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About Gestalt Arts

Gestalt means ‘The whole is more than the sum of the parts’.

Gestalt is a creative company reinventing music theatre as a tool to transform, celebrate and unite unique sites and their communities. Through innovative partnerships, Gestalt creates a range of experiences from mini operas to sound installations and creative learning projects across the UK.

Gestalt has produced 4 operas to date, and from 2015 – 2016 will be incubated by Guildhall School of Music and Drama and public art company Artichoke. www.artichoke.uk.com

‘Gestalt makes it worth taking the risk’    –    Fringe Opera

‘A raw, authentic creation from start to finish’    –    Nefarious Magazine

‘More adventurous than the big opera houses dare to be’    –    Planet Hugill

‘A work of art’    –    Fringe Opera

Gestalt was listed as No. 4 in Twenty Something London’s article ‘Ten Reasons Why Opera is No Longer Stuffy and Elitist’

Works

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Adrift

 

Adrift
By Ed Scolding to a libretto by Sean Gardiner. Written when the syrian migrant crisis was an isolated tale of the UN’s failure to help a raft left at sea, this work explored humanity in crisis and Western entitlement. A donation was given to the Red Cross.

Clive was part of Clive and Other Stories (2014) which paired composers and librettists with a team of visual artists, featuring art directors Studio BOO, digital artists Jamie Griffiths and Annalisa Terranova, performative architect Eleonora Nicoletti, sceneographer Nayantara Kotain, and Lindbury winning set designer Carys Beard. They were performed in Peckham Asylum.

Conductor: William Cole
Designers: Carys Beard and Nayantara Kotain
Lighting Designers: Isobel Howe and Stephen Gethin Thomas
Costume Designer: Jane Rankine
Movement Director: Yuriria Fanjul
Art Directors: Studio BOO
Experimental Architect: Eleonora Nicoletti

Clive

 

Clive
Composed by Benjamin Ashby to a libretto to Matthew Lee Knowles — is confused, and contained within red walls to keep him safe, looked after by his nurse. Or is she making him ill? Clive is half adult, half child (just like his bully of a sister) but it’s hard to know who side to take when Clive reveals

Clive was part of Clive and Other Stories (2014) which paired composers and librettists with a team of visual artists, featuring art directors Studio BOO, digital artists Jamie Griffiths and Annalisa Terranova, performative architect Eleonora Nicoletti, sceneographer Nayantara Kotain, and Lindbury winning set designer Carys Beard. They were performed in Asylum, Peckham.

Conductor: William Cole
Designers: Carys Beard and Nayantara Kotain
Lighting Designers: Isobel Howe and Stephen Gethin Thomas
Costume Designer: Jane Rankine
Movement Director: Yuriria Fanjul
Art Directors: Studio BOO
Experimental Architect: Eleonora Nicoletti

 

 

The Daisy Chain – LSO Workshop

 

A radical re-envisioning of the Rumpelstiltskin tale, fusing courtly love, psychotherapy and sadomasochism

When a stoic marriage counsellor is tasked with curing the delusions of the Royal bride Daisy, she discovers a darker side to the nuptials that challenges the very foundations of her practice. Ruined by the fear that her first born heir will be abducted by an aberrant cave-dwelling goblin, Daisy’s delusions are fantastical, yet firmly rooted in the fissures found when reality shatters love’s great dream: her husband is a bastard. Or at least, this was the initial interpretation.

As the therapist begins to find Daisy’s tales more compelling, she becomes trapped in a triangle between guarding the safety of the Princess, the safety of the baby, and exposing the Prince as a psychotic tyrant and cause of Daisy’s pain. However, for some pain is pleasure, and as the difference between reality and fantasy starts to become more and more obscure, the therapist has to confront the possibility of an incredible truth: that Daisy’s delusions aren’t as intangible as they first appear.

Music: Toby Young
Liberetto: Thomas Conroy
Stage Direction: Ruth Mariner
Set Design: Jayne O’Hanlon

London Symphony Orchestra Workshop Performance

Semi-staged workshop performance as part of the LSO’s Soundhub scheme

Musical Director: Mark Gotham
Daisy: Christina Birchall-Sampson
Miller: Nick Scott
Prince: Roderick Morris
Therapist: Clara Kanter
Patrons: Angus McPhee, Tom Oldham, Chloe Morgan, with The London Symphony Orchestra
Photos: Alex Brown

The Daisy Chain – Tête à Tête: The Opera Festival

 

A radical re-envisioning of the Rumpelstiltskin tale, fusing courtly love, psychotherapy and sadomasochism

When a stoic marriage counsellor is tasked with curing the delusions of the Royal bride Daisy, she discovers a darker side to the nuptials that challenges the very foundations of her practice. Ruined by the fear that her first born heir will be abducted by an aberrant cave-dwelling goblin, Daisy’s delusions are fantastical, yet firmly rooted in the fissures found when reality shatters love’s great dream: her husband is a bastard. Or at least, this was the initial interpretation.

As the therapist begins to find Daisy’s tales more compelling, she becomes trapped in a triangle between guarding the safety of the Princess, the safety of the baby, and exposing the Prince as a psychotic tyrant and cause of Daisy’s pain. However, for some pain is pleasure, and as the difference between reality and fantasy starts to become more and more obscure, the therapist has to confront the possibility of an incredible truth: that Daisy’s delusions aren’t as intangible as they first appear.

Music: Toby Young
Liberetto: Thomas Conroy
Stage Direction: Ruth Mariner
Set Design: Jayne O’Hanlon

Tête à Tête Festival Performance

Musical Director: Stephen Craigen
Daisy: Sera Baines
Miller: Nick Scott
Prince: Roderick Morris
Creature: Joanna Foote
Patrons/Guards: Elenaor Hemmens, Oskar McCarthy
Photos: Claire Shovelton

Feet – Horniman Museum Magic Late

FEET

ˆˆGestalt Arts was commissioned to create a piece of music theatre from the sounds and histories of the  Horniman’s Handling Collection and their collection of charms. We were encouraged to make creative connections, we sampled a range of instruments and from this we formed a short interactive performance.

The Pigeon (Rock Dove) became our main character since it displays a fascinating range of roles in the museum; ‘Fancy’ pigeons were collectors items during the 19th Century (lower gallery floor), instruments from ancient China were fitted to pigeons tails to create music (handling collection), and in the early 20th century ‘Cunning Folk’ would use pigeon feet to ward off cramp (Horniman Main Collection)

The contrast between these grand and fantastic purposes, and the pigeon’s status in London today became the central theme of the piece. Pigeons are homing birds with a symbolic history and a fascinating past, but they have no real home in London and their past is largely forgotten.

Text and Direction: Ruth Mariner
Music: Oliver Leith
Designers: Jo Wright
Soprano: Christine Buras

People

RUTH MARINER    ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/PRODUCER/STAGE DIRECTOR

Ruth Mariner is a writer, director and opera-maker based in London. She specialises in writing and directing new works within opera and experimental music theatre. www.ruthmariner.co.uk

Librettists

Shaun Gardiner

Matthew Lee Knowles

Arthur Sawbridge

Thomas Conroy

Conductors

William Cole

Stephen Craigen

Mark Gotham

Directors

Ruth Mariner

Yuriria Fanjul (Movement Director)

Visual Artists

Studio BOO (Art Direction)

Eleonora Nicoletti (Experimental Architect)

Jamie Griffiths (Interactive Video Artist)

Annalisa Terranova (Interactive Video Artist)

Jayne O’Hanlon (Visual Artist)

Latest News

Sounds from the Horniman (10/3/2016) - Composer of ‘Feet’, Oliver Leith talks about the exploration of sounds at the core of this project: (Above: Oliver sampling the instruments in the Horniman collection) The music/sound for ‘Feet’ took shape after a few visits to the treasure trove of the Horniman’s handling collection. Ruth and I became fixated with a curious object called a […]
An extraordinary story hidden in the ordinary… (9/27/2016) - ‘Feet’, a new opera installation commissioned for the Horniman Museum’s ‘Magic Late’ event on Thursday 13th October.   Ruth Mariner, writer and director discusses her inspiration behind the story: The process to create ‘Feet’ has already been completely fascinating and there’s still a long way to go until the date of the performance. Our brief […]
The Horniman Museum (8/11/2016) - Gestalt is excited to have been commissioned to make an interactive operatic sound installation on the theme of ‘magic’ for The Horniman Museum as part of their Lates event on 13th October. It will be the first time that the instruments from the museum’s handling collection have been used to create a composition, and will […]

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