Precipice

21 22 23 August
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Overview

Precipice

August | 21, 22, 23

Performance Times | 12pm, 1.30pm, 3.30pm and 5pm

Tickets | Adult – £50, Child* (11-17) £30

Public Booking | 4 August – 10am

 

*The nature of this event and social distancing rules make it unsuitable for children under 11

 

The following guidelines have been drawn up to reflect current circumstances and to protect you, our staff and the performers. Please help us by reading them.

 

A few weeks ago, we invited director Sinéad O’Neill to The Grange to create a promenade production especially for there and especially for now. 24 hours later Precipice was born, an outdoor immersive poetic sequence using the many and varied natural stages offered by the buildings at The Grange. It will last an hour, and  be presented to small guided audiences of up to 60 at a time.

We are proud to announce the performers who have all responded so quickly and so enthusiastically to be part of this unique project. One of the great singers of our time, Sir John Tomlinson, will sing a monologue of Hans Sachs, from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. Two winners of our international singing competition, Kiandra Howarth and Claire Barnett-Jones will sing the flower duet from Delibes’ Lakmé. We are privileged also to present the work of two leading choreographers:Shobana Jeyasingh will present a specially staged version of  the 14-18NOW co-commission ‘Contagion’ first seen in 2018 and performed by 4 members of Shobana Jeyasingh Dance.We have also commissioned the brilliant young South African dancer and choreographer Mthuthuzeli November of Ballet Black to create a new piece for the final scene of Precipice. Tonderai Monyevu will guide us through the scenes with spoken text.

Music Director John Andrews will co-ordinate members of The Grange Festival Chorus in performances of music by Francis Poulenc and Lili Boulanger. Further musical offerings come from Johann Sebastian Bach, John Tavener, Caroline Shaw, Peter Johnson and Graeme Miller. The full Precipice company also includes acrobats and performance artists. The journey which you will be asked to take is on many levels: physical, emotional and philosophical. It is a response to the extreme challenges of this very moment in all our lives but is ultimately a demonstration of the power of live music, dance, theatre and art as a source of meaning, hope and redemption.

Precipice is directed by Sinéad O’Neill and designed by Joanna Parker, both known to Grange Festival audiences.

Production Team
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Sinéad O'Neill

Director

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John Andrews

Music Director

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Joanna Parker

Designer

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John Leonard

Sound Design

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Shobana Jeyasingh

Choreographer

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Mthuthuzeli November

Choreographer

Critically-acclaimed director Sinéad O’Neill works internationally across opera and theatre disciplines, driven by a passion for fresh, direct storytelling. Her style is characterised by the poetry of body, voice and space, reflected in distinctive movement, striking imagery, and dynamic musicality. 

Sinéad’s background in music is present in all her work. Her first degree, in Music and French, is from University College Cork; she also holds a Masters in Musicology from University of Oxford and a PhD from Queen Mary University of London.

Sinéad’s portfolio ranges from co-creating original theatre to directing repertory opera. For Glyndebourne she has directed revivals of L’elisir d’amore and Il barbiere di Siviglia, the Glyndebourne Opera Cup, BBC Proms semi-stagings, 50th Anniversary Tour Concert, as well as assisting directors including Barrie Kosky, Annabel Arden, Stefan Herheim and Tom Cairns.

Sinéad has written and directed new works with composers Matt Rogers, Kate Whitley, and Kim Ashton. She founded Cambridge City Opera to create original music theatre for new audiences, with projects such as The Barrington Hippo and On the Axis of this World showcased at Cambridge Science Festival.

In rehearsal, Sinéad holds, translates and directs the energy of all those present, creating stagings that liberate the performer and give the audience a direct, intense theatrical experience. She enables her whole team, comprised of designers, performers and technicians to make committed theatre. 

Sinéad’s production of La Calisto was at Project Arts Centre, Dublin, in January 2020. 

John Andrews is Principal Guest Conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra, Conductor-in-Association with the English Symphony Orchestra and Principal Conductor of the International Composers’ Festival. Born in Nairobi and brought up in Manchester, he graduated from Cambridge University with a doctorate in music and history. 
 
With a special affinity for Italian bel canto and the English baroque, he has conducted over 40 operas with companies including Opera Holland Park, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, Opera de Baugé and the Volkstheater Rostock. An exponent of neglected English music he has appeared regularly at the English Music Festival presenting works from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.
 
His recordings include Incidental Music to The Tempest and Macbeth, the oratorio The Light of the World and comic opera Haddon Hall (Sir Arthur Sullivan) and The Mountebanks (Gilbert and Cellier) for Dutton Epoch with the BBC Concert Orchestra, Percy Sherwood’s Double Concerto and Sir Frederic Cowen’s 5thSymphony for EM Records, and Thomas Arne’s The Judgment of Paris for Dutton Vocalion.
 
In 2019/20 he conducts the Manchester Camerata at the Bridgewater Hall and the Brook Street Band at the London Handel Festival.  He also returns to English Touring Opera and Opera Holland Park, and will record with the BBC Concert Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Joanna designs sets and costumes for theatre, opera & dance. Based In London, she works nationally and internationally. Works have premiered in the UK, Europe and in the USA.

She is at home devising and collaborating from within a rehearsal context, working independently with a score/ text in the design studio, as well as within traditional design processes with a director.

Originally trained in Dance and Choreography at London Contemporary Dance School,  Joanna started her career as a movement director, choreographer and as a performance designer, having been awarded the Arts Council’s Dance Design Bursary. Her background lends itself to extending the boundaries of collaboration and developing original approaches to the dramaturgy of new and extant works.  In recent work, she has been in the rehearsal room developing movement material ( Turandot and Carmen ) as well as the designs. 

She also paints and works with video to create works that animate surfaces in a variety of performance contexts and/or sites.  Recent collaborations have seen the development of new approaches to filming paint to create video content. This material is projected onto surfaces that often themselves unstable and non-traditional as part of the overall dramaturgy. The work becomes a play between the image, the surface, the performer and the music. 

John Leonard started work in theatre sound 46 years ago, during which time he has provided soundtracks for theatres all over the world.. His most recent theatre includes: Song At Twilight, at Bath Theatre Royal & UK Tour, Eden at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs; Sleeping Beauty at The Theatre Royal, Stratford East; Corrido – A Ballad for The Brave at The Victoria & Albert Museum; Mood Music at The Old Vic; Long Day’s Journey Into Night at Bristol Old Vic, West-End, New York & Los Angeles; My Name Is Lucy Barton at The Bridge Theatre; Present Laughter and In Praise of Love at Bath Theatre Royal & Ustinov Studio & The Real Thing for Bath Theatre on Tour; The Stepmother at The Minerva Theatre, Chichester; The Retreat, Beirut and The Other Place at The Park Theatre; All Our Children, at the Jermyn Street Theatre; Duet For One, U.K. Tour; Consent, Waste, Detroit, Grief, Untold Stories-Cocktail Sticks, 2000 Years, England People Very Nice, Much Ado About Nothing, and London Assurance at the National Theatre; Macbeth at Shakespeare’s Globe; The Dark Earth and The Light Sky, The Master BuilderLittle Eyolf and Ghosts (also West End and New York) at the Almeida; Into The Woods at The Royal Exchange, Manchester; The BFG at Birmingham Rep; Birthday and Tribes at The Royal Court; Prism, Cell Mates, The Firm, Mother ChristmasStevie, Farewell To The Theatre, Lawrence After Arabia, Ken and Mr. Foote’s Other Leg (also West End) at Hampstead; Consent, Lady Windermere’s Fan, The Libertine, Dead Funny, Hand To God, The Duck House, Just Jim Dale, Firebird and McQueen (West End)

He has written an acclaimed guide to theatre sound, is the recipient of Drama Desk, LDI Sound Designer Of The Year and USITT Distinguished Career Awards and is a Fellow of The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, a Companion of The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and an Honorary Fellow of The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts

Shobana Jeyasingh is an internationally recognised choreographer who founded Shobana Jeyasingh Dance 30 years ago. She has created over 60 critically acclaimed works for diverse platforms including stage, screen and unconventional public spaces such as Palladian monasteries, fountain courtyards and city offices. Her work is noted for both its intellectual rigour and its visceral physicality.

Over the course of a distinguished career she has collaborated with scientists, gallery curators, composers, film makers, digital creatives as well as dancers and designers to make bold multi disciplinary work. Her work has toured extensively to Europe, USA, India and the Far East and is now part of the national curriculum in the UK. Her recent dance works Material Men redux (2017) and Contagion (2018) were both chosen to be in the top ten dance works of the year by UK broadsheets.

Born in Cape Town, South Africa, started dancing at the age of 15 with the outreach programme, Dance For All. In 2011 he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Cape Academy of Performing Arts (CAPA), where He graduated with a Distinction in 2014. Mthuthu won a gold medal in the Contemporary category in the South Africa International Ballet Competition as a Junior in 2012, and as a senior in 2014. He has worked with Cape Dance Company under the direction of Debbie Turner, with choreographers including Bradley Shelver and Christopher Huggins. Made his debut work in 2014 on Cape Dance Company junior company. In 2015 he travelled to the UK to perform with Central School of Ballet’s third year touring company, Ballet Central, performing all over the country. He danced in the production of West Side Story before joining Ballet Black as First Year Apprentice in September 2015 and was promoted to Junior Artist in 2016 where he created roles in Arthur Pita’s Cristaux and Christopher Hampson’s Storyville. He made his first ballet for Ballet Black, Interrupted in July 2016 and created his own choreographic platform, M22 Movement Lab, collaborating with musicians, composers and designers to create new choreography for stage and film. Mthuthu got an award as South Africa’s Emerging artist at the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees (KKNK) for his solo work. In 2017 he was a lead dancer in the revival of Martin Lawrance’s Captured, and created the role of The Wolf in Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa’s Red Riding Hood. In 2017, Mthuthu was commissioned by the Cape Dance Company to create a new work, funded by the National Arts Council of South Africa, which premiered at Artscape Theatre in Cape Town. In 2018, Mthuthu created a solo for Precious Adams of English National Ballet, for the Emerging Dancer competition. Has also worked on projects including The Chemical brothers and recently danced and choreographed for British artist Stormzy, headlining the 2019 Glastonbury Festival. In 2019 he was commissioned to make two new works for company Ballet Black, Washa – The burn from the inside and Ingoma which is still on its UK tour.

Cast
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Sir John Tomlinson

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Kiandra Howarth

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Claire Barnett-Jones

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Tonderai Munyevu

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Héloïse Werner

John Tomlinson was born in Lancashire. He gained a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at Manchester University before winning a scholarship to the Royal Manchester College of Music.  He was awarded a C.B.E. in 1997 and knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 2005. He was awarded the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Award for Singer in 1991, 1998 and 2007 and in 2014 their Gold Medal.

John Tomlinson’s engagements include performances at La Scala, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Geneva, Lisbon, Metropolitan Opera, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, Tokyo, Opera Australia, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin (Deutsche Oper and Deutsche Staatsoper), Dresden, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, Antwerp, and Bilbao and the Festivals of Bayreuth (where he sang for eighteen consecutive seasons), Orange, Aix-en-Provence, Salzburg, Edinburgh and the Maggio Musicale, Florence. He has sung regularly with English National Opera since 1974 and with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, since 1977 and has also appeared with all the other leading British opera companies.

London based Australian lyric soprano Kiandra Howarth is a former member of the Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the ROH. Performed and understudied roles there included Fiordiligi Così fan tutte, Gilda Rigoletto, Adina L’elisir d’amore, Juliette Roméo et Juliette, and Mimi La bohème. Kiandra was awarded the ‘Culturarte Prize’ in the 23rd Edition of Plácido Domingo’s Operalia and won the Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonynge Bel Canto award in 2019. Recent and future engagements include Fiordiligi (Northern Ireland Opera), Donna Anna Don Giovanni (Theater Basel, Opéra de Nancy and Opera de Luxembourg), 2nd flower maiden Parsifal (Berlin Philharmonic / Sir Simon Rattle), Lauretta Gianni Schicchi (Western Australian Opera), Konstanze Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Grange Festival), First Lady Die Zauberflöte (Covent Garden) and Pamina (Teatro dell’Opera, Rome) as well as her Wigmore Hall début for the Samling Artist ‘s 20th Anniversary Concert.

Mezzo Soprano Claire Barnett-Jones is an English National Opera Harewood Artist. In the 2019/20 season, operatic engagements include Fricka and Wellgunde in Das Rheingold for Grimeborn Festival and her English National Opera debut as Eurydice Myth/Persephone in Birtwistle The Mask of Orpheus. She also makes her Concertgebouw debut under the baton of Sir John Eliot Gardiner in Schumann Szenen aus Goethes Faust. Barnett-Jones was awarded the Lilian Baylis Award for Outstanding Potential in the Field of Opera by English National Opera in recognition of her exceptional stage debut in 2019.

Tonderai is an actor, writer and director for theatre, screen and radio. Born in Zimbabwe and raised in London.

As well as comedy and drama he has also written prose (fiction and non—fiction) including the short stories Bullets (Black and Gay In The UK Anthology, Team Angelica Publishers) and A Dispatch From Zimbabwe: The Visiting Hours for The Johannesburg Book Of Reviews.

He is a founding member and co-artistic director of the international Shakespearean troupe Two Gents Productions renowned for their mix of new writing and classical adaptations including the acclaimed Two Gentlemen of Verona, Kupenga Kwa HamletMagesti and The Importance of Being Earnest.

His latest play Mugabe, My Dad and Me was shortlisted for The Alfred Fagon Award 2019 and will premiere at York Theatre Royal in a collaboration with English Touring Theatre.

Recipient of the Michael Cuddigan Trust Award 2018, Linda Hirst Contemporary Vocal Prize 2017 and a Leeds Lieder Young Artist 2018, French-born and London-based soprano and composer Héloïse Werner was one of the four shortlisted nominees in the Young Artist category of the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2017 presented in association with BBC Radio 3.

In April 2019, Héloïse performed her solo opera The Other Side of the Sea at Kings Place as part of their Venus Unwrapped series  (“you can’t help but be dazzled by it” **** The Times).  Written in collaboration with poet Octavia Bright, director Emily Burns and visual artist Jessie Rodger, the opera explores language and identity. It was first premiered in London & Aldeburgh in 2018, with generous support from The Michael Cuddigan Trust, and developed in 2017 during a Snape Maltings residency under the mentorship of Zoë Martlew. In 2016, Héloïse starred in Jonathan Woolgar’s acclaimed one-woman opera Scenes from the End at London’s Tristan Bates Theatre, following on from successful runs at the Camden and Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. She performed extracts from both The Other Side of the Sea and Scenes from the End live on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune. Extracts from The Other Side of the Sea were also broadcast on BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and This Classical Life.

Héloïse is soprano and co-director for contemporary quartet The Hermes Experiment (soprano, clarinet, harp and double bass). They were shortlisted for the RPS Awards 2019 in the Young Artists cateory, winners of the Royal Over-Seas League Mixed Ensemble Competition 2019, Making Music Selected Artists 2019/20, ClassicalNEXT Showcase Artists 2019, winners of the Tunnell Trust Awards 2017, the Nonclassical’s Battle of the Bands 2014, and Park Lane Group Young Artists 2015-16. Capitalising on their deliberately idiosyncratic combination of instruments, the ensemble regularly commissions new works (over 50 to date), as well as creating their own innovative arrangements and venturing into live free improvisation. Their debut album is out now on Delphian Records. They receive support from Arts Council England, the RVW Trust, PRS for Music Foundation, Britten-Pears Foundation, Hinrichsen Foundation, Help Musicians UK, Nicholas Boas Charitable Trust, Future of Russia Foundation and Oleg Prokofiev Foundation. “The performance was meticulously nuanced, witty and chic.” The Times.

In 2019/20, Héloïse premieres and tours her new work for soprano & piano with Natalie Burch, sitting alongside Britten’s Les Illuminations and a new commission by Jonathan Woolgar. The project is generously supported by Wild Plum Arts, Britten-Pears Foundation and Hinrichsen Foundation. Upcoming 2019/20 highlights also include the premiere of a new song cycle for soprano and string quartet, written for her and the Tippett Quartet by composer Freya Waley-Cohen. In 2018/19, Héloïse performed in Macbeth at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, singing music by Laura Moody. She was one of the artists for the RPS-winning “Schumann Street” produced by Spitalfields Festival 2017, and appeared at the 2016 BBC Proms as one of the two singers performing in Steve Reich’s Music for large ensemble with the Multi-Story Orchestra.

Héloïse has written for musicians including mezzo-soprano Marielou Jacquard, pianist Kunal Lahiry, violinist Fenella Humphreys and mezzo-soprano Helen Charlston. Her upcoming commissions include a new song cycle for mezzo-soprano Grace Durham and a new work for Miller-Porfiris Duo, commissioned by Spitalfields Music Festival.  A selected list of her works is available here.

Héloïse was born in Paris and was a member of the ‘Maîtrise de Radio France’ for six years. At the same time, she studied the cello at the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel with Valérie Aimard. She then read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where she was a choral scholar. At Cambridge, she studied composition with Giles Swayne and won the 2011 Clare College Carol Competition. In 2009, she was awarded the ‘Creation Prize’ from the Conservatoire Maurice Ravel for her songs for piano and voice, which she performed as part of her cello final diploma. She completed her vocal studies with Alison Wells and coach Anna Tilbrook on the MMus course at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance as a Linda Pilgrim Charitable Trust Scholar, where she was a finalist in the Soloists’ & Roy Pleasance Competitions. She was a Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award holder and has appeared in masterclasses with Barbara Hannigan, Sir Thomas Allen, John Mark Ainsley and Eugene Asti.

Héloïse is also a founding member (vocals/cello) of five-piece folk band The Coach House Company who have released two original EP discs: The Coach House Company (2014) and Maiden Tales (2016), and a founding member of vocal ensemble SHARDS, whose debut album is out now on Erased Tapes, and who also feature on Nils Frahm’s latest album All Melody.