A new piece inspired by Janacek’s opera JENUFA, created by ENO youth company in partnership with Raw Material and Brixton Youth Theatre.

An truly amazing production – achieved in only five days at the spacious studios in West Hampstead north London.  A cast of 50 young people came from all over London, including our own Brixton crew and members from our Instrumental Zone music project, with a Raw Material musician working alongside the ENO team.

The group were able to explore Janacek’s music and themes from the opera Jenufa – that explored the secrets we may keep and what happens when the truth is revealed, a pertinent topic at the present time- and to create their own original interpretations of the theme, to write, devise and perform. An incredible production and experience for these emerging young performers.

This is our third collaboration with the ENO and its just gets better each time!

 News from Raw Material

NEW ARTS NIJMEGEN– This week Raw head out to Nijmegen in the Netherlands to meet up with New Arts, an innovatory arts organisation.

We are joined by our Croatian and Italian partners for this initial get together prior to the 2016 ‘Creative Lab’  ERASMUS+ project. The Raw group and partners will be spending two days in Nijmegen and going on an ‘Art Tour’ to Den Hague with the New Arts project team.
Creative Lab aims to explore and share best practice in arts work with young people in a European context. Pilot work took place in 2015 in Turin Italy in a mental health setting.
GRIT SCHOOL kicks off on Monday. This is a six week project for young musicians to gain industry awareness through a series of masterclasses and hands on sessions in the studio. Run with partners SGS,  a new Lambeth group that works with schools, this project is a first for SGS and Raw Material is pleased to provide the support to such projects that share resources, expertise and create increased access to high quality experiences for young people.
YOUTHSAYERS – funded by a Grants for the Arts award, this project will provide a different kind of experience for young musicians. It starts this Wednesday with members from the Soothsayers Afro Beat collective, headed up by horn maestro Robin Hopcraft. Young musicians  will spend several weeks honing their craft across all instruments towards a final concert.
BIG LOCAL ‘PRODUCTION HOUSE– A Youth forum is taking place this week in preparation for the next Production House project that launches on 19 April. The project runs for 10 weeks, covers music production, live sound, radio, DJ skills, graphic design, marketing and promotion and culminates in a performance event.
ENO– the Raw team and community partners meet up this week with ENO Baylis team to review the recent highly successful ‘Millions of Years’ performance at the British Museum of Philip Glass opera ‘Akhnaten’ and discuss new plans for collaborations later in the year.
BUILDING BEATS– Plans have been under way this week to visit Building Beats, an exemplary New York based youth music organisation, with a view to developing an international partnership, following our visit in late September.
FINAL TOUCHES– completing our Strategic capital grant funded renovation of the centre, we hang the final commissioned art work from artist Laila B,  a total of 8 large canvasses were commissioned.
EVALUATION- We review the last 12 weeks of the RAW SOUNDS mental health programme, which culminated in a capacity event with spectacular live music at POW club Brixton, all filmed by the Community Channel. A new project will be starting with Tate Modern in May using photography and design for music album art work.
ROCCHA Seminar- Effectively Measuring Impact- The well attended seminar from ROCCHA is helping to pave the way to both understanding and measuring real impact in our work. A further session is planned for May.

Following on from their work with the ENO in ‘Millions of Years’ at the British Museum, Raw Material and Brixton Youth Theatre were at the Coliseum on Friday night for the performance of Akhnaten – a thought-provoking, absorbing experience. Beautifully produced, with amazing sets, lighting and music, it got a definite thumbs up from all the young people.

The opera tells the story of the divine ruler of Egypt, husband to Nefertiti, father of a new religion. Akhnaten decrees that the sun god rules supreme, and the old gods must be banished from their temples. But instead, his people turn upon their Pharaoh as a traitor. Akhnaten must die. At the end will his new faith live on?

This extraordinary work has not been seen in London for 30 years and forms the last of Philip Glass’s trilogy of ‘portrait’ operas in which he looks at figures from the fields of science (Einstein), politics (Gandhi) and religion (Akhnaten).The mesmerising opera uses texts drawn from ancient hymns, prayers, letters and inscriptions sung in their original Egyptian, Hebrew and Akkadian. ENO’s new production is directed by Improbable theatre company’s Phelim McDermott and follows his spectacular stagings of Glass’s Satyagraha and The Perfect American. Countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo sings the title role, while conductor Karen Kamensek, a specialist in Glass’s music, makes her ENO debut.

We will be meeting soon with the ENO Baylis programme staff to feedback on the whole experience and to discuss new ideas and projects.



The Great Court at British Museum was full to capacity on Sunday afternoon  March 4 with the ENO, Raw Material, Brixton Youth Theatre, the Community Choir and Jugglers performance of ‘Millions of Years’. Based on the story of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, who imposed on society the radical idea of worshipping a single deity, the sun god Aten, in place of the multi deity worship of his forefathers.  Bought to life by a choir of 100, a cast of young people from Brixton, jugglers, ENO musicians and countertenor Anthony Roth Constanzo, musical director Lee Reynolds, the opera depicts scenes from Akhenaten’ life, imagined from source material from the period and ends with a tour guide inviting the audience to look back at the ruins of Akhenaten’s city and consider the traces he left behind.
The full ENO production of Akhenaten, with original music by Philip Glass, will be on at the London Colliseum March 4-18.


Last minute rehearsals are underway with the ENO and Raw Material musicians who have been working with young people over the last few weeks at Brixton Youth Theatre. Akhnaten- 1 Million Years-  tells the story of the legendary Egyptian Pharaoh in this special adaptation.

The whole production relocated to larger rehearsal rooms in Paddington last weekend to work with jugglers, fire eaters and a choir of 100 in preparation for the show at the British Museum Great Court this SUNDAY 6 MARCH at 4pm.

An English National Opera, Raw Material, Brixton Youth Theatre collaboration