Opera about smashing the ultimate glass ceiling
INTERSTELLA charts the course of trailblazing women instrumental in space exploration. In a series of short interlocking one-woman chamber operas, INTERSTELLA gives voice to astronauts, engineers and mathematicians – women whose stories have been eclipsed.
Created by an all female/non-binary team, this small-scale, adaptable production is designed to tour to unusual science-based performance spaces. Alongside will run an education project aimed at primary school children at KS2.
Fusing science and music, INTERSTELLA follows the trajectory of women light-years ahead of their time, and the impact they’ve made on space exploration.
Just some of the pioneering scientists who have inspired us:
Alyssa Carson (2001- ), astronaut currently training for Mars mission
Katherine Johnson (1918-2020) helped with the calculations for multiple space missions including the moon landing, and started work on the mars mission
Ellen Ochoa (1958-), astronaut and now director of Johnson Space centre. Plays the flute and took a flute with her into space!
Sally Ride (1951-2012), astronaut and the first American woman in space
Helen Sharman (1963-), chemist & astronaunt, and the first British woman in space
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova (1937-), engineer, cosmonaut and the first woman in space
Gladys Mae West (1930-), mathematician whose work on satellites lead to the invention of GPS technology
The pandemic has made us reflect on how we, as performers and creative professionals, want to shape the future of our industry. We remain hugely disappointed in the representation of women in opera – both on and off stage. Even in the 2021/22 season well over 95% of all operas performed by the major UK companies are written by men.
We want to tell inspirational stories about women and by women. We want to create new and accessible works with longevity, so we can pass these stories on to the next generation. In choosing to write about real historical women working in STEM and Space Exploration, we choose to celebrate women whose contributions have often been overlooked in a male-dominated industry.
INTERSTELLA is specifically designed to go into spaces where opera isn’t usually heard. The three 10 minute operas (for solo singer and four instruments) will be designed around a minimal set which is easily tourable.
We have been invited to develop INTERSTELLA at a Britten Pears residency in April 2022, supported by a Music-led Creative Collaboration award from Help Musicians. The operas will tour to science venues around the UK in 2023.
Our collaborators include composers Ella Jarman-Pinto (BBC Radio 3), Charlotte Marlow (Tête à Tête) & Yshani Perinpanayagam (Olivier Award Winner), librettists Laura Attridge (Royal Opera House), Jo Brandon (BBC Radio 3) & Jennifer Farmer (Young Vic), and soprano April Koyejo (Royal Opera House Jette Parker Link artist).