Two new works from English Touring Opera harness the creativity of a variety of participants in the company's autumn education programme
“Creativity is contagious” said Albert Einstein – “pass it on”. It’s a very good motto for community arts of any kind and is certainly fundamental to ETO’s education work.
Commissioned by Historic Royal Palaces to mark the anniversary of the building of Hampton Court Palace in 1515, Under the Hammerbeam Roof has been created by composer Rachel Leach and writer/director Tim Yealland in workshops with 100 local adults, including participants from the Freedom Stage Company, Kingston RISE, Molesey Musical Theatre, Otakar Kraus Music Trust and Wellness With A Goal. It’s about the tourists, ghosts and servants who walk, haunt and work in the Palace including Henry VIII, Catherine Howard, Shakespeare, Christopher Wren, William III, Prince Frederick and a Victorian lady called Miss Bailey, who was outraged by the nude frescoes in her apartment. It will take place in Hampton Court’s Great Hall, on November 14, under the eponymous roof.
The next magnificent setting is the Royal Albert Hall on November 25 where ETO will be taking part in the Music for Youth Prom. This time those taking a direct role in the creative process are 400 students from the Oval Learning Cluster in Lambeth who have been working with Russell Hepplewhite on his new song cycle, 800 Miles as the Albatross Flies. The inspiration for the project comes from a key moment in the story of Shackleton’s Cat, ETO’s recent opera for children. In this piece children from Lambeth sign up for an extreme Outward Bound adventure, sailing in a replica of the tiny James Caird lifeboat from Elephant Island to South Georgia, precisely 100 years after the first heroic voyage. They have imagined the adventure set in the warm climes of South Georgia in the southern states of America; unfortunately they find that this South Georgia is in Antarctica...
Under the Hammerbeam Roof (Rachel Leach/ Tim Yealland) has two performances at Hampton Court Palace on November 14. 800 Miles as the Albatross Flies (Russell Hepplewhite) will be performed at the Royal Albert Hall on November 25.