What's On

Song in Sign

Friday 2 February 2024, 7.30pm

RNCM Concert Hall

IAD_Spring 2022

Now in its second year, we’re thrilled to announce the return of RNCM Disability Week this Spring in memory of composer Lucy Hale.

The week features events exclusively by disabled, d/Deaf and neurodivergent artists, creatives, and researchers. From talks to performances, workshops, and demos, we’d love for you to join us as we explore music-making at the forefront of disability arts.

We’re delighted to welcome formidAbility to the RNCM. This staged concert sees two opera singers, two signing actors, and a pianist joining forces to create a feast for the senses in a joyous merging of song repertoire and signing.

Be transported to a New Zealand forest in Dame Gillian Whitehead’s Awa Herea (meaning ‘Braided Rivers’), bask in the gorgeous music of Richard Strauss and Duparc before smiling through tears in a new take on Oscar Wilde’s famous story, The Happy Prince by Rylan Gleave (composer) and Max Chase (librettist).

This staged concert is a fully integrated signed song performance. It is audio described and captioned throughout.

You can also join us online and watch a livestream of this event.

Joanna Roughton-Arnold soprano
Ben Thapa tenor
Nigel Foster piano
Rhiannon May, Petre Dobre actors

Gillian Whitehead Awa Herea
Judith Exley, poet Ruth Dallas A Fly; Peacocks
Herbert Howells, poet Walter De La Mere King David
Henri Duparc, poet Victor Wilder Romance de Mignon (Mignon’s song)
Robert Schumann, poet Fredrich Rückert Tanziled (Dance Song)
Richard Strauss Heimliche Aufforderung (Secret Invitation)
Richard Strauss Morgen! (Tomorrow!)

Interval (20 mins)

Robert Schumann, poet Robert Burns (German translation by Wilhelm Cristoph) Unter’m Fenster (Beneath the Window)
Henri Duparc, poet Théophile Gautier Au pays où se fait la guerre (To The Country Where They Are At War)
Herbert Howells, poet Percy Pysshe Shelley A Widow Bird
Ivor Gurney, poet Edward Thomas Snow
Herbert Howells, poet Walter De La Mare The Song of a Secret
Madeleine Dring, poet John Betjeman Song of a Nightclub Proprietress
Richard Stauss, poet Joseph Von Eichendorf In Abendrot (In Twilight)
Rylan Gleave, librettist Max Chase The Happy Prince (Manchester première)*

*commissioned by formidAbility in 2022

Creative Team:
Caroline Parker MBE Director
Joanna Roughton-Arnold Creative Director
Daryl Jackson BSL Creative Consultant
Cha’nel Kara Luke NZSL & Māori Cultural Consultant
Ellen Booth Community Participation Producer & Stage Manager
Ruth Bertram Producer
Zach Waddington Access Coordinator
Ruth Montgomery Community Workshop Creative Lead
Aga Serugo-Lugo Conservatoire Workshop Creative Lead

Follow formidAbility on social media @abilityformid (IG)

About formidAbility:
formidAbility produces opera that places accessibility at the foundation of the creative process, rather than adding it as an afterthought. They collaborate with the world’s foremost artists working for or with disability.


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£6 (Under 26s and Students) + £1 Booking Fee
£12 + £1 Booking Fee

This event will include a 20-minute interval and will end at approximately 9.30pm.

The Royal Northern College of Music is committed to ensuring that all our visitors have a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Please click the following link to find information regarding our access facilities: https://www.rncm.ac.uk/visit-us/access/

Book Now
Friday 2 February 2024, 7.30pm - Tickets from £7