Barefoot Opera’s current major project is a “people’s opera” which began development in 2018, with Arts Council supported workshops in Hastings, St. Leonards and Bexhill. Hundreds of people told stories, held discussions and sang and improvised on the theme of what it means to live in a town on the South Coast today.
This provided the material for composer Orlando Gough and lyricist Stephen Plaice, who then developed the story line. The result, “Bloom Britannia”, imagines a regeneration competition on the South Coast, with the action taking place on the day the winning town is to be decided.
On April 28th of this year, supported by the Arts Council, the Foyle Foundation, Sussex Giving, Magdalen and Lasher, the Fairlight Trust and Kickstarter friends, the first part of the opera was performed at the iconic De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill. Participating were some one hundred people of whom many had never performed in an opera before.
A new Arts Council application is in process for further funding to enable the full opera to be completed and performed by the autumn of 2020. Bloom Britannia is a “people’s opera” not only in its genesis, but also in its requirement for a large number of singers, drawn from all sections of the local community, to be an integral part of the action. The vision is to have a diverse range of small groups, duos, trios, quintets, that take as much responsibility for story telling as the larger choir and the individual professional soloists. This ambition places new demands on directors, performers, musicians and participants, and challenges participants to develop new individual skills vocally, dramatically and musically. It also means that we can create a robust work of art, an opera that should successfully transfer to other groups, companies and venues.
To register your interest in participating in Barefoot’s bloom Britannia Project please click below: