Arcola Theatre’s alternative opera festival celebrates eighth encore


The countdown is on for the eighth annual Grimeborn Festival at Arcola Theatre, East London from Monday 4 August – Sunday 7 September.

Now firmly established as an annual highlight in the classical calendar, the festival has become a “breeding ground for original voices and some of the stars of tomorrow,” according to artistic director Mehmet Ergen.

Created in an effort to give new and emerging composers, directors and singers a platform to present their work and encourage their development, the festival challenges traditional perceptions of opera, giving Grimeborn goers an experience they’re not likely to find outside of Arcola.

It features 10 productions, both new operas and radical small-scale re-workings of established favourites by Monteverdi, Massenet and Handel.

Works are performed in both Studio 1 and 2, being pared down and on a much smaller scale, showcasing performers who vary in experience.

Grimeborn is a unique opportunity for artists to stage operas in a theatrical environment, with productions ranging from the well-known to the new and experimental.

The festival prepares vocalists for future roles through performance on a smaller stage and its bold, risk taking nature, continues to bring in fresh audiences of all ages with tickets at an affordable price


Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 August (no performance on Thursday 21 August), Arcola Theatre presents Werther by Jules Massenet, French libretto by Édouard Blau, Paul Milliet and Georges Hartmann.
Monday 25 – Wednesday 27 August, Radius presents Madame X by Tim Benjamin.
Friday 29 – Saturday 30 August, Ryedale Festival presents The Coronation of Poppea by Monteverdi
Monday 1 – Wednesday 3 September, Culture-cooperative ExClaM! Presents Aikainen by Miika Hyytiäinen
Friday 5 – Sunday 7 September, Melos Sinfonia & Helios Chamber Opera presents Façade, Music by William Walton, Text by Edith Sitwell.

Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 August, San Domino: A New Musical, by Tim Anfilogoff & Alan Whittaker.
Thursday 14 – Saturday 16 August, Operaview presents The Medium
by Gian Carlo Menotti.
Wednesday 20 – Saturday 23 August, Eboracum Baroque presents Handel’s Acis and Galatea
Monday 25 – Thursday 28 August, Size Zero Opera and the Ligeti Quartet present Women Box.
Friday 29 – Saturday 30 August, Marsyas Trio, Size Zero Opera and Smoking Apples present Shadows of Time.

For full details of productions go to

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