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Image: Still Moving Media

Across The Sky

This brand-new work is the culmination of a five-year community project in and around Hester’s Way. The story, the songs and the music have all been co-created by children and young people in local schools and newly formed community choir Local Vocals. They will all help bring the story to life in the two performances on Sunday 14 July alongside the Inspire orchestra and an amazing team of soloists, including Sarah Connolly.

We’re so excited about the collaboration for the end of the Music Festival this year. Best thing that’s happened in our area for a very long while.

Local Vocals member

October – April 2018

We sat down with Cheltenham Music Festival’s Community Opera Project Manager Philippa Claridge, Project Co-ordinator Shirley Halse, community choir Local Vocals, students and teachers to discuss the story so far.

The local community is working with author and scriptwriter Miranda Walker to create the libretto and title for the opera. Miranda and pupils in three local schools are creating the story in weekly creative writing workshops, with input from adults in the specially-formed community choir.

Composer Michael Betteridge, who previously worked with members of the community on Cheltenham Festivals’ Going for a Song project, has been welcomed back with great enthusiasm.

Here’s a taster of what we’ve worked on so far…

As people of all ages come together to write, compose and perform their own opera, they will make new friends, learn new skills, and challenge some pre-conceived ideas about this part of town.

Philippa Claridge, Education Manager

The Community Opera has been awarded funding from the National Lottery and the Foyle Foundation

The creative team is made up of: Composer and Musical Director Michael Betteridge, Librettist Miranda Walker, Director Bryn Holding, Conductor Glyn Oxley, Soloist and Singing Workshop Leader Gina Baker, and is coordinated by Cheltenham Festivals staff Philippa Claridge and Shirley Halse.