It’s an exciting and busy season – and year – ahead, for Barefoot Opera. Hot on the heels of a sold out performance of just one act of a new ‘people’s opera’ – Bloom Britannia – earlier this year at the De La Warr Pavilion, Barefoot Opera have kicked off the Autumn with a punchy new look, and a new production, ‘The Barber of Seville’.

‘Bloom Britannia Preview Performance at the De La Warr Pavilion, April 2019.

Meanwhile, it’s Bloom Britannia – with Damon Albarn from Blur as patron – that is turning out to be a particularly enriching and stimulating addition to the musical life of our town. Inspired by our very own Hastings and St. Leonards, complete with warring councillors, a hen night, clubbers, a street-sweeper, and featuring folk, beat-boxing and a ukulele, this thrilling project will be an opera, but not as you know it. You could say the same perhaps for any Barefoot Opera production. But what sets this project apart is the direct experience of music it brings to people within our communities. People across the generations and from all kinds of backgrounds have already taken part during the first two years of development, as singers and performers, alongside professional opera singers and musicians. We have consistently heard that they felt ‘proud’, ‘invigorated’ and ‘on a high’ after taking part. In these days of cuts to arts education and funding, this can only be applauded.

‘Bloom Britannia Preview Performance at the De La Warr Pavilion, April 2019.

Founder and director Jenny Miller’s main pre-occupation right now is raising funds to bring Bloom Britannia to full fruition in 2020.

A small organisation like Barefoot Opera can feel like David gazing at Goliath, as we start the hugely ambitious process of raising money for a dream we believe in, where sung music is social glue, social healing, social well-being. An opera, however unusually set, still requires visual artists, theatre artists, musicians, the lot – it does cost. A community opera needs all of that plus – the community!’ – Jenny Miller

The Barefoot Opera team are on tenterhooks waiting for news from Arts Council England. In the meantime, following a successful Kickstarter campaign last year, a new crowd-funding campaign launched on 1st November. How can you help? It’s as simple as buying your ticket now to see the full production of Bloom Britannia in 2020. Other rewards include autographed copies of the new score, opera performed in your own house, unique artist-designed Bloom Britannia badges, recordings of Orlando Gough’s music and many more. There’s something for everyone…from the fun, to the fantastical, to the glamorous.

‘Bloom Britannia Preview Performance at the De La Warr Pavilion, April 2019.

Many wonderful people stepped up last time with donations ranging from a fiver to five hundred, and the fiver is just a valuable as it’s well-zeroed neighbour. This not only helps guarantee some of our costs, but shows funders that we all want this to happen – it’s an invaluable vote of confidence’. – Jenny Miller

‘Bloom Britannia Preview Performance at the De La Warr Pavilion, April 2019.

So far this project has touched our community in a great many ways. It has given many children and young people an experience of classical music and performance they will never forget. It has brought the health and well-being power of singing to hundreds of people. It has already brought diverse members of our community together. Jenny Miller again:In these fractured and troubled times, we need projects like Bloom Britannia to bring us together.’

Visit the following link to find out how to donate to the crowd-funding campaign https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/barefootopera. Also go to www.barefootopera.com for details of how you can take part in Bloom Britannia next year. Email: [email protected] to find out more.


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