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Your opportunity to be there at the start!

  • START: 19/01/2019
  • FINISH: 03/02/2019

In January we start on a journey with the great international company OPERA NORTH.  The creative team behind the opera will be visiting the Northern Heartlands area over two weekends:

January 19th/20th and February 2nd/3rd 2019

The team will be running a 2-hour session in 8 different venues across the Northern Heartlands area so that they can hear from you and find out about our part of County Durham and what makes it so special – so they can then tell our story in music and words.

It will take over a year to make this opera.  The final performances will be in the main exhibition building (among the trains!) at Locomotion, in Shildon, County Durham in May 2020.

The opera will tell the story of County Durham, of its coal and lead-mining, its industrial heritage, its farming and fabulous scenery, of early Christians and ancient pilgrims and of railways.  Above all it will be a story about the people who live here.  It will be your story.

There will be lots of ways to take part – not just on stage but behind the scenes too.  But at the start we need a story, and for that we need YOU.

Come and meet the creative team:

Will Todd, Composer

English composer Will Todd (originally from Durham) is well known for his beautiful and exciting music. His anthem, The Call of Wisdom, was performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations with a TV audience of 45 million people. His breakthrough work, Mass in Blue, has been performed hundreds of times all over the world. His arrangement of Amazing Grace was performed at President Obama’s Inauguration Day prayer service in 2013 and as part of the BBC’s Nelson Mandela Thanksgiving Service.

Tony Walsh, Librettist (writer)

Overcoming childhood poverty and illness, then working everyday jobs in the communities of his beloved home city of Manchester, Tony Walsh (aka Longfella) has risen in recent years to become one of the UK’s most widely recognised and most in-demand professional poets. His work came to worldwide attention in May 2017 when broadcast globally from the vigil for victims of the arena bomb outrage in Manchester. His performance trended worldwide on social media and his poem, This Is The Place, entered the folklore and fabric of the city he’s still proud to call home – painted onto walls, recited in schools, re-mixed by DJs, even tattooed onto skin.

Caroline Clegg, Director

As a director Caroline has 25 years’ experience alongside a career as a performer in West End musicals, regional theatre and national TV (including appearances in Coronation Street) which began in 1984. In 1994 she founded the award winning Feelgood Theatre Productions which specialises in site-specific theatre.  Feelgood Theatre is a regionally based company that tours into the West End and internationally. She is no stranger to the world of opera, and combines her theatre directing with regular work for Welsh National Opera, Opera North and the Hallé Orchestra as well as work as a freelance tutor at the Royal Northern College of Music.

The 8 sessions will take place in the following venues:

  • Saturday, 19th January 2019, 10.00 am at TCR Hub, Barnard Castle
  • Saturday, 19th January 2019, 2.00 pm at Hamsterley Village Hall
  • Sunday, 20th January 2019, 10.00 am at St Catherine’s Community Centre, Crook
  • Sunday, 20th January 2019, 2.00 pm at Parkside Academy, Willington
  • Saturday, 2nd February 2019 at 10.00 am at Bishop Auckland Town Hall
  • Saturday, 2nd February 2019 at 2.00 pm at Greenfield Community College, Shildon Campus
  • Sunday, 3rd February 2019 at 10.00 am at Wolsingham School
  • Sunday, 3rd February 2019 at 2.00 pm at St John’s Chapel Town Hall

We’d love you to join us!  You’d be welcome at any of the sessions above – you don’t have to be local to that place.  Please read the FAQs about the workshops here.

Places are free but you do need to tell us you’re coming. You can book places in the following ways:

If you’d like to come to one of the sessions but have difficulty with transport, please let us know and we will be able to help.  Contact info@northernheartlands.org with OPERA TRANSPORT in the subject line or give us a call on the number above.

FINALLY…Caroline, Will and Tony have asked everyone who comes to bring along an object that means something special to you and/or has some connection with your place.  This could be an object, a letter, a photograph – anything that you would like to share!