DARE Sandpits

DARE Sandpits bring together the expert and the curious to share knowledge, challenge perspectives and enjoy energising discussion.

Eight Sandpit events have taken place since 2006, each on a different theme, jointly chosen and relevant to Opera North’s artistic vision.  A broad spectrum of internal and external participants present provocations and discuss research, experience, opinion and perception, all of which informs Opera North’s long-term creative thinking.

Music and Violence: 14 June 2013
Theatre actors, psychologists, researchers, poets and artists came together to discuss violence in art and the political and social implications of artistic representation. The Sandpit has since led to Performing Violence, a project being developed by the Memory, Trauma and Violence Research Cluster in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Leeds led by Dr Helen Finch, Dr Claire Launchbury and Dr Alan O’Leary (SMLC) and Dr Cara Levey (Hispanic Studies, University College Cork).

The end of Antibiotics: 26 November 2012
Discussion and debate on a world without antibiotics, led by DARE Fellow Becs Andrews with participants including scientists, Medievalists, artists and writers and directors.

Benjamin Britten: 30 November 2012
A discussion exploring Britten, literature and adaptation as well as Britten more generally. This complements Opera North’s spring ’13 ’Festival of Britten’, which will celebrate the composer’s work during the ’13 centenary and include productions of Peter Grimes, Albert Herring, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Death in Venice, a round-table discussion

St George:  27 January 2012
An exploration of the formation of the legend, the music and the folk traditions regions that claim St George, examining the different cultural interpretations of St George as an international figure.  The sandpit supported violinist and writer Joe Townsend, commissioned by Opera North Projects to lead a residency on the topic shown at the PSI conference  in June.  

Centenary of the First World War: 7 July 2011 and 19 September 2012
Two events on the theme ‘Legacies of War’.  In 2011, five external organisations including the Henry Moore Institute and Leeds Arts Gallery joined colleagues from faculties across the University of Leeds and Opera North to explore potential collaborative projects to mark the forthcoming centenary.   This was followed in 2012 by discussion between academics and Opera North practitioners about popular song in the early 20th Century.

Music and Mental Health; Autism and Opera: 17 June 2011
Participants including a poet, singer, designer and composer, plus academics and practitioners from the University of Leeds and Opera North, explored the possibility of thinking about opera as conceived from within an autistic point of view.  An understanding of such cognitive difference benefits those working in opera and informs a piece of collaborative performance work by DARE Fellow composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad and writer and academic Professor Stuart Murray, University of Leeds.  Listen to an interview with Stuart about the project.

Berg’s Lulu 24 June and 16 Dec 2010
The influences of and upon this challenging piece were explored from perspectives including psychiatry, politics, the humanities, health and modern languages as well as those of the opera composer, director, designer and performer.  Participants in this rich and diverse conversation  included director John Fuljames and the senior Opera North creative team alongside academic colleagues from specialisms including Performance, English, German and Music.

The Music of the Spheres: 18 September 2007
The ancient philosophical concept that regards proportions in the movements of celestial bodies as a form of music brought together specialists and practitioners in the arts and sciences to debate different approaches to the theme.