The Powder Monkey
a new opera Tour 2019
An extract of 'The Powder Monkey' at the Maritime Museum, Greenwich as part of International Slavery Remembrance Day, 2018 and 'Performing Hidden Histories' symposium.
We are delighted to be working with internationally acclaimed composer Errollyn Wallen on our new opera 'The Powder Monkey' in partnership with the National Maritime Museum and Opera North supported by Arts Council England, the University of East London and the Kaye Pemberton Charitable Trust.
Chukwunenye, an African Igbo boy, is the powder monkey born on a slave ship and one voyage away from buying his freedom. As the slave ship nears port on the ‘middle’ passage there is an uprising by the enslaved and he must choose which side he will take; his people or his freedom?
Set on board a slave ship in 1788 the opera places the Black male character of the ‘powder monkey’ centre stage of a diverse cast and integrates live performance, music and animation. The Powder Monkey opens the borders of the opera form by drawing on the traditional music of West Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the folk forms of North of England and maritime creole work songs to reflect the diverse and often hidden histories that have made contemporary Britain.
'The Powder Monkey' will premiere in October 2019 at the National Maritime Museum, The Albany Deptford, and Chatham Historic Dockyard.
Supported by: Arts Council England, Opera North projects and the PRSF Talent Development Fund, The National Maritime Museum,
Kaye Pemberton Charitable Trust, University of East London