Woodwose: A Community Chamber Opera
Woodwose: A Community Chamber Opera
Yesterday was magical – thank you for looking after us so well and to the team for their skilful coaching and direction. As you know it was my first time ever on stage and thanks to the team I was able to perform with confidence and felt so at ease. A wonderful piece composed by Kerry and a privilege to have taken part.
Woodwose cast member
Woodwose was performed at Wigmore Hall on Friday 19 July 2013. It was Wigmore Hall Learning’s most ambitious project to date.
140 diverse members of the Westminster community aged from 8 to over 80 worked with an inspirational artistic team and performed alongside internationally renowned tenor Andrew Kennedy and Wigmore Hall Learning’s resident ensemble Ignite.
As part of our celebration of Benjamin Britten’s centenary year, the project was inspired by the composer’s well-known love of folk song. Woodwose composer Kerry Andrew collected traditional folk stories and songs from the community groups and skilfully wove these elements into her finished work. This created a fundamental sense of collective ownership for everyone involved.
Follow the story of the creation of this new work, find out more about the character of Woodwose and track the journey of the cast through Kerry Andrew's blog.
Woodwose was a pioneering project in many ways…
- It was the first Community Chamber Opera in Westminster
- It was the first time most of the participants had performed on stage in a professional venue
- It was the first time over 50% of the audience for the performances had been to Wigmore Hall
- It was the first of Wigmore Hall Learning’s 3-year programme of Community Chamber Projects working with the Westminster Community
- It was the first time a performance at Wigmore Hall had featured moving trees and snow falling from the ceiling
- It was the first time a Wigmore Hall Learning project has been featured on Radio 3’s In Tune
- It was the first time tenor Andrew Kennedy had played a Wildman
- It was the first time a bicycle had been ridden inside the auditorium!
It’s tremendous that Wigmore Hall scheduled Woodwose as an evening performance. It’s recognising that this is a piece with real artistic and creative integrity, not just children singing a song or adults having a go. It sends a message to all the participants that you can perform alongside Andrew Kennedy with a professional band and you are just as valid a performer as any of them with talents to perform and tell a story and then they raise their game.
I loved the energy and commitment of the community cast – it was incredibly moving. As a professional you’re used to performing and you just get on and do it, but when you’re on stage with a community cast people are so involved in the story and ‘in the moment’, and it’s something very special.
Watch the Woodwose promotional video, which was created before the performance.
Performance video and documentary film ‘Rehearsing Woodwose’ coming soon.
Kerry Andrew Composer and Librettist
Hazel Gould Director
Isabelle Adams Musical Director
Ruth Paton Designer
Mark Burns Assistant Director
Hermione Jones Assistant Musical Director
James Barralet cello
Dan Parkin flute/alto flute
Lucy Shaw double bass
Jackie Walduck (leader) vibraphone/percussion
Vicky Wright clarinet/bass clarinet
For more information please contact Wigmore Hall Learning on 020 8768 8240 or email Learning.
Supported by the City Bridge Trust, Mayfield Valley Arts Trust, The Monument Trust and the Samuel Sebba Charitable Trust