Barefoot Opera’s new ‘people’s opera’ – inspired by and involving people in the towns of Hastings, St. Leonards and Bexhill – began development in 2018 with a vibrant research and development project involving more than 25 workshops across the towns. The creative team, which included the renowned composer Orlando Gough, met hundreds of people, gaining a fascinating perspective on what it means to live on the South Coast today. 

Barefoot Opera’s Clash (2016) 

With further Arts Council England funding, a successful Kickstarter campaign, support from the Fairlight Arts Trust and Barefoot Wines UK, the project is now in its second phase. 

The opera itself has evolved from ‘A TOWN’ into something altogether more dynamic: ‘BLOOM BRITANNIA’. Taking a satirical look at what Britain might feel like in the future, it centres on a fictional regeneration competition on the South Coast. 

It promises to be funny, political and humane, and, given Orlando Gough’s reputation for bringing together influences from not just classical music, but also folk, jazz and even grime, musically thrilling. 

Just ask anyone who took part in or saw Barefoot Opera’s Clash! in 2016 (pictured).

Free rehearsal workshops – already proving very popular – are taking place every Sunday in March and April for anyone who’d like to sing in the chorus. Jenny Miller will be teaching various singing techniques and working with Orlando Gough’s breathtaking new music. 

You don’t need to be a professional singer – enthusiastic amateurs are welcome! Sign up here www.barefootopera.com/bloom-britannia

Musician Otti Albietz is also running weekly workshops for under 19s in collaboration with Eggtooth, Rythmix and the East Sussex Music Service. 

Everyone taking part in the workshops will be learning an extract of the opera (Act 1) to be performed with local people as well as professional singers and musicians at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill in late April (ticket news coming soon). All going to plan, the full finished opera will be performed in 2020.  

• If you – or your children – would like to take part in this exciting and musically interesting experience, visit www.barefootopera.com and/or contact [email protected] for more details. 


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