Ho hum, tricky times. As we lurch out of lockdown, I've been thinking about the world of the amateur choir, in Covid Choral.
What is happening:
I'm working with Gabriel Prokofiev and the viol consort Fretwork on Albion, a sequence of arrangements (you could call them cover versions, you could call them remixes) of all kinds of British songs and instrumental pieces, from Dunstaple to Purcell to Elgar to Noel Coward to Britten to Blur, and beyond; some of these arrangements very straight-forward, some much more twisted; some very vivid, up front, some ghostly, barely there; so that it should feel like coming across a box of photographs in the attic - some immediately recognisable, bringing back memories, some blurred, compromised, almost disintegrated. At the moment it's an online project (natch), but we're aiming at performances next year. There's an introductory video here, made by the excellent Sam Stadlen of Fretwork.
Stroke Odysseys: A manifestation with choreographer Ben Duke and video artist Magali Charrier, toured in autumn 2018. A new manifestation, This Here, based on the writings of Samuel Beckett, was premiered at the Beckett Festival, University of Reading, last November. This summer we're collaborating with Garsington Opera on
I'm contributing to Arc of the Sky (Voice Project), a film project inspired by the idea of a bird’s-eye view of Holy Trinity Church, Blythburgh, known as the Cathedral of the Marshes, and the landscape it sits in, the Blyth estuary and the coastline. The film explores themes of flight, perspective, scale, solitude and connection.
Thirty years on.......Man Jumping's first album Jumpcut is on Spotify. The album, and two albums of remixes by Khidja, Bullion, Gengahr, Reckonwrong and William Doyle, is available on vinyl from Emotional Rescue. Our second album World Service should be up on Spotify this month.
I'm working on Bloom Britannia (Barefoot Opera), opera, libretto by Stephen Plaice, directed by Polly Graham, St, Mary-in-the-Castle, Hastings. It was scheduled for October of this year, now elegantly postponed for exactly a year.
The bell-ringing project Ringing The Changes (artconnexion), in collaboration with the artist David Ward, Charminster, Dorset, was scheduled for July 2020. Likely to be next year.
Staging Schiele (Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company) choreographed by Shobana Jeyasingh, set by Ben Cullen Williams, costumes by Cottweiler, lighting by Adam Carree, is available to watch online.
What is not happening:
Alone in Berlin, adapted by Alistair Beaton from the novel by Hans Fallada, directed by James Dacre, Royal Theatre, Northampton, York Theatre Royal, Oxford Playhouse, opened February 8th. Closed.
In The Blood , by Suzan-Lori Parks, directed by Ellen MacDougal, Donmar Warehouse, was due to open April 17th. Closed.
Somewhere in the far distance, beyond Covid-19:
I've started work on an opera based on Shirley Jackson's wonderful, scary, hilarious novel We Have Always Lived In The Castle, libretto by Timothy Knapman, directed by Orpha Phelan. Find out more, and listen to Aruhan Galieva sing, at
Consultant on Jem Finer's Longplayer (choral version)