A Town – A New Arts Council-Funded Opera Project, by Thomas Denman
Barefoot Opera – ‘Hastings and St. Leonard’s very own opera company’ – has been awarded an Arts Council Research and Development Grant for the first stage of what promises to be an exciting new project involving local people and professional singers. The company have now built quite a reputation for their vibrant, youthful and accessible performances, for example last month’s well attended and highly acclaimed L’incoronazione di Poppea at St. Mary in the Castle. With this new project, the working title of which is A Town, Barefoot Opera plans to be yet more innovative and inclusive, involving people of all ages, singing abilities and backgrounds. It builds on the success of Barefoot Opera’s CLASH!, which involved seven Hastings’ choirs and culminated in the performance of Bayeux!, a choral extravaganza written and composed by the eminent Orlando Gough. The same composer will be working on A Town, this time in collaboration with the librettist Stephen Plaice.
Central to the new opera will be the voices and stories of all the communities collaborating in its production. Beginning in April 2018, the first stage of A Town will involve a series of far-reaching workshops in and around the communities of Hastings and Rother. The workshops are divided into singing workshops and talking workshops for those who don’t feel like singing but might want to be involved or at least share their story and be part of the opera’s narrative. The project will run for two years, culminating in a performance at the De La Warr Pavilion in Spring 2020.
All are welcome and the workshops are free to attend. For further details, see the Barefoot Opera website: www.barefootopera.com.