I started writing sketch comedy at university, quickly moving into writing opera libretti, plays, and other things. My writing has been performed by the Royal Opera House and Scottish Opera, and 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 won the Saga Forge Scribe competition, been nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award, and shortlisted for the Alpine Fellowship, the Karl Kraus Award, and the London Student Drama Festival.
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’.
"A very serious attempt to conquer the comic opera genre."
- The Wee Review,
The Perfect Opera
"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,
“an original, atmospheric, immersive role-play opera with real promise.” (Four stars)
Come Bargain With Uncanny Things
Come Bargain With Uncanny Things (2022)
The finished version of Come Bargain With Uncanny Things, an interactive immersive opera in which you come and bargain with uncanny things. Read More >>
Come Bargain With Uncanny Things (2021)
An interactive, immersive opera in which the audience tried to save their local area through rituals of bargaining with a supernatural creature. 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 >>
An upcoming collaboration with a group of composers working in interactive music, combining board games, art music, and the end of deities. Details TBA.
The Tsar Wants His Photograph Taken (Scottish Opera)
Scottish Opera's production of the long-neglected Kurt Weill opera, using my translation for the opera's Scottish premiere.. Read More >>
Man & God (2020)
The ongoing development of Jake Dorfman and I's musical, based on the latest research into the Jewish musician-scientists behind mass colour film.. 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 >>