From Morden to the Mariinsky Concert Hall

One of the special new additions to this year’s performances was our brass band, who led the audiences between each performance location. We were lucky to be joined by three wonderful young musicians Siân Collins, Ben Day and Derryck Nasib.

We’re particularly keen to support local young musicians so were excited to have Derryck join the team, who’s actually from Morden. He only needed to roll out of bed 10mins before the call time before our Morden performance! So we thought we’d catch up with him about what it has been like performing with Baseless Fabric this summer:

So, how did you get into music?

I was introduced to music from an early age mainly from my mum who is a freelance opera singer. I took up the piano when I was 6 years old, but it wasn’t until when I was in Year 7, that I decided that I wanted to play a brass instrument.

My high school (Greenshaw) introduced us to music lessons and I wanted to play the Trumpet. However, there were no Trumpet teachers available, so a year passed and soon after I started Year 8, my best friend at the time (who was learning Trombone in Sutton Music Service) asked me if I wanted to come along to the Saturday Music School and try out any instruments there. After hearing the French Horn in a concert, I decided that I would like to give that a go, and have loved it ever since. I started off in Sutton Youth Training Band and eventually managed to work my way up play in the Sutton Youth Symphony / Wind Orchestras!

James McOran-Campbell playing Falke in a Community Centre in Pollards Hill

How’s it been playing with Baseless Fabric?

I have absolutely loved every moment of working with Baseless Fabric Theatre and it’s wonderful that it’s so local – the whole experience has been a real highlight for me!

And what’s next on the cards?

I’ll be helping out South London Youth Orchestra next week where I mentor some of the brass players in their summer course. After that, I have a European tour in November with the Chineke! Orchestra to Bruges, Aachen, Antwerp, Amsterdam and Cologne. And I’ll be touring with Shadwell Opera Company to St. Petersburg performing Oliver Knussen’s fantasy opera, Where the Wild Things Are at the Mariinsky Concert Hall!

Aha… so a bit less local than Morden then!

________________

PS. In case you were wondering who all our brass players were…

Hailing from Sussex, Ben begin playing trumpet at the age of 6. Wanting to pursue a career in music, he studied at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Guildhall School and now looks forward to taking part in creative projects around the UK.

Having studied at the Birmingham Conservatiore and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Siân is a now a professional freelance horn player and teacher. She enjoys performing in a variety of styles and ensembles, and has played in a number of orchestras across Europe including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

Derryck is a freelance French Horn player who studied at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Aside from music, he has a passion for trains and often enjoys trainspotting. He is also a member of the Chineke! Orchestra and will be touring to Europe with them this coming November

Love musicals? Hate opera? Think again!

We asked Francis, originally a musicals fan, to tell us why we converted him to opera.

I am a musical theatre geek. I’m a self-confessed Renthead and up until a few years ago I hated opera…. But I didn’t realise I was watching the wrong opera productions. Here are 5 reasons why I think, if you love musicals, you should try Baseless Fabric’s free Die Fledermaus:

It’s in modern English and you can hear the words

I thought opera was always in another language or if it was in English you couldn’t really hear the words clearly, sometimes you have to be looking and reading the text from a screen?! – but that doesn’t have to be the case. In the Baseless Fabric’s opera productions the words are clear and you can easily follow the story of what’s going on. In fact Die Fledermaus actually has both spoken scenes and songs so it’s even more like a musical. Read more

#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

Why Audiences Love Street Opera

Our favourite thing about our street opera performances is seeing how audiences respond. We love that the unique Baseless Fabric style – where operas pop up unexpectedly on the high street, and move from location to location – excites audiences. It’s so thrilling to clearly see people enjoying the performance which you wouldn’t be able to see from the stage of a big opera house.

And when we announced our Die Fledermaus locations, we were delighted to find people reminiscing about our performances of Cosi Fan Tutte in 2017 & 2018. For example:

And: Read more

Talking opera at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Leo and Jo at Wimbledon Tennis Championships

Leo and Jo at Wimbledon Tennis Championships

This week our Artistic Director Joanna Turner & General Manager Leo Mercer headed to the Wimbledon Championships and Jo chatted to the Wimbledon Channel & everyone on Henman Hill about our exciting Die Fledermaus project supported by the Wimbledon Foundation’s Arts & Community Engagement Fund.

https://twitter.com/WimbledonFdn/status/1149264569841401856

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

What is Grimeborn?

The Arcola (Dalston)

Grimeborn is the annual opera festival at one of London’s coolest theatres, The Arcola. Over the last ten years, the festival has become the home for adventurous takes on familiar classics, resurrections of forgotten gems, and premieres of brand new works. This year there are no less than 16 productions. There are £12 tickets available for each one. It’s cheap, it’s accessible – and it’s mindblowing when you realise how much there is to the opera world. 

Don’t take our word for it. Here are some examples that we can’t wait for:

Bringing back unknown operas to life – like Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha

Somehow Scott Joplin, the ‘King of Ragtime’, is only known for his famous piano tune The Entertainer. But then you hear about an American opera-musical like this, entirely ahead of its time, entirely relevant still – and with a title like Treemonisha… well, you just kinda have to go!

See also Aaron Copland’s Twelve Poems by Emily Dickinson.

Radical takes on opera classics – like Die Fledermaus

Our very own artistic director Jo Turner and composer Leo Geyer return with a new take of Strauss’ classic. Working with designer Marina Hadjilouca and lighting designer Jack Weir, Baseless Fabric will bring our street opera indoors for two performances only, for an entirely new take on our style of relevant, irreverent opera re-imagining. Find out more here. Read more

Making Opera With Young People

Every two weeks, director Elen and musical director James lead a session in Cranmer Primary School. We chatted to Elen about what they’ve been working on.

Baseless Fabric Theatre workshop with primary school group – Wimbledon Foundation

Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to at Cranmer.

Since January, James (the musical director) and myself have been working with year 5 and 6 students from Cranmer Primary School. We’ve been devising scenes. We’ve written and composed music. We’ve used improvisation techniques to adapt the characters from Die Fledermaus.

It’s been a thoroughly enjoyable experience, not just because we’ve facilitated these young people in creating their own performance, but we’ve also witnessed their confidence grow and creative ideas flourish. Read more

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

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.

Read more