Arcola Theatre (Grimeborn) | August 2019
Music and libretto by Scott Joplin (1911)
Arkansas, 1884: the black community is free from the bonds of slavery, but true self-government has been hard to achieve. Superstition and fake news pervade the fractured community and it falls to the young heroine, Treemonisha, to speak truth to power and lead her elders towards enlightened thinking.
Written by ‘King of Ragtime’ Scott Joplin in 1911, and influenced by his own experience as a young African American during the Reconstruction period, Treemonisha was one of his proudest achievements – but he never saw it staged in his lifetime.
Now, Spectra Ensemble returns to Grimeborn with this all-singing, all-dancing piece which fuses African American spirituals, barbershop and early blues styles to create ‘an entirely new form of operatic art’.
Director: Cecilia Stinton
Musical Director: Matthew Lynch
Choreographer: Ester Rudhart
Movement Consultant: Caitlin Fretwell Walsh,
Designer: Raphaé Memon
Lighting Designer: Ali Hunter
Producer: Jessie Anand
Assistant Producer: Lizzie Thomas
‘an absolute winner…rises impressively to the high notes’
‘the entire company performs with commitment and verve’
The Jewish Chronicle
‘as accomplished an account of Treemonisha as you could ever hope to see’
‘no weakness in the score at all - and none in the cast…never in my lifetime have we needed to listen to Joplin’s message more urgently’
‘their voices blended seamlessly and they danced with utter commitment’
Images © Robert Workman