Project Coordinator Ellie tells us about the lead up to Noye's Fludde: the huge community opera we're collaborating on this Saturday
"Project Noye 2014 has been going extremely well.
The unique working collaboration between Charles Hazlewood and Kneehigh has proved to be an extraordinary source of creative energy that has inspired all participants from the first day.
We began working with Brookside Community Primary School, our hub school way back in February, in addition to launching the online Project Noye 2014 microsite, which provides information on Benjamin Britten, the opera, the participants, and all sorts of cross curricular details.
The amateur orchestra came together for the very first time two weeks ago, although sections have been rehearsing independently since March. All the subsequent orchestral rehearsals have progressed very well and I feel the level we have reached already is excellent, allowing Charles to work in fine detail on certain nuances that will define the performance.
The core cast of singers have been working at Brookside with Kneehigh's Simon Harvey and Charles since 7th July. We have had time to cover every aspect of the opera, experimenting and truly embracing the music, providing drop in sessions on developments for all the Brookside pupils and staff through assemblies where soloists perform sections of the opera.
We have worked throughout the summer term with Brookside pupils and staff. We have covered all the musical material and created some fabulous animal banners with Rosanna Vize, our Designer. The atmosphere in the school is extremely positive, with children feeling very confident to talk with any of the production team, sharing their ideas and creativity. Staff are also extremely pro active and Claire Axten, the Headmistress has remained consistent in her outstanding support thorughout.
Today we have begun the build in the Edmund Rack at the Bath and West.
From an outreach perspective, I've been thrilled with the response to the Project website, and my expectation is that a significant percentage of the followers will come along and sing on the day.
We have 610 performers in this production, and this does not include the number of project followers who have learned the hymns and will come along to add extra energy to the audience participation.
We are estimating over 1,500 so far from ticket sales for the audience, and every audience member does become a performer through the immersive nature of the opera.
It is unquestionable that the collaboration with Kneehigh has been invaluable for this production, establishing a very strong and professional infrastructure for the production as we have benefitted from the expertise of their team on all levels. Simon Harvey has provided inspirational drama workshops for all pupils at Brookside, in addition to the principal cast members, really drawing the performers together in a very unique way.
The Philharmonia are providing a professional musical core par excellence, and this is complimented perfectly by Andy Barclay, Principal Percussion of the LPO, who has worked extensively with the Percussion team.
As an enrichment of our support for FLAG, (Flooding on the Levels Action Group) we also gave a very special performance for members of the Somerset Levels community back in February with a fund raising concert at the Cathedral on the Moor. We brought the South Bank Sinfonia, who were transported at no charge by Great Western and performed for free to raise money for FLAG. We raised over £3,000 for FLAG with this performance, and many of the audience members on the night have remained avid followers of the opera project.
Although the weather forecast for Saturday is not one of the best, we are in the excellent position of not having to worry, because our performance will be under cover in the cathedralic space of the Edmund Rack, a vast agricultural barn on the Bath and West. So whatever the weather, this performance is one not to be missed, this will be a once in a lifetime experience!"