Just So: Tegumai’s Tales is a music-theatre adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So stories for a contemporary audience. I’ve provided a libretto for composer Paul Ayres. The individual stories can be performed separately as mini-musicals, or altogether to create a full-length piece. Paul has also created a choral arrangement of some of the pieces. The work was selected as one of the three finalists in the North Cambridge Family Opera Company’s Composition Competition, 2013-2014. In 2015 The Crab That Played With The Sea was premiered at the University of West London (UK), and in 2016 Master Kangaroo was premiered by Bluegrass Opera (Kentucky USA).
The project is an audio dream guiding you along the lost River Fleet, from its source on Hampstead Heath to where it meets the Thames at Blackfriars. There’s text (both spoken and sung), binaural recording, found sound and music, as well as small performative actions that the listener can choose to take part in whilst they walk the route.
Print artist Rowanne Anderson (Rowan Tree Print) has made us a beautiful map to help people find their way and show them where the listening points are.
After last year’s amazing project working with community choir groups and refugees, I was back on the Together Productions team for a second go. This time we wrote one new song – with 150 people! The resulting piece is called Sembo! and is a journey from isolation and fear, through to a united call for justice. I facilitated one big workshop using Open Space Technology, where we gathered themes, fragments of text & music and some key images. This was followed up by a smaller writing workshop where we focussed on the two main themes that had emerged and created more written material, which I took away and curated into the final libretto.
A multi-sensory opera for people who can hear and people who can’t.
Annie is an astronomer. She knows all about time and space, but she isn’t so sure about life and death. And she’s just gone deaf.
Inspired by the life of astronomer Annie Jump-Cannon, I worked with composer Stephen Bentley-Klein to create a new kind of opera that finds new ways of communicating and engaging with sound and music. The opera had it’s first outing at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival 2012, and a further iteration was performed at the Greenbelt Festival 2014.
We worked with D/deaf and hearing practitioners to ingrate BSL, captioning, sensory installations, missing live sound through water and other techniques to speak to hearing audiences about the experience of deafness, and to interpret sound into other sensory experiences for D/deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences.
More information about the piece can be found HERE.
I’ve been working with interfaith dialogue organisation 3FF and their resident choir – the Mixed Up Chorus – to create a new song cycle. Alongside composer Mike Roberts, we ran a series of workshops with the choir members, immigrant parents from the local primary school, and members of Freedom From Tortures choir. We explored the groups experiences of migration and refuge, and collaboratively developed words and music resulting in 3 new songs.
The Mixed Up Chorus performed the pieces in July 2017. BBC Radio 4 were there to record the songs and talk to some of the participants. You can hear the article here, with one of our song-cycle pieces – Prayer For Tomorrow – in the background: