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.

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 TBA)
Fri 2nd Aug  11am POLLARDS HILL (Starts at TBA)
Sat 3rd Aug  1pm
 5pm
RAYNES PARK (Starts at TBA)
WIMBLEDON (Starts at TBA)
Thu 8th Aug  5pm WANDSWORTH TOWN (Starts at TBA)
Fri 9th Aug  1pm MITCHAM TOWN CENTRE (Starts at TBA)
Sat 10th Aug  1pm
 5pm
CLAPHAM JUNCTION (Starts at TBA)
WIMBLEDON VILLAGE (Starts at TBA)
Tue 13th Aug  1pm
 5pm
MORDEN (Starts at TBA)
TOOTING BROADWAY (Starts at TBA)
Wed 14th Aug  1pm
 5pm
ROEHAMPTON (Starts at TBA)
WIMBLEDON (Starts at TBA)

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

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

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

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