The celebrated actress Eve Best had this to say about the W11 Opera which she was involved with as a child: “I can count it as one of happiest times of my life. It’s hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t been in it. It’s the real thing. It’s scruffy, loud, exuberant, hard work, passionate, difficult sometimes. Running around with friends in the back of a church, dad’s building the set, someone’s bashing away on the percussions. Adrenalin, exhaustion, exhilaration, climbing up terrifying pieces of scaffolding erected over the altar. I don’t know whether these days they’d be allowed. Amazing sets we all scrambled about on. Struggling through the cold to rehearsals in the cold. Singing in a chorus is so inspiring, life-enhancing. Everybody is involved, professionals and families.”
From what I have heard from the children involved today it is still very much the same exciting experience. This year’s 40th anniversary play is:
It is 1920. Two brilliant young artists raise their seven children in a faded Georgian townhouse. When the depression hits they are forced to seek their fortune in America. The children are left in the silent and lifeless home under the austere care of sinister distant cousins who drain all colour from the house and engineer its demolition. Will they survive the terrifying regime? Will the house be saved from destruction? Will light return to the hallways and laughter echo once more on the stairs?
This heart-warming and poignant family story celebrates creativity, music and colour with a host of characters and evokes a period of extraordinary cultural change.