Constella OperaBallet seeks to empower the performing arts for social good. Rather than running outreach programmes distinct from our professional performances, we look to embed community participation in the conception, delivery and performance of our productions.
The Canary Boys
Significantly, our outreach includes The Canary Boys, a national cross-generational programme bringing together retired miners and young people to collect and showcase coal mining heritage. In collaboration with the National Coal Mining Museum for England and Betteshanger Mining Heritage, Constella engaged communities in Kent, Barnsley, Manchester and Wakefield. The creative work generated and explored by the participants was fed into the professional production The Canary Boys.
Spin a Tale
Constella OperaBallet have worked in partnership with Derbyshire’s Darley Abbey to bring its heritage to life through a series of seven short films with newly commissioned dance, music and drama, as well as giant decorated bobbins,
and threads of bunting, all created in collaboration with the local community.
Click on the image to watch a film. For details on the artists and production to individual pieces our portfolio.
Reflecting the former cotton industry in Darley Abbey, strings of fabric are tied to the body illustrating how we cannot fully be separated from the history in which we live.
In this original piece, three of Constella's performers showcase the architectural history of Darley Abbey, focusing on the houses of Brick Row, which were built to attract workers away from the industrial hub of Derby and into the new industry of Darley Abbey.
Inspired by the Darley Pageant by Wendy Bitton, this new opera-ballet pays homage to the unceasing energy of the River Derwent that gave power to the former cotton industry in Darley Abbey.
DARLEY ABBEY AND ME
With lyrics written in collaboration with residents of Darley Abbey, this new song celebrates the village's history, culture and people.
HANGING BY A THREAD, BILLOWING THROUGH A SPACE University of Derby students explore the use of fabric within the park of Darley Abbey. The sense of disconnect that we have endured during the pandemic is portrayed through a longing connection with fabric.
Uniquely, the Evans family, owners of Darley Abbey’s cotton mill created a micro-welfare state which included the provision of gravestones for workers and children who sadly passed away very young. We pay our respects in this recording of the Intriot from Faure's Requiem.
Recorded during lockdown dancers from Déda Youth Company perform their own choreography that reflects and comments on the evolutionary cycles of humankind.
GIANT BOBBINS AND THREADS OF BUNTING
Oversized Bobbin installations and over 800 bunting flags made by the local community responding to the themes of Spin A Tale will be installed in the village from 8th to the 23rd May 2021.