A new digital work presented and commissioned by Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta, AMAZON will be released today as part of Homemakers, a series of commissions inviting artists to create new works at home, for an audience who are also at home. Homemakers is produced by HOME, Manchester’s centre for international contemporary culture.
This is the first digital commission for Music Theatre Wales, and AMAZON has been created by Composer Alex Ho and Theatre Maker Elayce Ismail, joining forces for the first time. Their theme is a trip to the Amazon that takes an unexpected turn and they’ve created a short piece of music theatre that combines music, text and visuals in a poetic reflection on the world we live in.
Alex Ho and Elayce Ismail have never met in person. Neither had used zoom before lockdown. They now know a lot about the inside of each other’s homes: where the best signal is, what’s hanging on the back of that door just in shot, how well the sound of a reversing truck in London carries to Cambridge… Out of this virtual meeting, and sharing of lives and ideas, came AMAZON. The making of the piece mirrors their experiences of lockdown: what started as a meditation on the suspension of time and collapse of space became a quest for connection to the world beyond their screens and outside their windows. The result was a surprising and joyful creative collaboration that took them on a journey to the other side of the world.
HOME commissions are fully funded and an opportunity for ground-breaking artists to challenge the definition of live performance whether through live streaming, recordings, games, interactive stories, personal encounters, or something completely different.
Michael McCarthy, Artistic Director of Music Theatre Wales said: “Music Theatre Wales and our associates at London Sinfonietta are delighted to be partnering with HOME on this imaginative new programme. Commissioning artists to create new art for current circumstances is a really positive thing to do and gives us an opportunity to develop our performance work on alternative platforms. It has been a joy to see these two artists take flight on AMAZON. Responding to the creative challenge from HOME to create something entirely made from home, Alex and Elayce have come up with a piece of digital music theatre that, whilst emerging from the moment we have found ourselves in, transcends the four walls within which it has been made to take a global view. My belief is that AMAZON will outlast lockdown as a piece of art that speaks to all of us.
Right now we should have been touring our latest commissioned opera, Violet by Tom Coult and Alice Birch. This was due to receive its world premiere as part of the Aldeburgh Festival, our co-producers, followed by a tour in Wales and England and further performances in Germany. We are now planning to launch the production in April 2021, and have every hope that this will be possible. Meanwhile, the creation of AMAZON by Alex and Elayce in their first work with both Music Theatre Wales and the London Sinfonietta, has given us a new way of working. It’s produced an inspiring new piece that maintains and develops MTW as we venture into digital creation for the first time.”
Jude Christian, Associate Director at HOME, said: “We’re so proud to be joining forces with such a powerhouse group of commission partners, and to see what the brilliant artists they’re bringing on board will create.”
AMAZON can be viewed anytime on the Home website from Thursday (2 July) at noon (https://homemcr.org/production/amazon/) with tickets available on a ‘Pay What You Can’ basis with a suggested price of £10. There are a range of ticket prices including £0 available to encourage as many people as possible to access Homemakers commissions. All the money raised from ticket sales will be split evenly with 50% going directly to the artist and 50% to Music Theatre Wales and London Sinfonietta’s response fund to allow them to continue to support future artists and commissions.