A new outdoor opera for families by Danny Saleeb, Nicola Davies and Lucy Bradley
A young girl lives in a mean, hard city, nothing grows and no one smiles. One lonely night, the girl meets a woman and makes her a strange promise. Slowly, colour, warmth and music return to the girl's world, a forest grows and a community is forged.
Inspired by the much-loved children's story by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin, The Promise brings together a team of talented Opera Makers including original Writer Nicola Davies, Composer Daniel Saleeb, Director Lucy Bradley, Designer Sasha Gilmour and music directors Amy Hsu and Tim Murray.
The Promise is an interactive piece of story-telling theatre for families, which places community and protection of the environment at its heart. It is a story about planting seeds and growing, about the power of nature to heal, and our visceral needs to connect with the soil and each other.
More than just a performance, The Promise, is part opera, part environmental event, a communal act of healing and love which leaves as its legacy a future forest and its custodians. This autumn we will re-visit our audiences to undertake tree planting activity with them.
The Promise by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin was first published by Walker Books in 2014.
With many thanks to Walker Books, Nicola and Laura for allowing us to adapt their wonderful story
During the Summer 2023 our fantastically talented team of performers took The Promise on the road to audiences in Cumbria, Leeds, London, Suffolk and Milton Keynes. The production was created following the Theatre Green Book, with our costume and set designs coming from reclaimed and recycled materials and our tour operating with an electric van. Our approach to making the Opera has been to ensure that all elements tread as lightly as possible on the world. This achievement has been recognised by Julie's Bicycle.
- ‘It was fantastic, it transported me into the world and made me feel welcomed in. The bursts of wind were really atmospheric and almost seemed in time with the story. How the wind rattled through the trees just seemed magical.’
- ‘I was surprised how engaged my children were by the opera, it's the first time they've seen an opera so I wasn't sure what to expect.’
- ‘It made me cry and I wasn't expecting it to touch me emotionally as it did.’
- ‘A beautiful story of hope over adversity’
- ‘Opera outside against that backdrop was very memorable’
- ‘It is important for young people to recognise that a small action can have a big impact. In fact, everyone can be reminded of that.’
- ‘I was really proud to be able to bring my children here. It felt wonderful to share this artform with them and for them to be valued and recognised as an audience.’
The Promise opera would not have been possible without the support of: Arts Council England, Mila Charitable Organisation, Cumbria Action for Sustainability and the Zero Carbon Cumbria Partnership, Three Monkies Trust, Edith M Ellis Charitable Trust, Hadfield Trust, Cumberland Council, Cumbria Music Education Hub,Tower Hamlets Arts & Music Education Service and the exceptional generosity of Victoria Robey OBE, Dominic Wallis and Oliver Bradley.