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£20
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2
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, January 20 2016 1:36 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated January 20, 2016

A Steampunk Opera: Clocks 1888 - the greener [immigrant]

Brolly's epic new opera giving voice to an East End world of immigration set against the stunning digitally animated world of the clock

A Steampunk Opera: Clocks 1888 - the greener [immigrant]

Brolly's epic new opera giving voice to an East End world of immigration set against the stunning digitally animated world of the clock

£20
pledged of £10,000pledged of £10,000 goal
2
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Wed, January 20 2016 1:36 PM UTC +00:00
Last updated January 20, 2016

About

We wanted to make a groundbreaking new opera work Clocks 1888 the greener to change the idea that opera is an elitist art form and make it accessible both artistically and financially for new diverse young audiences.

We have been making this opera over two years and it started like most of our work with the two of us wandering around London having coffee and chatting and sharing ideas.

Clocketeer
Clocketeer

Rachana with her designers eye had seen the range of beautiful public clocks in London and had an idea that inside each was a clocketeer - a caretaker who looks after the clock -so we walked all over town looking at public clocks from different times and designs and thinking up the different clocketeers who would run them and their stories.

Our favourite was a victorian clock in Stepney Green, East London called 'Education and Benevolence'. We decided on this one not only for the clock itself but also the area of East London where we often make work - which has its share of problems but is also the most diverse, dynamic and creative place.  In 1888 the issues of immigration, flexible labour markets and new technologies were as important then as they are today. 

Cultural concerns about immigration are not new – London and especially the East End at that time featured immigration from Ireland, central and Eastern Europe especially Jewish émigrés from Russia, Poland and Germany as well as the historical presence of Black and Asian communities as a result of colonialism and imperialism. 

The Workers
The Workers

We wanted to reflect this in the opera so that is why the central character of the opera is 'the greener' - which is cockney slang for immigrant. This opera is a celebration of London's creative diversity and so she speaks and sings in a mix of all migrant languages alongside English - a real contemporary London girl!

We think it very important and artistically exciting to draw on, celebrate and reflect the rich and diverse stories of the East End that dynamically link the past to the present. 

As a company we want to make exciting performance work that also asks questions not only of society but also the arts, so we do some things differently in this opera;

CLOCKS 1888:the greener 

“The clock runs the East End...n’ I run the clock”

A brilliant young migrant girl is single handedly running the towering clock that is the beating heart of the East End. When she is discovered by a gentleman explorer they are forced to choose between the worlds they know or each other. 

- We make the central character or clocketeer of the opera, a mixed race, uneducated, brilliantly clever, teenage migrant girl. 

- We open up the opera form to music hall, classical Indian tradition and musical theatre that reflects the artistic diversity of the communities in the East End and Britain today. 

- We create a visually stunning digitally animated design that uses the original art work and illustrations of designer Rachana

- Our diverse cast and the company reflect the diversity of our audience

The Art work
The Art work

We make work in which form is led by content and we believe opera is the ideal medium to tell this story as its heightened form is capable of scale, spectacle and great intimacy. The clock is central to the story and the digital animation allows the clock to be epic in scale which then integrates with the live performance.

There are three other dramatic characters alongside Greener that are drawn from the untold lives of the East End at that the time:

Ma
Ma

'Ma' is The old Indian woman who looks after the greener. She is based on the true histories of ayahs or 'nanny’s' in India who were employed by British colonials to look after their children and sometimes brought back to England. However, once the children were old enough the ayahs were often left destitute. In 1855 the issue first came to light when it was discovered that 50 to 60 ayahs were living in a disreputable lodging house in Ratcliffe Highway in the East End of London and charged exorbitant rents until penniless and abandoned in the metropolis. In 1900 a Home for ayahs was set up in Mare Street Hackney where Hackney Empire Theatre is. She speaks in English and Hindi and her music draws on the classical Indian tradition.

'Coster' is short for costermonger or street seller. Coster does anything he can to make a living as there was no welfare at that time and he is driven by the time he spent in the workhouse - a well documented and brutal punishment for those who were homeless and penniless. One of the jobs in the workhouse was to break flint (stone) a piece of which broke off into his eye leaving him with a glass eye. He also speaks and sings with a lot of cockney rhyming slang – not all of it clean - influenced by the music halls or 'penny gaffs' of the time.

Coster
Coster

Author: A well to do young gentleman from the West End of London who  is basically ‘slumming’ in the East End. 'Slumming' was a new phenomena that emerged in the 1880’s on an unprecedented scale for both curiosity and thrill seekers after disreputable entertainment went to see how the poor slum dwellers of the East End lived.

We are really excited about the show, and hope you like it too, but we also need to work very hard to reach our audience who may be first time to an arts events and certainly to an opera.

We have experience of this and for our last national tour achieved 87% audiences the majority of whom were new to the arts.

We have a track record of funding from the Arts Council to develop and produce our work as well as a range of trusts and foundations such as Unity Theatre Trust, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, Kaye Pemberton Charitable Trust, Royal Victoria Hall Foundation. We have also developed a range of partners including the Barbican, Royal Opera House, British Museum, Hackney museum, Hackney Empire, Doncaster Museum and Arts Gallery, CAST Theatre Doncaster to support our work. 

While we are very grateful for their financial and in-kind support we are asking for this last amount to achieve our target to fund the artistic work and match the funding we have received so far to reach our audience.

Risks and challenges

We are experienced in producing and creating innovative performance and are aware - from experience! - the potential pitfalls.

We have currently raised 72% of our target budget so far and are still fundraising. This is our only project at present and we are ready to distribute rewards!

Below are the key elements that enable us to achieve our projects successfully;

Partnerships - We are a small company which makes us very flexible and innovative but we also work to develop strong partnerships on our projects with national and local cultural organisations to build our capacity and mitigate risk.
Our partners for Clocks 1888 include:
British Museum, Hackney Empire Theatre, CAST Theatre Doncaster, Royal Opera House, Hackney and Doncaster Museums, English Touring Theatre, University of East London and Arts Council England.

We have built an experienced creative team around us who have been developing the opera with us over two years to ensure high quality work that is delivered to time. We have already done two stages of development on the opera at the Barbican and Hackney Empire.

To reach our audience and sell tickets we have a marketing and press team who are experienced in developing new audiences and delivering campaigns by working closely wth our partner venues.

We are the artistic directors creating the work and also the producers which means we are not only invested in the artistic quality of the work but also making sure that the project is delivered to budget.

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    Your name will be written on the set and included as part of the digitally animated design

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    A signed limited edition Print featuring Art work used in the animated digital design of the Opera

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    Pledge £100 or more About $125

    Be Brolly's guest at a private event and meet the Artistic Directors

    Your name will be written on the set and included as part of the digitally animated design

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    Be Brolly's guest at a private event and meet the Artistic Directors

    Meet the cast and creative team on set of the opera/ attend a rehearsal

    Your name will be written on the set and included as part of the digitally animated design

    A signed limited edition Print featuring Art work used in the animated digital design of the Opera

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Funding period

- (30 days)