An Opera Festival Week 2

After its successful launch last year, GRIMEBORN – An Opera Season is back at Arcola for three weeks of theatrical innovation from the frontline of contemporary music and performance.

Grimeborn was conceived to give young companies and old masters the opportunity to show their work in a venue that appreciates the diversity of theatrical forms and highlight the performance as much as the music.



Monday 11 August

Ash is a black comedy about staying young forever. Sarah is an angry teenager, rebelling against her mother’s controlling influence by playing organ in a crematorium. Her mother, Louise, is in reckless pursuit of a man 20 years younger than herself: a man who proves to be little more than a fantasy, an image of death. With the action moving from operating theatre to sitting room, from crematorium to health spa, from nightclub to the open road, Ash is a satire on contemporary life, with mediaeval undertones.
Composer: Rachel Fuller
Librettist/Director: Jack Shepherd



Tuesday 12 August
Wednesday 13 August

OPERA OF SURVEILLANCE by Conversations with Sound and The Irrepressibles

Cult pop orchestra The Irrepressibles and site-specific choir Conversations with Sound will create a fantasia of audience experiences utilizing the context and performance space. Expanding on their practice of theatricalising the mundane, the choir will create a generative score that interacts with the orchestra and Turner Duffin’s manipulation, the audience becoming central to a narrative of sounds. Previous experiments include free performances on London Underground, Greenwich Tunnel and other public spaces.
Composer/Voice Practitioner: Jamie McDermott
Sound Design: William Turner Duffin

Friday 15 August, Saturday 16 August

MY FEET MAY TAKE A LITTLE WHILE (The Errollyn Wallen Songbook)
Errollyn Wallen – ‘renaissance woman of contemporary British music’ (The Observer) is as respected as a composer of contemporary new music as she is a songwriter of pop influenced songs. Four emerging young opera singers (Gillian Ramm, Sarah-Jane Lewis, David Webb, Callum Thorpe) are joining her in the first staging of her celebrated songbook: a spiritual quest that starts in today’s London and leads to the open road.
Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and by the Hinrichsen Foundation.
Composer/Music Director: Errollyn Wallen
Director: Daniele Guerra

Download the Grimeborn Programme