"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.
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’.
"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,
“Opens one’s horizons”
- Neue Westfälische,
At The Break Of Dawn