Seven Sacraments

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Performances 

Seven Sacraments performances took place at:

  • St. Bartholomew's Church, Brighton, 13 & 15 May 1998, as part of the Brighton Festival 
  • Southwell Minster, Nottinghamshire, 22 & 23 May 1998, with Nottinghamshire Stages 
  • Southwark Cathedral, London, 28, 29, & 30 May 1998

Image above: Seven Sacraments performance in 1998; photo by John Hayes

Production Credits

The Visitor Neil Barlett
The Witnesses Maxine Braham, Selena Gilbert, Wendy Houstoun, Jason Lewis, Ellis Linders, Bob Smith
The Soloists David Barrell, Emma Selway
The Orchestra The East of England Orchestra
The Conductor Nicholas Kok (except 23 May: Nicholas Bloomfield)

The Choir
Brighton The East Sussex Bach Choir
Southwell The Nottinghamshire Chorale
London The Thomas Tallis Choir

The Children's Chorus
Brighton Benfield County Junior & St. Bartholomew's Schools 
Southwell Lowe's Wong Junior School
London Local schoolchildren from the London Borough of Southwark

Production Manager David Scholefield
Company Stage Manager Maz Bryden
Deputy Stage Manager Patricia Swales
Production Assistant Susan Earl
Costume Maker Wendy Olver
Stage Building Sam Abelman & Matthew Button
Sound Design Richard Nowell Sound Systems
Production Administrator Mavis Seaman
Production Co-ordinator Tabitha Clayson
Production Accountant Carole Dale
Education/Admin Assistant Amanda Stuart 
Press Representatives Bolton & Quinn
Publicity Photography Mike Laye
Production Photography John Haynes
Education Programme Coordinator Becky Chapman
Music Associate Jon Owen
Writing Associate Kate Pullinger
Choreographic Associate Sian Stevenson

Community and Education Programme

At each of the venues where Seven Sacraments was performed a chorus was assembled of between sixty and one hundred 9-11 year old schoolchildren, drawn from up to six local schools. They played themselves in the piece and at each performance not only the children, but also what the children said was different. They brought their own energy and often spoke their own words in order to provide a 'child's eye view' of traditional ceremonies.

The Children's Chorus played a particularly central role in the first three Sacraments, Baptism, Confirmation and Marriage, and also in the last, Extreme Unction. These contributions developed from collaboration with a team of professional artists and were central to the meaning of the piece. The children and their teachers were introduced to the project through preparatory background notes and school visits. Their work then developed over several weeks through a programme of workshops and rehearsals run by three Education Associates.

Jon Owen: musician, singer, composer and workshop leader, most recent work-includes Musical Director on Treasure Island (Lyric Theatre Hammersmith) and Dick And His Dog (Cardboard Citizens) and has run participatory workshops for the Education Departments of Shared Experience and Lyric Theatre Hammersmith.

Kate Pullinger: writes fiction. Her most recent publications include a book of short stories, My Life As A Girl In A Mens Prison and a novel, The Last Time I Saw Jane both published by Phoenix House, Orion. A new novel, Weird Sister, will be published in 1999.

Sian Stevenson: choreographer, performer, director, artistic director of The Hairy Mary's, and has performed in several of their shows. Her recent choreographic work includes Her Sisters Tongue by Janet Goddard at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and La Calisto by Cavalli for The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. This Education Programme is led by Becky Chapman, a freelance education projects advisor and director, who works extensively in arts and education. She is Education Director for Shared Experience and recendy directed Forever and Ever, a new play for young people.

GLORIA is grateful to the children and their teachers for their commitment, energy and enthusiasm during the project. The Education and Community Programme has received funding from The Mackintosh Foundation, The Esmee Fairbairn Charitable Trust and The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation and is supported by The National Lottery through The Arts Council of England.

Benfield County Junior School: situated in Portslade and has a long tradition of participating in local musical festivals. Ann Gilham, the head of the school, was delighted to accept Gloria's invitation to include pupils from Benfield in the Oratorio. All the participating children were between the ages of nine and ten. They wanted to take part in this exciting project to enable them to enhance their understanding of musical composition and performance. The children were helped to prepare for the performances by their teachers, Stephanie Seddon and Alison Board. Benfield was proud of all the children's achievements and wanted to thank the parents for supporting this venture.

Lowe's Wong Anglican/Methodist Junior School is a large Junior School of nearly 400 children. It is one of the few Joint Controlled Anglican/Methodist Schools in the country and the children have strong links with The Minster and regularly take part in services there at Christmas, Easter and in July. The students taking part in the production were 9 - 10 years old and their studies in R.E., Music, Dance and English during the summer term supported their involvement in Seven Sacraments.

St. Bartholomew's C.E. Primary School, Brighton is a caring 'family' school with a long tradition of serving the people of central Brighton. It is attended by children from all parts of the town, who have a wide variety of social and cultural backgrounds. The school is closely linked with St. Bartholomew's Church which stands firmly and famously in the catholic tradition of the Church of England. There have always been close relations between the church and the school and the children participate in the weekly school mass. St. Bartholomew's School is a friendly, welcoming place where the children are encouraged to develop both academically and socially. Staff, pupils, parents and governors are keen to support local events such as the Brighton Festival and value the opportunities which they provide for the children.

Performers

Nicholas Kok: an organ scholar at New College, Oxford and continued his studies at the Royal College of Music where he won a Countess of Munster Award and the Lofthouse Memorial Prize. He has been Principal Conductor of the East of England Orchestra since May 1, 1996. He has conducted numerous operas at English National Opera, was on the ENO Music Staff from 1989 to 1993 and was Music Advisor to the Contemporary Opera Studio. He recendy conducted Country of the Blind and Twice Through The Heart for Contemporary Opera Studio, two works by Mark Anthony Turnage with performances at Snape Maltings, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, London and at ENO. He has worked at Almeida Opera, Scottish Opera and with Opera Factory in London and Zurich. Other ensembles he has worked with include many national and international orchestras, the BBC Singers and the Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre.

David Barrell: studied at London University, the Royal Academy of Music and won a scholarship to the Juilliard School, New York. He has worked with most of the major opera companies in Britain, making his Royal Opera House Covent Garden debut in their production of Palestrina at the Metropolitan Opera New York in summer 1997. Other work abroad includes singing the role of Thaos in Iphigenie en tauride in a production danced by the Pina Bausch Company from Wuppertal, which has performances planned in Tokyo, having already sung it in Rio de Janiero and Madrid, as well as the Edinburgh International Festival. His many and varied operatic roles performed in the UK range from Germont (La Traviata), Marcello (La Boheme), to Forester (Cunning Little Vixen), Balstrode (Peter Grimes) and he appeared in two ENO contemporary productions, as I (Schnittke's Life With An Idiot) and Major Haudy (Zimmermann's Die Soldaten). He appeared frequently in concerts with his repertoire including Elijah, Brahms' Requiem, Carmina Burana and Messiah. The last two works are also among his recordings.

Maxine Braham: trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance with additional studies at Amsterdam's Theatre School. Her performance credits include D.V.8., Second Stride, Rosemary Butcher, Random Dance Co., English National Opera, Royal Opera, English Bach Festival, Victoria Marks, Karen Greenhough, Angela Woodhouse, David Massingham and guesting with Adventures in Motion Pictures. As a choreographer and director she has made Wiseman, Fool & Slave (Purcell Room), Adrian Mitchell's Anniella's School of Flying, Open Day, Steve Martland's Remix (E.N.O Works), Il Campiello (GSMD), Dido & Aeneas (Opera Box), Little Boy Lost, Misper, Sondheim's Into The Woods, The Strangler (Martinu Festival, Barbican) and The Alternative Hairshow (Royal Albert Hall). Maxine taught on GSMD's opera course, E.N.O.'s The Knack, E.N.O.'s chorus and on the actors degree at Italia Conti.

Selena Gilbert was principal solist with ballet Rambert and London's Festival Ballet. She danced in Gene Kelly's Invitation to the Dance and played a Nun in Ken Russell's The Devils, and has had many cameo roles in films and TV. She has worked extensively as a dancer, actress and ballet mistress for all the major British Opera companies and appeared in Peter Sellar's Mathis de Marler, Royal Opera House and Oavid Levaux's Salome, English National Opera.

Wendy Houstoun: has performed and collaborated with many well known British artists including Rose English, Lumiere and Son, Nigel Charnock, Ludus Dance Co. and DV8 Physical Theatre with whom she last toured in 1997's Bound To Please. She toured a solo piece, Haunted, Daunted and Flaunted, both in England and abroad.

Jason Lewis: trained at the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, graduating with a BA (hons) . He made his debut with Adventures In Motion Picture's, Nutcracker. Jason has also performed with: Aletta Collins Dance Company, Che Gelida Manina, Bedlam Dance Company, Bread, Dance Theatre Red, Broth, Wafer Thin, Croma, Red Socks, ENO Works, The County of The Blind. TV and Film credits include: Alistair Fish, BBC Dance for Camera and The Man Who Knew Too Little (Warner Bros). Opera Credits include: Royal Opera House: Gulio Ceasar; ENO: Ariodante: WNO: Ariodante - working with Jane Gibson, Michael Kegan-Dolen and Lloyd Newson.

Ellis Linders: trained at Dartington College of Art before starting her professional career playing a slug. Since then she has been working as a performer, director, maker and project facilitator. In the past year she has played a clairvoyant in Hoodwink, directed Sympathetic Magic - the history of dance in an hour performed by Norma Cohen (Kings Head, Islington Dance Festival) a stint on Emmerdale Farm (Yorkshire T.Y.) and most recently worked on an adventure project in two London primary schools for Islington Green Community Arts. Future plans include clowning around with performer Les Bubb.

Emma Selway: studied at the Royal Academy of Music and the National Opera Studio. Operatic roles include Charlotte in the UK premiere of Zimmerman's Die Soldaten, Octavian and Kate Pinkerton (English National Opera), Dorabella (Opera North), Idamante (Opera Northern Ireland), Angelina La Cenerentola (Welsh National Opera/BP Opera Circuit), Cephisa Ermione (Glyndebourne Festival Opera), Anna Seven Deadly Sins (Batignano), and the title role in The Rape of Lucretia (Cambridge University Opera Society). Emma has an extensive oratorio repertoire including Messiah, J .5. Bach's Mass in B minor, Christmas Oratorio, Magnificat and St. Matthew Passion, Mozart's Requiem and Mass in c minor, Schubert's Mass in A flat, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle and Stabat Mater, Verdi's Requiem, and Elgar's The Music Makers and The Dream of Gerontius.

Bob Smith: was a dancer with ballet Rambert and London Contemporary Dance Theatre. He continues to work with various dance, theatre, opera, tv and film companies.

Music

The East Sussex Bath Choir: founded in 1986 by Roger Durston to perform in the East Sussex Bach Festival which he ran with Angela East in Alfriston. Under his inspired direction it gave many performances of Bach's major choral works including the B Minor Mass and a regular Good Friday performance of Bach's Passion, often with Neil Jenkins as the Evangelist. On Roger's departure to Wells Cathedral School the choir worked with John Moxon and Jonathan Grieves Smith before appointing John Hancorn as musical director. He has continued, together with the Sussex Baroque Players, the choir's involvement with the Baroque and early Classical repertoire. Autumn concerts will include Bach's Christmas Oratorio and a programme of A Capella music by Purcell and Bach, interspersed with contemporary items by Jonathan Harvey and Arvo Part.

The Nottinghamshire Chorale: the choirs core is provided by a combination of the Newstead Abbey Singers (NAS) and The Southwell Renaissance Singers (SRS). The remaining membership consists of an invited group of experienced choral singers from other parts of Nottinghamshire and the surrounding area. Nicholas Thorpe (NAS) and David Mclntosh (SRS) act jointly as Chorus Masters in bringing together the Chorale for this exciting opportunity to sing together.

Thomas Tallis Choir: with its Founder/Director and Principal conductor, Philip Simms, celebrates its 33rd season this year. The Choir continues to perform regularly in the Parish Church of St. Alfege, Greenwich, where Tallis worked and is buried, and the Greenwich Royal Naval College Chapel. On July 19, the closing night of the Greenwich Docklands Festival, TTS Choir and Orchestra, led by Simon Standage, perform Handel's Athalia in St Alfege Church at 6.30pm. On occasions, as for Seven Sacraments, TTS is joined by members of the Tallis Chamber Choir (TCC). TCC is one of the leading British choirs giving concerts at English and European festivals, at all London's major concert halls. This summer the choir takes part in festivals in Honiton, Greenwich and King's Lynn and abroad in Poland (Wroclaw and Krakow), Belgium and Portugal.

 

East of England Orchestra 

Violin 1: Briony Shaw, Colin Callow, Caroline Bromley, Julia Holloway
Violin 2: Mark Butler, Cathy Hart, Janet Hall, Elizabeth Porter
Viola: Danny Lyness, Isobel Adams, Neil Clarke
Cello: Deirdre Summerlin, Freddie Collarbone, Liz Holman
Double bass: Nicola Stables, Ken Knussen
Saxophone: Tim Holmes, Alistair Parnell
Trumpet: Gordon Truman, Alan Cramp
Trombone: Dave Holt, Richard Wall
Tuba: Mike Johnson
Percussion: Tony Lucas, John Bannister
Harp: Jane Lister

The East of England Orchestra is the professional chamber orchestra of the East Midlands and Eastern Regions. The Orchestra brings high quality orchestral performances and an integrated outreach programme to a range of diverse communities. The Orchestra is committed to performing a wide range of repertoire, from Bach to Birtwhisde in 1997 and has a strong commitment to new music. In October 1997 it received funding from the Arts Council of England to support its first Composer-in-Association, Adam Saunders. Outreach and education activities are also an important focus and recent projects include collaborations with Derby County Football Club, composer James MacMillan and choreographer Sasha Roubicek. Outstanding international artists who have performed with the Orchestra include Evelyn Glennie, Jean Rigby, Nicholas Kraemer, Robert Hardy, Toby Spence, John Wallace, Peter Sidhom, Philip Fowke and Peter Donohoe. In May 1996, Nicholas Kok joined the East of England Orchestra as Principal Conductor and Artistic Adviser. The Orchestra gratefully acknowledges the support of East Midlands Arts Board, Eastern Arts Board, Derby City Council, Eastern Orchestral Board and a number of Local Authorities throughout the region.