Date(s) - 19/10/2013
Bridlington Priory Church
‘Sailing to the Marvellous’ is a new and innovative work of musical theatre by composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad and poet/librettist Adam Strickson, produced by Wingbeats for the Priory 900 celebrations. It explores the hopeful journeys we all undertake, whether we are spiritual or not, in search of refuge, friendship and belonging.
The premiere performance, which took place at Bridlington on Saturday 19th October 2013, involved international artists and over 100 talented local musicians of all ages, including the Beverley Minster Choir, the Bridlington Community Choir and the East Riding Young Percussion Ensemble.
Childhood, with its sense of wonder and openness, was central to this colourful and musically adventurous performance. Children from local East Riding schools contributed richly to the words and images of the piece with descriptions of heaven that were presented in song by the adult chorus.
‘Sailing to the Marvellous’ tells the story of Runa (soprano Natalie Raybould), a young Christian woman fleeing conflict and persecution in the Middle East. She meets a group of children who have escaped from wars in Africa, and together they travel to Britain in an old fishing boat. Eventually the boat reaches Bridlington, where Runa and the children seek sanctuary.
Appropriately, given the dedication of the Priory Church to St Mary, the story also explored the mother and child relationship, and the relationship between children who have lost their parents through war and people who care for them.
The work is in sixteen sections, each marking a point on a spiritual journey, from birth to death and re-birth. The libretto is sung in English, Kurdish and Latin, and refers to the experience of refugees in Yorkshire and to traditions of worship at the Priory.
Historical, contemporary, deeply moving and relevant for our times, ‘Sailing to the Marvellous’ is a theatrical celebration of the journey of life in the magnificent surroundings of Bridlington Priory, and a reminder of all those who undertake journeys in the hope of better lives.
Wingbeats was the East Riding of Yorkshire’s Cultural Olympiad project and part of ‘Imove’, Legacy Trust UK’s celebratory programme for Yorkshire and part of the Cultural Olympiad. In 2012, Wingbeats creative duo Adam Strickson and Cheryl Frances-Hoad wrote and composed the critically acclaimed ‘Amy’s Last Dive’, for which they were awarded an Arts Council England grant and funding from the Performing Rights Society ‘Women in Music’ programme.
In order to produce and stage Sailing to the Marvellous, Wingbeats has received funding from Arts Council England through their Grants for the Arts Scheme, and from East Riding of Yorkshire Council, The Lords Feoffees of the Manor of Bridlington and private sponsorship.
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