At this year’s Two Moors Festival main two-week event in October, we’re putting on a performance of Benjamin Britten’s Noah’s Flood to celebrate the great composer’s centenary and we’ve been very busy over the last few months finding our performers from local schools in the south-west and doing lots of rehearsals.
We’ve just held rehearsals for the gossips at South Molton Community College, with director Thomas Guthrie taking the helm – the first time he’d met the four girls playing the roles and the only time he’ll get to work with them until three days before the show itself!
We joined in the rehearsals, which involved doing lots of trust-based exercises (where one person closed their eyes and were led around the room by their partner) and stumbling about pretending to be drunk – all intended to build up the youngsters’ confidence at being on stage… very important as the gossips are a particularly rowdy bunch!
From there, Thomas sat the four of them down and really got them to think about the characters they’re going to play, asking them to come up with names for them and lots of interesting adjectives with which to describe them. They then played a variation on the game of Consequences, each drawing part of their character’s body, folding the paper down and passing it onto the person next to them. Needless to say, lots of giggles ensued!
The performance is to form part of the festival’s 2013 theme of light. For those unfamiliar with the work, it was written as a community production and Britten always intended for it to be performed largely by amateurs – the audience (referred to by the composer as the congregation) are even invited to join in partway through.
We’re not the only ones to put on a production of Noah’s Flood in recognition of Britten – it was also put on in February of this year at Blackheath Halls in London with an orchestra and cast of local children, led by professional opera singers. In the Two Moors version, over 100 young people will be involved, singing and playing animals going into the ark two by two. Petroc Trelawny has been signed up to play God.
We’re very excited to be putting on this production in October and think it’s going to be one of the real highlights of the whole two weeks. We hope to see you there!
- Noye’s Fludde (gearslutz.com)
- Benjamin Britten is 98¾ (intermezzo.typepad.com)
- Classical Hour – Benjamin Britten centenary special (karldallasday.wordpress.com)