About this project
***UPDATE - here's a new trailer with music recorded at the first playthrough of one of the songs***
We're here on Kickstarter, raising funds for a series of performances of a brand new piece of music theatre, called Vivienne. You can read more about the storyline and creative team below.
How your pledge helps
Your donations will go towards the costs of presenting and performing the show at the high theatrical level that it deserves and that we can deliver. That means artists' costs, set, costume, design and rehearsal time. Hitting our target will allow us to meet our minimum operating costs.
If your pledges exceed our target (which would be amazing!), we could plan further performances and continue to explore ways to present the show in different spaces. You might even have the chance to see a show live, which is the best way to see our work!
What is the story of Vivienne?
Vivienne Haigh-Wood married TS Eliot in June 1915 and over the next fifteen years played a key role in his writing. In 1933 she was taken to an asylum and Eliot refused to see her again. This is Vivienne’s life told in a series of short scenes, each containing a song. There are hints of cabaret or music hall (a favorite of both Eliots), perhaps something seedier or grander, full of Vivienne’s wit and intelligence, as she finally takes charge of telling her own story. She wasn’t mad – though she was ill – but became increasingly desperate when rejected by Tom and his Bloomsbury friends. She, too, was a talented writer. Did she deny her own gifts and potential to support a man in whose work she believed so completely?
The Creative Team
The music for this new show Vivienne is written by award-winning composer Stephen McNeff, who has written extensively for me in the past. Our CD (below) of me singing Stephen's music - Madrigali dell'Estate - has been awarded four stars in the prestigious BBC Music Magazine.
Actor and playwright Andy Rashleigh has written the text for the songs, which are rich in allusions to Eliot’s most famous poems - if you know Eliot, you can test your knowledge by spotting the references or just enjoy these great lyrics for their own fantastic wit and style.
Stephen's collaboration with Andy began in 1994 when they worked on their very successful operatic version of The Waste Land, based on the graphic novella by satirical cartoonist Martin Rowson. Martin has generously given us permission to produce a limited run of prints based on his portrait of Vivienne and TS Eliot, which appears in The Waste Land, as an exclusive thank-you to Kickstarter donors above the £250 level.
The premiere performance is on Thursday 8 August, 2013, as part of Tete a Tete: the Opera Festival, at the Riverside Studios in West London, with a second show on 9 August. This Festival is dedicated to new work and our team had a great success there last year with our first show together, A Voice of One Delight (links to video).
The final performance of this run will take place in the Linbury Studio of the Royal Opera House on 25 November.
We are presenting Vivienne in these contrasting venues because it is intended as a work that crosses genres - vocal and theatrical - speaking to a wide audience. I'll be blogging at mccaldinarts.wordpress.com about the performances and keeping all Kickstarter donors up to date with how the show is being received.
Risks and challenges
Your pledge will help to bring this show to life, from page to stage. As a company of professional creatives our skills transform your pledge into the finished show.
Despite being well-practised in our work, there are things that we cannot anticipate. Performer illness could even lead to a different Vivienne (about which I would be gutted!). Extraordinary events at the venues might affect our production or, at the worst, lead to the cancellation of a performance. All this would mean changes and possible delay to producing the video of the performance that you would be expecting. We'd still do it, but it might take longer and look different to how we perfected it in rehearsal.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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