Bloom Britannia - past, present and future


IT all began with a town

Barefoot Opera's new 'people's opera' began development in 2018, with a multi-faceted research and development project, involving 'talking' and 'singing' workshops in the towns of Hastings, St. Leonards and Bexhill. The creative team met hundreds of people, gaining a fascinating perspective on what it means to live in a town on the South Coast today, meeting and talking with people across the generations and a diverse range of backgrounds. People learned how to write songs, improvise and sing together. They wrote songs inspired by stories in the local newspaper, brought along objects and photographs that told their own story, and sat in cafés talking about life on the South Coast.


the inspiration for bloom britannia

All this proved a huge source of inspiration for the writing of the opera, led by composer Orlando Gough and lyricist Stephen Plaice. With so many of the social, political and cultural issues of our times coming to light in the towns on the coast, perhaps the opera would reflect not only the life in the towns of the South Coast, but the whole nation.

What began life loosely as ‘A TOWN’ has now evolved into something more dynamic: ’BLOOM BRITANNIA’. Casting a sharp yet humane eye on Britain today, Bloom Britannia centres on a fictional regeneration competition on the South Coast, specifically on the day the winning town is to be decided.


funding and next steps

Thanks to the continued support from Arts Council England, the success of a Kickstarter campaign, support from the Fairlight Arts Trust and Barefoot Wines and Bubbly, the project now enters its second phase this Spring! We are starting with a call out to the people of Hastings, St. Leonards and Bexhill, inviting people to be part of the chorus, sing a solo part, or come and experience a continuous improvisation. The composer and lyricist have been busy writing an extract of the opera to be performed in front of an invited audience at the De La Warr Pavilion in late April. (We plan for the full finished opera to be performed in 2020).