Press Releases week beginning 15 August 2016
Barefoot Opera introduces Clash! - a choral spectacle for ROOT1066
24th September 2016
Performances: 4.30 pm and 7.30 pm
Sussex Coast College, Hastings
A unique, one-off musical event involving seven choirs is taking place in Hastings in September as part of ROOT1066 Festival of Contemporary Art.
Poets and spoken word artists have collaborated with composers from across the South East to create a musical 'tapestry' of completely new choral commissions responding to the Bayeux Tapestry's narration of the great Battle of 1066. Each of the seven choirs - over 250 voices in total - will be performing a unique piece, whilst the internationally renowned composer Orlando Gough, eminent in working with community choirs, and expert in bringing together different voice types, has composed an ambitious new piece especially for the event: this will be performed by all seven choirs singing together. The event, which is produced by Barefoot Opera, will take place in the cathedral-like atrium of Sussex Coast College, and will be prefaced by choirs' singing journeys to the atrium by train and from the seafront.
'Hastings has a wide number of fantastic and diverse choirs, but never before have they all performed together. The idea was to draw them all together under the same roof and have them sing completely new music.' (Jenny Miller, Barefoot Opera)
The seven choirs who have never performed all together before include well-established groups like Hastings Philharmonic and Sound Waves, to a completely new choir - Hastings Calling - created especially for the Clash! by musician Otti Albietz. The other choirs include Harmony 1, Vocal Explosion, Opera South East and Hastings Youth Choir. This is a completely cross-generational event involving young singers who are more accustomed to performing pop music, to those more familiar with operatic and world music styles. We expect the event to be as challenging and liberating as it is exhilarating.
The poets involved include Jill Fricker, Frances Viner, Antony Mair, Anne Rouse, whilst the composers include Karen Wimhurst, Frances Lynch, Kenneth Roberts, Juliet Russell, Otti Albietz and Marcio da Silva. There will also be two percussionists performing at the event - Liam Genockey and Emmanuel McDonald. Radiator Arts, whose talented team of artists and designers are well known for creating large scale community spectacles, (e.g. Walking with Fish) are leading on the visuals for the event. They have also recruited several illustration students from Sussex Coast College to work with them to produce several massive painted backdrops.
Tickets are available from www.barefootopera.com/tickets and cost £7/£5 concessions.
Clash! is part of the ROOT 1066 International Festival, a festival of contemporary arts inspired by the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings and funded by Hastings Borough Council and Arts Council England.
For all the latest news and information go to www.1066contemporary.com, like the Facebook page 'ROOT1066' or follow 'ROOT1066' on Twitter and Instagram.
Piecing Together Our Rich Tapestry...
Hastings was the venue for the European debut of the 'Medieval Mosaic' at St Mary in the Castle, on the town's seafront last Friday (12th August).
The mosaic is a complete recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry, created out of 3 million tiny pieces of steel, each of around 7 sq. mm. The mosaic also includes an 8 metre 'finale section', which recreates what is believed to be depicted in the two missing panels of the original Bayeux Tapestry, narrating the three months of history from the end of the Battle of Hastings to the coronation of William the Conqueror on Christmas Day 1066.
The mosaic was created by father and daughter team Michael and Rachael Linton, in New Zealand, and this is the first time the mosaic has ever been out of New Zealand.
Michael said :- "The mosaic has taken over 33 years to build, and I am so pleased to have been invited by Hastings Borough Council to bring it to England to play its part in the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings. And where better for the mosaic to have its European debut than in the crypt of St Mary in the Castle, within the footprint of Hastings Castle, which is of course shown on the mosaic.
"We had a great launch event last Friday, and have had lots of visitors since then :- and we are hoping for lots more! Entry is free, but we would appreciate donations, and we're here from 10am until 5 pm every day now until the end of October."
Cllr Peter Chowney, leader of Hastings Borough Council, added :- "The mosaic is quite extraordinary, and well worth a visit. The amount of work that has gone into it is quite incredible, and it fits into the crypt of St Mary in the Castle so well :- it looks like it was designed for it, yet was made half a world away.
"I am delighted that Michael, Gillian and Rachael Linton have chosen Hastings for the European - indeed northern hemisphere! - launch for this work, and am sure that it will attract many, many visitors over the coming months.
"It provides yet another reason for visitors to come here, and is the Guinness world record holder for the world's largest steel mosaic :- Famously Hastings indeed!
1066 And All That - And So Much More
New contemporary arts festival commemorates one of English history's most important dates
The Battle of Hastings was a significant moment in this country's history and a hugely rich source of inspiration - both on the history of the country itself and the impact it has had on our culture and identity.
To mark the 950th anniversary of William the Conqueror's invasion of England, a new, six-week contemporary arts festival has been created and gets underway on 3 September (running until 16 October).
ROOT1066 is composed of spectacular indoor and outdoor events across 1066 Country in East Sussex staged by internationally renowned artists and companies, including Glyndebourne Opera, Chris Levine, WildWorks Theatre, Marcus Harvey and Turner Prize short-listed Fiona Banner, plus many more. It includes 13 new commissions and premieres, all exploring big themes such as Who are we? Where do we come from? What is important to us?
Highlights of the rich and varied programme include
- I Am A Norman - a photography project highlighting contemporary Normans. Nigel Green and Andrew Moran have traced people who live in 1066 Country with a surname derived from the original army of Norman knights and their retinues and photographed them in a setting of their choice. These photographs will be on display in bus shelters from 1-31 September. Familiar faces in familiar settings, connecting us to the past.
- A pioneering large scale sound and light event - iy_Project - has been designed by the acclaimed light artist Chris Levine, famous for his 3D light portraits of The Queen, the Dalai Lama and Kate Moss and collaborations with The Eden Project and top recording artists (most recently with Philip Glass at Glastonbury in a special tribute to David Bowie). He will be working in collaboration with sound artists to create a spectacular immersive experience on the seafront, which will include an invitation beamed over the Channel to Normandy to signify the start of the festival. (Saturday 10 September)
- Making its world premiere on Saturday 1 October at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, new opera PUSH will be performed by soloists from Glyndebourne and musicians drawn from some of the UK's major orchestras, while 250 children and adults from across 1066 Country will form the accompanying choir for this thrilling and innovatively staged production. PUSH, written by internationally acclaimed composer Howard Moody, is inspired by the compelling, true story of Simon Gronowski, who was pushed from a train bound for Auschwitz by his mother in 1943. Mr Gronowski himself will be guest of honour at the first performance.
- Paying cheeky homage to British Museum Director Neil MacGregor's ground-breaking series for BBC Radio 4, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery is telling The Story of Hastings in 66 Objects. From a 1066 silver penny and part of a Spanish Armada boat to a JL Baird letter and a MOD's Lambretta, members of the public picked their favourite works from the 100,000 held by the museum to create a new exhibition that covers the Norman invasion, through Tudor, Stuart, Georgian and Victorian periods into the 20th Century. (On now)
- WildWorks are renowned for their unique style of site-specific theatre. Their show The Great Survey is inspired by the Domesday Book of 1086, which was entitled The Great Survey of the Wealth of England. But where the first Great Survey focused on the country's physical wealth in terms of land, livestock and other possessions, this one 930 years later will be focusing on the town of Hastings greatest riches: its people and communities. Their show will take place in the shadow of Hastings Castle (9-11 September) and feature a revolving cast of 50 local people.
- Jerwood Gallery presents a major exhibition of the celebrated English artist Marcus Harvey. Inselaffe is a German word meaning 'Island Monkeys' - used to describe the people of Britain, a tongue-in-cheek theory that evolution must have stalled in the UK. Harvey's most recent work forges motifs and emblems of Britishness, such as military memorabilia and joke shop knick-knacks, into collaged portraits of historical figures - from Nelson to Margaret Thatcher, Napoleon to Tony Blair (until 16 October).
- Leading British artist Fiona Banner presents an immersive installation at the iconic De La Warr Pavilion, exploring her ongoing interest in language and its limitations. The exhibition, Buoys Boys, which takes place both inside and outside of the gallery, is a play on digital versus material experiences. (24 September - 8 January 2017).
All these events, and many, many more, will work in partnership with other 1066 commemorations and celebrations, including the Battle Festival (throughout October) and a monumental re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings (15 & 16 October).
ROOT1066 is curated by Hastings Borough Council's Polly Gifford, who says "Hastings has a long artistic tradition and a growing reputation as a cultural hot spot for outstanding contemporary arts, with an eclectic arts scene fuelled by a thriving community of artists. ROOT 1066 shows off the best the area has to offer, with unique projects from local, national and international artists that will linger in the memories of audiences and leave a lasting legacy for the area."
The ROOT1066 Festival Patron is playwright and scriptwriter, Hastings born, Sir David Hare. He says "ROOT 1066 comes along at just the right moment to mark the re-birth of this part of the world. Its curious beauty and distinctive melancholy are as powerful as ever. But now at last it has sturdy young life as well."
You can download a full festival programme now at www.www.1066contemporary.com