Who we are
OperaUpClose is an ambitious, inclusive, award-winning opera company. Now in our eleventh year, we continue to develop a distinct and essential stream of work, producing newly orchestrated, innovatively staged, accessible and affordable English re-imaginings of well-known classics, as well as premieres of new operas.
What we're doing
We're creating an online seasonal show for 7-10-year-olds and their schools and families, which will be available this December. Sammy & the Beanstalk is a new play-with-arias, written by OperaUpClose’s Artistic Director Robin Norton-Hale and composed by Rosabella Gregory.
This is a fun, spooky and contemporary Christmas story, told from the perspective of 8-year-old Sammy. It’s a story about bravery and kindness, which also tackles isolation and mental health issues. This is our creative response to the current restrictions and is intended for families and classes to watch together, replacing a Christmas theatre/panto trip.
Sammy & the Beanstalk follows on from our hugely successful new opera for 3-5-year-olds, based on Jill Murphy’s Peace At Last, which toured to over 70 schools and theatres across the UK in 2019. The performance is a co-production with Belgrade Theatre Coventry, who are providing a venue for technical rehearsals and filming.
Tickets to watch this performance will be £5 and it will be free to access for schools and those on low incomes.
Sammy lives with her parents at the top of a very tall house, overlooking a city. Sammy’s mum’s work as a carer means that she is away a lot, and Sammy and her dad are looking forward to Mum coming home for Christmas. As the story unfolds, Sammy’s dad becomes increasingly depressed. Dad’s fear of the outside world starts to take shape in unsettling, fairy-tale ways as Sammy watches, with brambles and vines creeping up the walls of their house and tapping at the windows to get in. Although Sammy too, is scared, when a bird becomes trapped in her bedroom Sammy flings open the window to free it. This act of kindness and bravery releases Dad from his illness, with a little help from the magic vine.
We will be drawing inspiration from classic winter tales, both cosy and gothic, as well as opera, theatre and film to create a thrilling story-telling experience, in a wonderfully intimate setting.
Why we need your help
Over the past six months, all live performances have been cancelled and performers have had little or no work. Many seasonal/Christmas shows, including pantos and performances in schools, have already been cancelled or are unlikely to go ahead this year.
Experiencing music and theatre has proven benefits for children’s emotional well-being and cognitive development, and Christmas shows are often their first experience of live, professional performance. We don’t want children, schools and families to miss out on experiencing magical, musical story-telling together this year.
This project enables us to employ brilliant artists to create a new piece of theatre-opera which will bring people together, at home or in the classroom, during a time when this has felt impossible.
We want to ensure everyone can enjoy this performance, whatever their financial circumstances. We are running this fundraiser so we can provide links to watch Sammy and the Beanstalk for schools, community groups and low-income families.