Writing

Directing

Writing

"A very serious attempt to conquer the comic opera genre." 

- The Wee Review,

The Perfect Opera

I started writing sketch comedy at university, quickly moving into writing opera libretti, plays, and other things. My writing has been performed in the UK, Germany, Canada, and the USA, with subjects ranging from environmental catastrophe to abstract electronic texts to Macbeth's affair with a pantomime camel. I have also translated operas from German, Italian, and Icelandic.

My work has been nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, and shortlisted for the Karl Kraus Award and the London Student Drama Festival.

Writing C.V. 2018-2019

Erika Gundesen (Conductor, The Perfect O

What’s my process like?

I spend a long time finding the best form to explore the piece’s core ideas. I believe that a work's subject matter isn’t just explored through the events onstage, but how those events are presented. A piece about the countryside shouldn’t have the same sense of time as a play about the city, and a piece about the internet shouldn’t only show the meatspace material world. An opera should always have a clear answer to "Why are they singing? Why is this an opera, not a play or novel?"

 

It turns out that most things about theatre are choices - people can play multiple characters, or speak an imaginary language, or not talk at all. Given infinite freedom, asking ‘what’s this actually about?’ is my favourite way to narrow those infinite choices down to something manageable and fun.

This means I have to find a unique style for each work, to suit the answer to that question. From there, I can build a world. It also means I spend a lot of time talking to the composer, making sure that my words will fit their musical style and vice-versa.

 

In short, my process is teamwork, philosophy, plus ‘this bit sounds beautiful; I don’t know why’.

Writing Portfolio 2018-2019

"Fresh... unlocked the mysteries"

- The Guardian,

The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken

“Extraordinarily well done”

- Saarbrücker Zeitung,

At The Break Of Dawn

“A wonderful creative exploration”

- Audience Feedback,

A Speaks

“Opens one’s horizons”

- Neue Westfälische,

At The Break Of Dawn

2020

We Sing:I Sang Tete a Tete Image.jpeg
We Sing, I Sang (2020)

A new improvised opera about collectives and individuality, drawing on Noh theatre, science fiction, and game-based theatre at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival. Read More >>

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Archive from Another World

An imagined history about a world torn apart by a fight over its own archives, told through the articles of its scholars and the archive itself. Read More >>

2019

We Sing, I Sang (2019)

A new improvised opera about collectives and individuality, drawing on Noh theatre, science fiction, and game-based theatre. Performed at the Omnibus Theatre. Read More >>

The Perfect Opera (2019)

Love! Death! Macbeth! And a pantomime camel! With everything you want shoved into this hiphop foxtrot operatic sketch comedy opera at Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe. " a very serious attempt to conquer the comic opera genre." - The Wee Review Read More >>

The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken (2019)

A return to this rare Kurt Weill opera with University College London academics. "Punchy, entertaining staging" - Opera Magazine Read More >>

ROH Opera Dots - Pagliacci

An adaptation of Leoncavallo's opera for the Royal Opera House's education department, performed in the Floral Hall for young opera-goers . Read More >>

Man and God

A new musical for UCL Culture about the Jewish musician-scientists behind the invention of Kodachrome  - bringing together Gershwin, Einstein, and Hitler. Read More >>

2018

A War Game

A semi-improvised show based around a new cycle of poems on the evolving history of war, the order determined through live combat. Read More >>

The Left Fang

A vampire opera webseries, featuring a resistance movement fighting vampires across London's streets. Part of Virtually Opera: Series 2. Read More >>

The Perfect Opera (2018)

The first outing of this hiphop foxtrot operatic sketch comedy show - hailed as a "perfect fringe hour" by workshop audiences. Read More >>

Reel

An illusion-based text, experimenting with double meanings, misheard words, and evolving meanings. Presented as part of the 2021 Festival. Read More >>

2017

The Hummingbird

My first chamber opera libretto, telling the tale of a forest being chopped down. Perhaps the most neo-Romantic of my libretti so far. Read More >>

Guildhall Voiceworks

A set of song texts written for the Wigmore Hall, in collaboration with three different teams of composers and singers. Read More >>

A Speaks

A clown play about asexuality, presented at the Camden People Theatre's Hotbed Festival. "Great and inviting. Also very playful and fun." - Audience feedback. Read More >>

Still Magic, Still Tragic

An experimental libretto, layering different experiences within a crowded Tube train. Presented in a site-specific show at the London Transport Museum. Read More >>

2016

2015

Cogitatio

A meditation text, written in partnership with the MA in Collaborative Theatre students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Read More >>

At the Break of Dawn

A new play that toured through Germany and the UK, nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. Telling the tale of three revolutionaries on the eve of the great event. Read More >>

Student Comedy 2012-2015

Where it all began - writing comedy, perhaps six lines of which were good. But I don't want to leave it out. It's informed a lot of my work since. Read More >>