Local families begin ‘Leiston Rainbow’ for Sizewell Creative summer community opera

By Nick Osbourne | Published on 26 February 2024 | 4 min read

Families joined together at Leiston Film Theatre on Friday to start creating a fabric Leiston Rainbow, part of preparations for a community opera in July.

This summer, Suffolk residents and school children will share the stage with the Sizewell C team in a unique performance of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Noye’s Fludde (Noah’s Flood). Staged at Thorington Theatre, an outdoor theatre nestled in Suffolk woodland, the production will bring together choirs, musicians, local villages and schools in East Suffolk with Sizewell C construction team on Saturday 13 July.

When it was first written and performed in 1958, Noye’s Fludde defined a new genre of community opera for the villages in and around Leiston. Nearly seven decades later, local families were quick to pick up the baton again. This week’s sell-out craft workshop saw scores of people arrive at Leiston Film Theatre with unused fabrics and found materials to help build a fabric rainbow, experiment with sustainable materials that will appear in the production, and find out more about how to get involved in the July performance.

Rosalind Parker, the project’s Creative Director, said: “This is one of our first opportunities for people to get involved in our community opera project – and it’s been fantastic to see so many families here. They’ve made an amazing start to our rainbow project, weaving lots of colourful fabrics together to mark the beginning of something quite special.

“We’ll see schools, choirs, the Sizewell C team and more all adding to the rainbow at our upcoming events over the next few months, so that by the time the opera comes round in July, we’ll have a gloriously diverse, sustainable community rainbow for the production.

“And there’s much more for people to get involved in, on and off the stage, too. It’s a wonderful project and it’s really inspiring as a director to work on something that’s so embedded in the area like this.”

The craft workshop was followed by a free screening of Wonka (2023) at Leiston Film Theatre, which – established 110 years ago this year – is the oldest cinema in Suffolk.

Will, a parent from Leiston, who brought along Teddy (4) and Rosie (7) to the event, said: “It’s been a great event. We’ve had lots of fun today: we’ve made some paper plate rainbows, bamboo teepees, and done lots of drawing. The opera project sounds great – and we’ll definitely check out the next event. The more that’s going on like this, the better it is for everyone in the area.”

Preparation for the opera began in December with a Come and Sing event at Pro Corda at Leiston Abbey, and there are more sessions to come, with the team putting out an open invite to local schools and communities to get involved.

“We have plenty more free events coming up where you can get involved,” says Rosalind. “Our next Come and Sing event is on Saturday March 23, in the stunning setting of Pro Corda at Leiston Abbey – and we’re inviting anyone who would like to come along for a fun singalong, or to find out more about how they could get involved with the opera, whether that’s joining the onstage production or helping out off the stage.”

Produced by the award-winning Outdoor Places Unusual Spaces, and conducted by Tim Brown, widely known as one of the best choral conductors in the world, Noye’s Fludde is the first production from Sizewell Creative, a new community arts programme launched by Sizewell C in December of last year. The programme provides free, accessible, and sustainable arts events and initiatives for the community and local schools, and has forged partnerships with organisations and creatives from across the region to develop a programme that will leave a lasting artistic legacy in Suffolk.

Find out more

To discover more about Sizewell Creative events and opportunities, check out the Sizewell Creative webpage.

Tagged with: Noah's Flood, Sizewell Creative
Posted by Nick Osbourne

Nick is Sizewell C's Media Relations Manager