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Bessie's Wings

An opera devised with children in Lambeth, about the first African American female pilot.

Composer  
Llywelyn ap Myrddin
Director 
Tim Yealland
Designer 
Catherine Ryan

Bessie’s Wings is a new opera devised with nearly 100 children from primary schools in Lambeth, including Vauxhall, Ashmole and St Mark’s schools. Working with a team from ETO the opera will be performed at Morley College on the 22nd and 23rd June 2017. Bessie is played by soprano Abigail Kelly. A jazz ensemble will create the musical world of the show.

Bessie Coleman is a figure of huge significance in African American history. Born into poverty in Texas at the end of the 19th century she became the first black woman to gain a pilot’s license, having travelled to France for flying lessons when she was denied opportunities in the US because of her gender and colour. She went on to become a celebrity, thrilling crowds with her aerobatic displays. These stunts eventually led to her untimely death.

Our opera, devised over a series of workshops from March to June, looks not just at the circumstances of her life, but also at the segregated conditions African Americans endured in the American South at the beginning of the last century.

Accompanying the opera is a hugely ambitious art project, involving a large number of Lambeth schools, and leading to a travelling exhibition. The project is also a collaboration with the Norwich and Norfolk Festival Bridge, involving selected schools in the area.

To book your tickets call 0207 735 4535 or email the Lambeth Teaching Schools’ Alliance”:mailto:admin@ltsa.org.uk .

Free Art Exhibition
Ovalhouse Cafe, 52 – 54 Kennington Oval, London SE11 5SW
2nd – 23rd June

Showing At

  1. Morley College, Lambeth
    22nd Jun 2017 - 6:00 pm
  2. Morley College, Lambeth
    23rd Jun 2017 - 2:00 pm
  3. Morley College, Lambeth
    23rd Jun 2017 - 7:00 pm
  1. Morley College, Lambeth — 22nd Jun 2017 - 6:00 pm

    61 Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7HT

  2. Morley College, Lambeth — 23rd Jun 2017 - 2:00 pm

    61 Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7HT

  3. Morley College, Lambeth — 23rd Jun 2017 - 7:00 pm

    61 Westminster Bridge Rd, SE1 7HT

Llywelyn ap Myrddin

Llywelyn ap Myrddin

Composer

Tim Yealland

Tim Yealland

Director

Tim read English at Cambridge, then studied singing at the Guildhall and the Munich Hochschule . His performing career included roles in opera and theatre, including work for Opera Factory, Opera 80, ENO, ROH, Opera North and Chichester Festival. His passion for education has led him to devise and direct projects for all the main opera companies, and many others here and abroad. He has led the education work at ETO since 2003, bringing a particular commitment to integrating special and mainstream schools. He has created 3 community operas for ETO: One Breath (Sheffield), A House on the Moon (Wolverhampton) and One Day Two Dawns (Cornwall). He has also written the libretti for several operas for young people, including Voithia and In the Belly of the Horse.

Catherine Ryan

Catherine Ryan

Designer

Cast

Abigail Kelly

Abigail Kelly

Bessie Coleman

Having initially trained at Birmingham Conservatoire, Abigail completed her operatic studies at the RCS. Performances with ETO include Naiad Rusalka, Cobweb A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Despina Cosi fan tutte. As a recitalist Abigail has performed with Opera South Africa and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra as well as solo recitals at St John Smith Square and across the Caribbean. Abigail’s work includes roles in many children’s operas including the award winning Laika the Spacedog. Abigail is grateful to the Peter Moores Foundation, English Touring Opera and Chris Ball for bursaries to further her professional development.

Showing At

  1. Morley College, Lambeth
    22nd Jun 2017 - 6:00 pm
  2. Morley College, Lambeth
    23rd Jun 2017 - 2:00 pm
  3. Morley College, Lambeth
    23rd Jun 2017 - 7:00 pm

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