An interview with Barefoot Opera’s youth lead, Justin Greenland, by Caf Fean


Who are Barefoot Opera, and what is Bloom Britannia?
Barefoot Opera is a creative arts organisation who want to bring out the arts in everyone. I was the first teenager to be a part of Bloom Britannia – we’re looking for more people to join of any age, background or experience! Bloom Britannia involves professionals and non-professionals, a lot of whom are based in, or come from, the Hastings area. The story is about seaside towns like Hastings, and the audience will get to experience a masterpiece!

Clubbers getting involved with preview of Bloom Britannia
PHOTOGRAPHY: Chris Parker

What is opera, to you?
Turns out opera can be quite a lot of different things. To some, it offers the chance to escape. It is another form of singing. Most of the songs in the show aren’t even opera songs – it’s called opera because it’s a way to open up, a way to heal, a way to communicate.

What would you tell anyone who is thinking of getting involved?
If you want a life filled with music, experience for a job, to have a dance, to try singing, acting, insight into being a sound engineer, or a backstage coffee runner, just come and get involved! Or come and see it!

Tell us about the team. 
‘Absolutelyamazing’ – all in one word. Orlando (composer) is unique. I don’t know how he does it. I had quite a few chats with him and the librettist, Stephen Plaice. They opened new doors for me and nicknamed me mini-Bowie! Polly, the director, gives very good hints and tips for actors – the young people in the show just loved working with her. Jenny (Artistic Director) is an influencer. For vocal warm-ups, she has a unique technique where everyone ends up loving it – and doing it. She makes you feel better about yourself.

Take part in Bloom Britannia – a home-grown, professional opera, made with and for the people of Hastings, St Leonards and Bexhill. An opera, but not as you know it…

Visit www.barefootopera.com or email [email protected] to sign up


We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. The future of our volunteer led, non-profit publication would be far more secure with the aid of a small donation. You can also support local journalism by becoming a friend of HIP. It only takes a minute and we would be very grateful.