Mahogany Opera Group Various Stages Festival 2020

Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, London, United Kingdom

Thursday, March 19, 2020 - 14:00 to 20:00

Various Stages Festival 2020 Showcase and Forum

Always striving to stretch the boundaries of what opera can be and who it is for, Mahogany Opera presents its fourth Various Stages Festival on Thursday 19 March at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. 

Various Stages is Mahogany’s distinctive and artist-led research and development programme and on Thursday 19 March, the 2020 Festival reaches its culmination in an afternoon of work-in-progress performances, feedback sessions, panel discussion, funding surgeries and networking opportunities. 

Each of the featured projects, the majority chosen from an open call, are brilliant examples of how new opera and music theatre is being created. They are multi-artform, cross-genre and immersive and show how their makers are telling engaging stories in insightful, collaborative, provocative ways that resonate with today’s audiences. 

The Various Stages Festival offers the chance to discover new work, a rare look inside the creative process and an opportunity to participate in conversations about the future direction of opera and music theatre. 

Showcase performances and critical feedback
Seven short work-in-progress showcases of boundary-pushing opera and music theatre give a unique insight into the creative process. Each project will receive a critical feedback session when attendees are invited to share their creative and practical experience to help shape this fledgling work for future audiences.

Round Table

From dream to reality: how can we help new opera and music theatre to thrive in theatres & opera houses?

Chaired by Rhian Hutchings, Creative Director of Operasonic
While opportunities to develop new work are relatively plentiful, there can be many barriers to making the transition from workshop space to venue stage. Let’s begin to drive change in our industry by coming up with some big ideas and realistic actions to help us take the first step towards turning our dreams into reality. 

Joining the panel are Martin Berry, Head of Participation Nottingham Playhouse & Various Stages Artistic Advisor Fay Jennett, Creative Producer, Opera & Music-theatre Snape Maltings; and Frederic Wake-Walker, Artistic Director of Mahogany Opera all with experience of making new work happen. 

Funding surgeries
Chloë Brookes, (Arts Council England, Relationship Manager, Music inc. Music Education Hubs) will run a series of 10-minute advice surgeries for artists and producers.

Drinks and networking
Join us in the bar afterwards to catch up with colleagues, make new contacts and discover potential collaborations. 

Who should attend? 
We’d love to hear a whole range of thoughts, opinions and perspectives and think the festival will be of most interest to:
• Makers of new opera and music theatre 
• Producers and venue programmers seeking to present exciting new work 
• Funders interested in helping to make new opera and music theatre happen 

When and where? 
Thursday 19 March, 2pm–7pm 

Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, London SW1Y 5AH
Nearest stations: Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus

£12.50 for the full afternoon. BOOK HERE >>>
Booking for the ACE advice surgeries will be on a first-come-first-served basis on the day.

The featured projects are: 

A place to fall to pieces
Isobel and Anna Hughes

Isobel and Anna Hughes combine music, storytelling and theatre with English folklore and the mythologies of their childhood in a lyrical exploration of displacement and belonging.

A Reasonable Adjustment
Toria Banks and Amble Skuse

Song, drama and electronic soundscape combine in this vivid representation of how the rich and nuanced life experiences of disabled people contrast with the cold absurdity of a callous bureaucracy.

A Rumi Passion
Rolf Hind

Drawing on the life and philosophy of Sufi poet and mystic, Rumi, this piece – a development from Rolf’s previous work with Mahogany, the meditation opera, Lost in Thought – might take the form of an epic parable or staged oratorio.

Wojciech Rusin

Renaissance-inspired music and poetry meets today’s technology in this immersive audio-visual work for choir and 3D-printed oboes, inspired by its creator’s vision for a post-nationalistic utopia.

The Passing of the Butterfly
Gwyneth Herbet & Ogutu Muraya

Gwyn and Ogutu are gathering stories from Kenya and exploring various forms of mythical storytelling in order to bring new perspectives on past events, particularly related to colonialism, that allow all sides ‘to look at the wound together’.

Hildegard: Visions
Nwando Ebizie

Voices, video, electronic soundscapes, sculptural light installations and ritual dances converge in this immersive opera imagining the life of Hildegard von Bingen through the prism of the composer’s own experience of the neurological disorder ‘visual snow’.

Peter Cant and Jessica Maryon Davies

In collaboration with Sam Kyslyi, Olesia Onykiienko, Danylo Shramenko, Mirra Zhuchkova
Created by British and Ukrainian artists and inspired by the true story of one of the actors, the performance considers the hooligan in all of us, expressed through a clash of vocal soundscapes and electronics.


United Kingdom
Institute of Contemporary Arts, 12 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AH