a new music project that tells the story of our lives on the South Coast here and now. FREE OPEN-TO-ALL WORkshops taking place in march/april 2018. 

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Barefoot Opera are developing a pioneering new music project about a fictional town on the South Coast. Working with a team of leading musicians, composers and writers, we're looking for people in the Hastings and Rother area who want to take part in the first stage of the project.

We’re holding more than 25 workshops with a wide range of local groups, choirs and other organisations, as well as FREE, OPEN-TO-ALL workshops – some focussed on singing, others on discussion and points-of-view, as well as many informal pop-up discussions in pubs and other locations in Hastings and Bexhill, with all kinds of people - dog-walkers, taxi-drivers and hairdressers, to name but a few!

See below to find out more about how to take part in this exciting new project, to find out how to reserve your place in a workshop, or to find out more about the workshops taking place with local groups.

Join our Facebook group to keep in touch, share photos and videos, and find out more about the pop-up sessions taking place near you.


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Supported by The Magdalen and Lasher Charity, The Chalk Cliff Trust, a Comic Relief Community Grant and Sussex Community Trust.

SINGING TOWN: Vocal Workshops

Take part in A TOWN by joining one of our free, open-to-all vocal workshops, either in Hastings or Bexhill. We will free our voices and breath Barefoot Opera style, so if you are interested in our training methods you will enjoy this! We will also explore how we can tell stories more effectively with song, finding musical ways of describing life in A TOWN.


Saturday 31st March, Saturday 7th April, Saturday 14th April and Saturday 21st April

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

The Music Room, 6 The Uplands, St. Leonards-on-sea, East Sussex, TN38 0HL

Parking: On-street parking on Maze Hill and surrounding streets.


Saturday 7th April

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

De La Warr Pavilion Studio, Marina, Bexhill-on-sea, East Sussex, TN40 1DP (Please check website for directions and disability access etc. www.dlwp.com)

**ALL PLACES ARE FREE BUT MUST BE BOOKED ONLINE HERE: http://www.barefootopera.com/tickets/a-town-singing-workshops

Preparation Please wear comfortable, loose clothing you can move around in, flat rubber based shoes (or if you are happy in socks or barefoot, even better!). If you want, you can bring along any particular stories or observations, anything that brings to life what living in a town on the South Coast today means to you – for instance, examples of intriguing characters you see around your town but don’t know, something you have seen or witnessed, or a converstation overheard. Think about your favourite places, shops, or pubs, memories of a great day or even a terrible day spent in your town. Or you might bring along an object, a photograph or a story cut out from a local paper that strikes a chord, or reminds you of something important in the past.

TALKING TOWN: Discussion Workshops

We’re interested in finding out more about what it's like to live, work and play in a coastal town today. Come along and talk about life in your town today...the good, the bad and the ugly! If you’d like to be involved with A Town, but are not particularly interested in singing, join one one of these free, open-to-all discussion workshops, either in Hastings or Bexhill.


Sunday 1st April, Sunday 8th April, Sunday 15th April.

10.30AM – 12.OO PM

Grand Rue de Pera cafe, Queen's Road, Hastings, TN34 1RL. (On street parking, or if you are also popping into Morrison's to do a little shopping you can park there free for 2 hours.)


Sunday 15th April

2:00 PM - 4:OO PM

De La Warr Pavilion Studio, Bexhill-on-sea, East Sussex, TN40 1DP (Please check website for directions/disability access etc. www.dlwp.com)




There's no real preparation needed - just come along for a chat! However, you might want to think about any particular stories or observations, anything that brings to life what living in a town on the South Coast today means to you – for instance, examples of intriguing characters you see around your town but don’t know, something you have seen or witnessed, or a converstation overheard. You might just want to talk about your favourite places, shops, or pubs, memories of a great day or even a terrible day spent in your town. Or you might bring along an object, a photograph or a story cut out from a local paper that strikes a chord, or reminds you of something important in the past.

Groups and organisations taking part in the project.



Sound Waves is a large, friendly community choir based in Hastings.

A TOWN workshops taking place on Wednesday 4th, 11th and 18th April from 7.30-9.30 PM.







The Links

Workshops taking place 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th April at Concordia Hall.


Hastings Calling is a new vocal group run by musician and composer Otti Albietz.

A TOWN workshops are taking place 8th and 15th April from 4.30-6.30Pm.


The Eggtooth Project develops safe, fun and challenging complementary educational programmes for young people, often those who are over-looked.

A TOWN workshops taking place on 7th, 14th April from 11am-3PM. Further workshops TBA.







The Seaview Project is a help and information centre offering help and inspiration for people on society's margins.

Workshops taking place 13th and 20th April from 10.30AM-12.30PM.



Hastings Youth Choir are working on A TOWN on Saturday 21st April from 10AM-12AM


A weekly lunch and entertainment club for seniors in the Hastings and Ore area.

A TOWN workshop taking place 19th April from 11:00AM - 12:15PM




SUNDAY 22nd April, 2-5PM at The De La Warr Pavilion

Following the workshops, everyone who has taken part will be invited to a big get-together, when we can meet, share stories and music.

WHEN The doors will be open at 2 and we will begin at 2.30PM.

PLEASE NOTE We will be documenting this event with video and photography.


Tessa Sambrook

Tessa owns Omega Studios, an unusual gallery-shop that combines both contemporary and mid-century jewellery, art, glass, ceramics, wood and furniture for those with a discerning eye and a love of things that have a good design ethic. Set on the seafront in St. Leonards on Sea. A long-term friend and supporter of Barefoot Opera, Tessa will be acting as an ambassador for the A TOWN project. http://omegastudio.co.uk/


Tim Barton

Tim runs Bookbuster at 39 Queen's Road, Hastings, a wonderful shop that occupies the former site of the now-gone-bust Blockbuster, with an extensive and eclectic range of books for all ages, and a calendar of author signings, poetry slams and other events. Tim will be talking about the A TOWN project to all his customers! http://hastingsonlinetimes.co.uk/hot-topics/campaigns/local-independent-bookshop-needs-support

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Orlando Gough

Orlando Gough is a composer, lyricist, librettist, music director, MC, and recording engineer, who writes operas, choral music, music for dance and theatre, and creates large-scale site-specific work. He has collaborated with artists from many genres (including dancer/choreographer Siobhan Davies, poet Carol Ann Duffy, composer/conductor Richard Chew), and worked with Barefoot Opera on 'CLASH!'. Orlando has involved a diverse range of participants in music pieces including young people, stroke victims, and the lead singers of grindcore bands. For A TOWN, he will facilitate discussion in the 'talking' workshops, and develop music compositions in the 'singing workshops'. Orlando will compose a few songs, based on the histories and discussions coming out of the initial workshops, which will give participants a sense of the opera to come. Orlando will also mentor young Hastings-based Composer/Choir Director, Otti Albietz.

Stephen Plaice

Stephen has written for film, TV and theatre, and in recent years, has become increasingly in demand as an opera librettist, working with many leading contemporary composers including Harrison Birtwistle, Richard Taylor, Michael Zev Gordon, Joseph Phibbs as well as Orlando Gough. For A TOWN, Stephen will facilitate discussion/theatre in the story-gathering workshops, and then produce some theatrical sketches for a future opera. Stephen's experience of opera education, working with children and communities, Writer-in-Residence at Lewes Prison, and Glyndebourne operas written for young people (described by The Times, as 'virtually redefining the genre') will guide Barefoot Opera towards a collaboration that maintains artistic excellence, but genuinely involves and engages the communities of Hastings and Rother.

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Polly Graham

Polly was a co-founder of Barefoot Opera, so has a deep understanding of our vision for 'A TOWN'. She will fuse this with her own experience of directing exciting and engaging opera, her credits including Welsh National Opera, (Le Vin Herbé, Kommilitonen) and Independent Opera at Sadlers Wells, (Simplicus Simplicimus). She was chosen by The Guardian for their list, '20 Talents to Watch in 2017'. Polly has great experience of running workshops across communities, and making opera accessible for young people. For A TOWN, Polly will attend a selection of the workshops, and will also facilitate discussion in story-gathering sessions, as well as help dramatise those stories.

Jenny Miller

A singer of national standing for 20 years, Jenny moved on in her career to directing opera, teaching classical singing, and creating a methodology for freeing body, breath and voice that is platformed in her company Barefoot Opera. She has led hundreds of workshops for all comers, from highly trained classical professionals, to school children and community choirs. She started the choir now flourishing in the SeaView Centre in Hastings and she will be facilitating the open-to-all sessions for this project at her home in St. Leonards-on-sea.


Otti Albietz

Otti creates image-laden songs with an intuitive sensitivity, oscillating between intense realism and fantastical dreams. His self-produced debut album ‘One’ was released on ‘Big Village Records’ in January 2011, and toured through central Europe in August 2011, visiting Basel, Hamburg and Mullhouse. ‘Bubbytone II’, is Otti Albietz’s second album, and his debut with label BBE. Otti's composition for CLASH! was a highlight of the event. Orlando Gough will be his mentor on this project, overseeing Otti's work as he helps facilitate composition in our groups.


Chiara Vinci

Originally trained as a Rambert dancer, in 2017 French-Italian soprano Chiara Vinci was shortlisted by the Wales Theatre Awards in the category for Best Female Opera Singer for her role in Polly Graham's production of 'Kommilitonen!' with WNYO, toured with Pop-up Opera as the lead in Cimarosa's Il Matrimonio Segreto, and sang and danced the role of Hestor Santlow in 'The Loves of Mars and Venus' (currently touring). Chiara is a well-known performer in Hastings where she now lives, and has worked with Barefoot Opera for many years. She will be assisting on Vocal Workshops for A TOWN.


Brigitte Aphrodite

Brigitte Aphrodite is a Punk Poet, Musician, Writer, Theatre Maker and Feminist Showgirl. She also is the writer and performer of ‘My Beautiful Black Dog’ an original musical on depression. Brigitte runs creativity and mental health workshop in schools across the UK and will be collaborating with Sally Greig, (Eggtooth) on our youth workshops for A TOWN.


Lucy Mulgan

Lucy Mulgan is a professional composer and bass player. Her music reflects a wide range of styles and her compositions range from full orchestral soundscapes through to funky jazz songs. Lucy has been a member of the Barefoot Opera team for several years and will be familiar to audiences in Hastings as our bassist. She will be helping facilitate music making and story telling workshops for A TOWN.