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Sep 26, 2017

Mark Smith interviews Jenny Harris, creative producer for 509 Arts, about their production Calderland.

Forming the centrepiece of the Landlines & Watermarks project, this "people's opera" aims to investigate, question and celebrate Calderdale's relationship with water, in the wake of the 2015 Boxing Day floods which were devastating to large parts of Yorkshire.

The production has a cast of over 200 singers drawn from local communities, and a script by award-winning writer Mike Kenny. It's to be performed in the Piece Hall in Halifax, a recently-restored Grade I listed building.

Jenny talks during the final weeks of rehearsals about the challenges of mounting such a massive project in a comparatively short time span, the ambition of creating an inclusive and celebratory piece of art from adversity and the roots of 509 Arts, a company focusing on theatre productions with a climate change agenda.

"It's not a high art opera... but it's got that sense of drama and scale that an opera might have."