With collaborators I create song theatre performance usually based on interviews or testimonies,…..
:for the Royal Opera House (The Singing Circle and Dalston Songs)
:for touring theatres or site specific (Truth, War Correspondents, A Body of Song, the Olympic Torch and White Suit)
:for touring – song theatre in the Ukraine, Finland, Spain, Colombia, France, and the UK (Songs for the Four Parts of the Night, Home)
:shows with storytellers in Argentina, Chile, the US and the UK, (Branwen, Tristan and Essylt for the The International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, USA,and Aphrodite and the Gods of Love for the Getty Villa Los Angeles
:solo song theatre shows in Denmark, Germany Italy, Brazil, Argentina, and the UK (Fragments of Love, Dancing in my Mothers’ Arms, Dream Through Your Singing Mouth and A Gift for Burning
We also perform concerts of songs with settings of Unheard Voices incorporating traditional polyphonic forms into new songs by extraordinary poets.
I have composed for the BBC, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre as well as other theatre companies and film projects.
Twenty years ago I dreamed up Sing for Water and with Thames Festival founded this mass choral singing project to raise money for water projects.
I’m currently working on two albums and the music for a short film and a theatre project and laying the ground for the next song theatre show with Olivier award winning Steven Hoggett, with whom I’ve made three shows.
What I love to do
As a songwriter, singer and composer, with a background in theatre, I compose for concerts and to commission for song-theatre shows, site-specific choral events, opera, dance and theatre. I also love recording albums. I also love running creativity, singing and songwriting workshops.
I spent my childhood dancing and playing the piano and then went to study theatre and dance. The focus was on creating and devising group theatre, and it was then I wrote my first song.
After college, five of us set up a collective where we tumbled theatre out of the back of a transit van into pubs, schools and village halls. It was a period of continuous collective creation and collaboration. Those years were the most powerful training I ever had and led me to touring Europe with a physical theatre company where I was inspired by meeting other companies who created their own shows from scratch in many forms and languages.
Theatre and Singing
As I loved singing and songwriting, I joined a voice course which led me to the National Theatre Studio. There I ran a weekly voice and body class for actors and took part in many theatre development projects. Through that building I was inspired by some incredible directors and met and made friends with people I still work with today.
While my life splurged into working with other theatre companies, drama schools, choirs and abroad, I was always doing concerts and making shows. I also worked on shows with directors such as Simon McBurney, Katie Mitchell and Lloyd Newson. In the last few years I have started to call them “song-theatre” as all of them have songs at their heart, and yet are theatre, but they are not what we know of as music theatre.
I was inspired by the choreographers Liam Steel and Steven Hoggett and we started collaborating on song cycles based on testimonies. My love of creating through the body, which came from childhood, found its way back into my work thanks to them.
My world is theatre but the core content is song. I was always writing songs and started to record them with Jon Wilkinson, a sound engineer to whom I am deeply grateful as we made ten albums together and he gave me the confidence to put my songs down into audio form. I am still in the process of releasing songs that I recorded with Jon, alongside newer work.
Without collaboration, collaborators and supporters, none of what you find in these pages would have been possible. Great thanks to each and every one. Collaborators include The Voice Project.
Hearing King’s College choir sing evensong; devising community theatre; touring physical theatre internationally; being part of the Magdalena Project – an international network of women who create theatre; singing Meredith Monk’s music around Wales with some of her ensemble; three field trips to meet Georgian singers in the Caucuses; singing on the film Troy on the LA Warner lot; growing up with two parents who could speak or read other languages, who were curious and engaged, and who welcomed people from all over the world into our home.
President’s Award from WaterAid
Honorary Fellowship from Dartington College of Arts.
I speak reasonable French, understand and speak some German and Spanish, less but some Italian as well as understanding a little Russian and Georgian. I have also performed or taught in languages I don’t speak (!) like Portuguese and Italian.