Skip to main content

The Open Weekend

It has been what you might call a compact weekend of openings at OHP.

On Saturday, framed by the weather in a way only the British will really understand, we opened the revival of Will Todd's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in the afternoon and Norma in the evening.  A heatwave is upon us but the dire warnings from the Met office were reassuringly and familiarly wrong and the day was a glorious one - so Alice stayed in her usual home on the Yucca Lawn.

In the evening a much grander affair in the form of Bellini's High Priestess wove its magic through the warm and heavy night air. I had a more  personal interest than usual in the show since my five year old daughter Fiora is in it; the party afterwards was quickly and almost entirely dedicated, at her insistence, to her and her friend Davina, also in the production as one of Norma's two children. Nobody in attendance had any choice in the matter and if you think stage-generated adrenalin in singers is a thing to behold, you haven't seen two five year olds who are also way past their bedtimes. We have particular reason, however, to be proud of them since during their first stint on stage, a ball that is meant to accompany them (and with which they play) was absent but they thought on their feet, happily improvising a mime of throwing it to one another.

Sunday was all about the Open Day at the theatre for which the weather again behaved. The place was full of people and again, the two most popular events were the Minute Maestro and the scratch chorus. For three hours young (some very young) and old alike got the chance to conduct the City of London Sinfonia and it is always a very heartwarming occasion. About fifty people also spent a couple of hours learning some operatic chorus music and got to sing it on stage with the orchestra at the end of the afternoon - and they did it brilliantly. 

I suppose we could do all this digitally - conduct the orchestra by Skype, perhaps? But over a thousand people came into the theatre and heard some opera so it was worth all the effort of Monique, Seth and others who after two openings and a day before a dress rehearsal managed to get it all together. Many thanks to them and also to the many volunteers who came in to help.

Adriana Lecouvreur's dress tonight is exciting. Like, really exciting.


Popular posts from this blog

Panic! Culture and the working class

A new report on the working class relationship with culture has been doing the rounds recently.
Panic! Social Class, Taste and Inequalities in the Creative Industries (which you can find here ( comes at the issue from the point of view of the working class and their opportunities to find careers in the cultural sector. I usually concern myself most with the audience aspects of this debate but this report does touch on matters that relate to that, too. The general issue was also recently making waves with respect to entrants into Oxbridge and with Owen Jones's huge Twitter spat about the class of those in the media. 
The Panic! report takes data from various sources and draws conclusions from it. Some of the conclusions are based on what appear to me to be oddly skewed impressions and some of the report sounds like an argument looking for a validation, rather t…

Emma Dent Coad - putting the record straight

Kensington MP Emma Dent Coad has again used OHP as a tool in her battles against RBKC. This piece once again quotes figures that are manifestly untrue.

The first time she quoted these figures was in her 'After Grenfell' paper on poverty. A great deal of misinformation has been circulated regarding OHP's costs over the years and the amount of money the council spent. Inflating, misreporting and dramatising the cost of supporting public arts only adds to the sense of outrage, increasing the climate of fear around local authority support for culture. When these arguments appear, little reference is made to expenditure on other services the council provides. We are an easy target.

Emma Dent-Coad's "After Grenfell" paper tied OHP to the disaster and quoted a FOI report from RBKC that purportedly revealed the council had spent "£30 million over 15 years" on the…

The Oxbridge divide

In the past couple of weeks the issue of privilege and the Oxbridge divide has been prominent on social media. The argument has essentially been that Oxbridge caters most to the privileged and monied, and further, excludes black students in particular. David Lammy extracted some data from Oxford which he believes shows Oxford is not doing well enough with respect to offering access to bright black and underprivileged students. I am not sure if he is suggesting Oxford is institutionally racist but the inference that Oxford actively excludes black and disadvantaged students is easy to draw from his comments on the matter. The statistics are quite complex and to me don't actually suggest Oxford is doing too badly, but this thread of tweets addresses the specifics very well;

To be frank, I am not entirely sure where to start with this discussion because those progressing the arguments against elite universities appear to misunderst…