to get very confusing!
 

THE WIMBLEDON FOUNDATION ARE INCREDIBLE

Wimbletech, where I’ll be working over the next few months.

There are some wonderful perks of having committed backing from the Wimbledon Foundation, not least that the school pupils we’ve been working with got to go on a private tour of the Wimbledon Tennis grounds, and most importantly, compare their shoe size with famous tennis players. And guess who got to tag along?

 

BASELESS FABRIC ARE TRULY COOL

I come from a background of wacky arrangements of classic operas, and in a world where people can be quite traditionalist about opera, it’s been lovely to find a company of kindred spirits who share the sense that operas can be made relevant not merely by changing the staging, but also going right back into the libretto itself. I can’t wait to see the production of Die Fledermaus take shape over the summer.

Lunchtime Opera: Different Perspectives

Recently we took our Die Fledermaus adaptation into local community centres so that elderly lunch club groups can hear a professional opera singer and pianist perform live and chat to them about what it’s like to work as a professional musician.

We asked our session leaders to tell us what their favourite moment was: 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

Want to get involved with our work?

Baseless Fabric Theatre is looking for enthusiastic and skilled people to join our Board of Trustees.

What will you be doing?

Our dedicated Board of Trustees oversees the strategic direction and governance of this performing arts charity. We are looking to further strengthen the sustainability of the charity, developing existing and creating new revenue streams, and increasing our network of supporters and partners. The Board offers strategic guidance, creative ideas and support as required.

What are we looking for?

Read more

2018, what a year…

What a year 2018 was for Baseless Fabric! We began the year with the thrilling news that we were the first recipient of the Wimbledon Foundation’s prestigious new Arts and Community Engagement Fund for our new street opera project Die Fledermaus!

This project, with the additional support of Arts Council England, Merton Council and the Samuel Gardner Memorial Trust, encompasses the creative adaptation of an opera for the high street, the free professional performances, workshops for both schools and elderly lunch clubs and two school parallel productions! So while the project has similarities to our previous street operas Drifting Dragons and Cosi Fan Tutte, it is also bigger and better than ever! Read more

So which superhero are you?

We had a great time in our Research & Development rehearsals and sharing last week. Thank you to everyone who came along to see what we’ve been up to so far and give feedback. As well as working hard on the music, staging the scenes and making sure the storyline is clear we also asked our singers a few questions to help you get to know them….

Die Fledermaus R&D

We have a superhero theme to Die Fledermaus. If you could be any superhero who would you be and why?

Claire Wild: I want to be the invisible one from Fantastic Four for a million reasons really, but mostly to be sneaky and overhear conversations.

David Horton: Nightcrawler because he can teleport and is super agile and I’m neither of those things!

Alistair Ollerenshaw: Spiderman – to be super agile and be able to swing from buildings.

Abigail Kelly: Scarlet Witch as she is possibly the most powerful being in the Marvel universe. Read more

Our School Parallel Production Workshop Leaders!

We are super excited to introduce our talented music and drama workshop leaders who will be working with the young people’s groups in our Die Fledermaus parallel productions at Cranmer Primary School and St John Bosco College….

 

Elliot Aynthony Ajai-Ajagbe Dale

Elliott Anthony Ajai-Ajagbe Daley – Drama Practitioner

Elliott Anthony Ajai-Ajagbe Daley has worked with the Lyric Theatre for 10 years where he has run a variety of the flagship drama based youth inclusion programs such as START and REWIND and is currently lead practitioner for the youth drama program, ‘Acting Up’. He also runs freelance drama and spoken word workshops in schools for them and other theatres such as the BAC, Harts and Bush Theatre. Read more