The Belfast Ensemble is a collective of award-winning Belfast-based artists of several disciplines working towards a single vision: a permanent, cross-disciplinary music-theatre performance corps creating world-class, cutting edge music-theatre at the very edge of possibility that brings Belfast to the attention of audiences near and far. Under the artistic direction of composer/director Conor Mitchell — recipient of the Arts Council Northern Ireland’s prestigious Major Individual Artist’s Award — the ensemble’s productions have been presented in Belfast, Cardiff and London, and include the part-installation, part-underground junk concert The Doppler Effect (based on the Good Friday Agreement), and song cycle Ten Plagues with lyrics by playwright Mark Ravenhill. Mitchell’s Abomination will premiere at the Lyric Theatre Belfast in late 2019, and newest work Lunaria will premiere at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall at their New Music Biennial showcase, in association with PRS for Music Foundation and in partnership with BBC Radio 3.
BitterSuite was founded by composer and director Stephanie Singer in 2014 to stage intimate multi-sensory concerts for classical and contemporary music. The audience are the focus of BitterSuite’s productions, as Stephanie carefully directs their experience — blindfolding them and pairing them with a sensory guide who leads them through a choreographed taste-, touch- and smell-based experience of live music. BitterSuite works closely with experts in the field of sound and the senses, including somatic practitioners, neurologists, psychologists, dancers, perfumers, chefs, and more. Most recently BitterSuite’s work has focused on the rich relationship between the senses of touch and hearing, and the crucial social role touch plays in our lives. As a composer, Stephanie writes joyful narrative-based and immersive music theatre about social anxiety, trauma and loneliness. Her collaborators and commissioners include the Royal Opera House, Royal Academy of Arts, Wellcome Collection, Arts Council England, Heart n Soul, TedX, and Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Recognised as one of the leading acts in London’s alternative performance scene, sequin-clad satirical weirdos Bourgeois & Maurice write songs that stick in your head like bloodstains in your nice new carpet. Their world is a sexy, stomping, highly theatrical kaleidoscope of current affairs, moral confusion and slippery social commentary. Created by George Heyworth and Liv Morris in 2007, Bourgeois and Maurice have created eight music theatre shows — including Guardian ‘must-see comedy event of 2017’ How to Save The World Without Really Trying — and performed at venues including the Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and Sadler’s Wells. They have released four studio albums, been commissioned by BBC Radio 3, Birmingham Rep and Theatre503, and created an award-winning virtual reality music video. Their first main-stage theatre commission is set to premiere in Spring 2020 at HOME Manchester and will see them joined by a wider cast for a gothic, sci-fi musical, based on the ancient Sumerian poem The Epic of Gilgamesh.
Jane Dickson’s compositions question notions of virtuosity and methods of production, particularly within the apparatus of opera. Her stripped-back deconstructions of opera explore the controllability of the performance space, atmosphere and perception. She is interested in negation, the suspension of disbelief as a tool for the creation of new realities, and challenging representations of gender and what constitutes the operatic voice: using pop and experimental techniques and work songs, as well as classical approaches. She often works closely with performers to place their individual voices and practices at the centre of a structure which interweaves sound, text, light and movement. Her work has been supported by PRS Women Make Music, Creative Scotland and the Hinrichsen Foundation, with short operas Labyrinthine and Are These Waves co-produced by La Monnaie | De Munt and Q-O2. Her new work Le Furieux was selected for development at TalentLAB#19 at Les Théâtres de la Ville, Luxembourg, supported by ENOA.
Laura Moody is a composer, cellist, vocalist, songwriter and theatre performer. Her solo work draws on the infinite possibilities available from her solo cello and voice to create emotive songs that inhabit a unique space between the avant-garde, classical music, pop and singer-songwriter traditions. Her debut solo album Acrobats was released in 2014 to major critical plaudits, and has since toured extensively in the UK and to major festivals. Other recent works include commissions from Phaedra Ensemble and Shakespeare’s Globe, and award-nominated scores for The Vaults theatre and BBC Radio 3. Parallelist — the result of her collaboration with sound artist Clay Gold — premiered at the 2017 Aldeburgh Festival and will tour in 2020. A long-standing member of acclaimed innovative string quartet The Elysian Quartet, other artists she has worked and performed with include Björk, Meredith Monk, Jocelyn Pook and Radiohead’s Philip Selway.
Conrad Murray is an actor, musician and theatre maker who creates socially engaged hip hop theatre with his collective Beats & Elements, as the director of the BAC Beatbox Academy, and as a solo artist. His work explores how hip hop, beatboxing and rap can be used to explore ritual, create spectacle and convey extreme violence and pain, in order to tell convey stories and emotions that are both politically engaged and authentic to his own experiences and those of his performers. He has collaborated with People’s Palace Projects, the Financial Times and the BBC, performed at Tate Britain, the Roundhouse and the Royal Festival Hall. His work, which has toured the UK, includes DenMarked, No Milk for Foxes, High Rise eState Of Mind, and the critically acclaimed, Off-West End Award-winning production Frankenstein: How to Make A Monster (awarded five stars from The Observer, The Guardian and The Stage), which has been selected for the 2019 British Council Edinburgh Showcase.