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Various Stages | Commissioning | News

Various Stages R&D Festival

This January we held our first research & development festival Various Stages as part of our Incubator programme.

It has been invigorating to work on this fresh new body of work at the start of the year – marking the beginning of a thrilling period ahead for the company.

We have held workshops for a wide range of new projects. These included a four hour performance of a new ‘meditation opera’ by Rolf Hind and a week of rehearsals for our new production of HK Gruber’s ‘cabaret opera’ Gloria – A Pigtale. Composer Emily Hall, along with Sound Designer David Sheppard, began work on their electro-magnetic harp, which is to form part of the instrumentation for her newly-commissioned ‘concept-album opera’.

We held the first workshops with our two Sound and Music Embedded composers, Ergo Phizmiz and Jamie Man and began work on an operatic adaptation of Witkacy’s The Mother by composer Laurence Osborn. There was also the first reading of a new libretto by Dave Windass for an adaptation of Shostakovich’s; Moskva Cheryomushki set in modern day Britain, satirising local politics, housing provision and oligarchs, to be staged with a community chorus.

We were keen to gather feedback on the work developed during the festival and did this through a series of Call & Response sessions, using Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process. The work formed part of a research project in partnership with King’s Cultural Institute into the criticism process. Find out more here: Critical Response Process.

Over the course of the festival we have worked with an amazing group of artists – around 40 different singers, instrumentalists, conductors, composers and writers, as well as an aerial artist and a burlesque performer. The last three weeks have gone by in a whirlwind of feathers, whacky percussion, sausages, ping pong balls, a ratchet playing piano player and a mini whisk thrown in for good measure. We’re looking forward to developing these pieces further. Watch this space!

The Incubator is generously supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.

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