Wednesday 2 March 2022

Banished: Royal Birmingham Conservatoire performed Stephen McNeff's opera about female convicts bound for Australia

Stephen McNeff: Banished - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Stephen McNeff: Banished - Royal Birmingham Conservatoire

As part of its Spring season, the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is presenting Stephen McNeff's 2016 opera Banished (libretto by Olivia Fuchs) with some 100 students being involved in a production directed by Daisy Evans and conducted by Paul Wingfield. The opera was written for Trinity Laban [see my review] and looks at the real-life stories of female convicts bound for Tasmania in the 1850s. The work is being presented at the Engine Room Space in the Jewellery Quarter (2-5 March 2022), details from the website.

As the conservatoire's season continues through March, two plays further aspects of women's experience. A radical new version of Euripides The Women of Troy, directed by Niall Phillips, takes a proto-feminist perspective of the city’s captive women – the spoils of war. The juxtaposition of McNeff and Fuchs' transported female convicts and the Trojan women is a particularly intriguing one.

Whilst one of William Congreve's most successful comedies, Love for Love, will be performed by Royal Birmingham Conservatoire Theatre Company, directed by Nicolette Kay. Congreve pokes satirical fun at the tittle tattle, vanity, scandalous behaviour and extravagance of the fashionable set about town, with the production set in contemporary London.

Further details from the website.

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