509 Arts has been shortlisted for the RPS Music Award for Calderland, its ambitious 2017 community opera telling the story of Calderdale and its relationship to water.
Calderland was a Calder valley-wide creative response to the devastating Calderdale floods of Boxing Day 2015 and the extraordinary community responses that followed.
The epic music production, created with and featuring a community cast of over 200 local people, was presented to a combined audience of 2500 people in the multi-million pound restored Piece Hall, Halifax over three nights at the end of September 2017.
The RPS Music Awards, presented in association with BBC Radio 3, are the highest recognition for live classical music in the UK.
Calderland’s libretto was written by the award-winning playwright Mike Kenny (‘The Railway Children’, ‘Blood and Chocolate’). Richard Taylor, former composer-in-residence at West Yorkshire Playhouse and twice UK Theatre Award winner, wrote a new score for the piece inspired by community composition workshops and the music of the area. Choir director Em Whitfield Brooks led rehearsals with a choir of over 200 local people, recruited at workshops across the valleys.
509 Arts Director Alan Dix said:
“We are really thrilled by this recognition by the Royal Philhamonic Society of the musical ambition and lasting legacy of Calderland. At the heart of the project was the widest possible participation combined with maximum artistic excellence and to be shortlisted in the Learning and Participation award is testimony to the work of creative team Richard Taylor, Mike Kenny and Em Whitfield Brooks.”
Calderland was commissioned by Calderdale Council and the Community Foundation for Calderdale and supported with funding from Arts Council England, Tipping Point and the Big Lottery Fund.