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Various Stages Festival 2017

A showcase of boundary-pushing new opera and music theatre taking place in London on Friday 24 February

Uncover new opera and music theatre in the third edition of our Various Stages Festival.

The festival is a showcase of musical and theatrical work in progress with performances, talks and critical feedback sessions. The programme features work from a range of artists and companies who are diverse in style. Each are in their own way creating new opera in new ways, echoing Mahogany’s mission to stretch what opera can be and who it is for.

This year, we have expanded the scope of the festival through an open call. From the submissions, we have selected four projects that will be workshopped and presented in the programme:

  • The Finding by Lucy Bradley, Richard Melkonian and Zoë Palmer, an exploration of suffering, loss and vulnerability through female voices across generations, drawing on magical realism and incorporating a choir of mothers and babies
  • In a Grove by Christopher Cerrone, Stephanie Fleischmann and Brian Mertes, an immersive opera inspired by a short story by Japanese author Ryūnosuke Akutagawa examining an incident of love torn by violence from multiple perspectives
  • Mưa (Rain) by Dai Fujikura and Dam Van Huynh, a movement opera using the ancient art of Vietnamese water puppetry to explore life experience
  • Palace of Junk by Metta Theatre (Oliver Brignall and Poppy Burton-Morgan), a multimedia retelling of the tragic tale of the Collyer brothers, an infamous pair of hoarders, and an exploration into hoarding disorder

Joining these projects are two further works developed in partnership with other companies:

  • Traffick by Nic Chalmers and Emma-Ruth Richards, a chamber opera that unravels the experience of young men and women who have been trapped by the terrifying underground world of human trafficking. Developed with the Royal Opera House.
  • Calamity/Billy by Théâtre de la Croix-Rousse, Gavin Bryars, Ben Johnston and Michael Ondaatje, a double portrait of two iconic wild west heroes Billy the Kid and Calamity Jane that shows a different and more intimate side to the characters.

The festival is drawn from our flagship research & development programme, Various Stages. In addition to presentations of work in creation, there will be chances to meet the artists and other creatives and feed into how works may further develop.

Festival Day

The festival is on Friday 24 February, 1pm–7pm at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, followed by a drinks reception. The programme includes showcases for all six projects in development as well as opportunities to network with other attendees.

Each showcase comprises of contextual information about the work, a short performance and a critical feedback session led by Richard Whitelaw (Sound and Music) to which attendees are invited to take part in as much or as little as they like. Each showcase will start promptly and the session will be closed once the presentation has started.

1pm Event opens, arrival with teas and coffees
(The ICA bar is open from 11am offering light lunches)
1.45pm Welcome
2pm Showcase 1 - The Finding
2.40pm Showcase 2 - Palace of Junk
3.20pm Showcase 3 - In a Grove
4pm Break, including speed networking
5pm Showcase 4 - Mưa (Rain)
5.40pm Showcase 5 - Traffick
6.20pm Showcase 6 - Calamity/Billy
(Video presentation followed by interview with Gavin Bryars)
6.55pm Closing remarks followed by drinks reception

Download the festival schedule


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


£10 for the full day including a drinks reception

Can’t make the whole day? We are offering a limited number of Showcase Seats for each showcase, giving the opportunity to see a single presentation. These tickets are Pay What You Like and will be available on the door, first come first served.


Various Stages is supported by PRS for Music Foundation (Talent Development Partnership) and Mahogany Opera Group's Director's Circle


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A showcase of boundary-pushing new opera and music theatre

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