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Bizet meets TikTok and 10 year olds!

Our After School Club at Links Primary is now well underway and the school hall is filled with the sounds of Toreador and Habanera sung by our wonderful group of Years 4-6 and our brilliant workshop leaders Bim and Ruth. 

A few weeks ago Fizz Buckland, who plays Carmen in our professional production this summer, also joined the group for a few games, to discuss the characters and story, and of course to sing! So the group were able to hear what her (very loud!) voice sounds like and ask her questions about what it’s like to be an opera singer.

The group will be creating their own new songs and scenes inspired by Carmen over the coming months leading to their own performance this summer. Congrats to everyone involved for their hard work this term and we look forward to seeing you again after the Easter holidays! 

 

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Opera Club is underway at Links Primary

Since the start of term the hallways have been ringing with the Habanera at Links Primary School as our latest community project gets underway.

Each week a group of children attend an After School Opera Club run by Baseless Fabric and in partnership with Jigsaw4U. Our fantastic facilitators Bimpe Adeyemi and Ruth Routledge are working with the children to teach them about Bizet’s Carmen, and support them in creating and writing their own show inspired by the opera.

Ruth Routledge

Bimpe Adeyemi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children will work with Bimpe and Ruth over the next two terms singing, acting, writing and devising together. Their work will culminate in a performance in July for family, friends, teachers and for the team of performers and creatives working on Baseless Fabric’s professional production of Carmen. 

In turn the opera club will take a trip to watch our professional Carmen production and see Baseless Fabric in action popping up on the high street.

We are looking forward to seeing how the children grow and learn over the course of this 7-month project and can’t wait for the performance of their Carmen-inspired creation in July.

A massive thank you to the Wimbledon Foundation and Three Monkies Trust for supporting this project.

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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

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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

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Our school parallel productions of Die Fledermaus

We are thrilled to announce a new and exciting aspect of the Die Fledermaus project!

St Teresa’s Primary School opera workshop

As well as our professional cast performing our re-imagined version of Die Fledermaus in summer 2019, we will also have two groups of young people creating their own new versions of this classic opera as part of an ongoing youth opera project! The two groups, one primary and one secondary, will meet up fortnightly January – July 2019 with our professional music and drama practitioners to learn to sing and act out songs and scenes from the opera as well as writing new scenes, songs and perhaps even new characters to create their very own brand new show inspired by the opera. The fortnightly sessions will then lead to a week’s rehearsal and performance in the summer holidays so that the groups can show their ‘parallel productions’ to parents, teachers and the professional cast! Following which the groups will come to see our professional production to experience seeing a professional opera and hearing professional opera singers live and up close – and to be able to compare the professional version to their own! Read more

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Our new production supported by Wimbledon Foundation

Pop up Opera Performance at Wimbledon Foundation

Pop Up Opera Performance at Wimbledon Foundation

We are beyond thrilled to announce that we have been awarded funding by the Wimbledon Foundation’s new Arts and Community Engagement Fund (ACE) to create our next Merton Street Opera!

Following on from the success of Drifting Dragons (2016) and Cosi Fan Tutte (2017) we are now re-imagining Johann Strauss’ Die Fledermaus for free unticketed high street performances enabling everyone to experience high quality professional opera for free. Read more

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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.  Read more

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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

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“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