Tuesday 7 September 2021

Music Theatre Wales: New Directions

MTW - House of Jollof Opera - Tumi Williams & Sita Thomas 2021 Credit - Redbrck_6
MTW - House of Jollof Opera - Tumi Williams & Sita Thomas 2021 (Credit - Redbrck_6)

During September and October 2021, Music Theatre Wales, led by artistic associate Elayce Ismail and director Michael McCarthy, will be presenting three new works online. They have invited artists new to opera to create new opera for our times, and the three results are The House of Jollof Opera by Tumi Williams and Sita Thomas (launching 24/9/2021), Pride (A Lion's Roar) by Renell Shaw and Rachel Young (launching 8/10/21), and Somehow by Krystal S. Lowe and Jasmin Kent Rodgman (launching 22/10/21).

Writer, composer and performer Tumi Williams and multidisciplinary director and dramaturg Sita Thomas collaborated on The House of Jollof Opera, an exploration and expansion of the operatic form. The story is about budding chef Adeola who brings style and his speciality, vegan Jollof, to impress Asha, a tired and hard-working boss of a neighbourhood cafe (in fact, Tumi Williams is also a part-time chef and during lockdown he started his street food business Jollof House Party which serves vegan Nigerian food).

Pride (A Lion's Roar) is created by composer and music producer Renell Shaw and artist and writer Rachael Young, with visuals by Kyle Legall. The piece narrates the experience of prejudice that many people of colour have endured: of being told that you are ‘aggressive’ or ‘too loud’  because your metaphorical roars are unfamiliar in the environments that you have to operate within. Of being made to feel like you have to make yourself smaller to be accepted, turning your roar into a purr so that others don’t feel threatened.

Writer and dancer Krystal S. Lowe and composer Jasmin Kent Rodgman have created a work that draws on the theatre of opera, the emotion and expression of lieder and the innateness of dance. Somehow is an exploration of intimacy and relationships, not only between the music and movement, but between performer and audience, blurring the lines between onstage and onscreen.

Further details from the Music Theatre Wales website.

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