McNeff's 'Banished' premieres with students of Trinity Laban
Banished, a new opera written specifically the students of Trinity Laban Conservatoire by Stephen McNeff, premieres on 29 June 2016 at London’s Blackheath Halls.
Based on the play Female Transport by Steve Gooch and with a libretto by Olivia Fuchs, Banished recounts the story of the first female prisoners to be transported to Australia in the 19th century as they struggle to overcome their differences and survive adversity.
The women in the opera are all based on real-people and take their names, so the students identity particularly strongly with characters who were of a very similar age. Not only does the opera fill a void in the repertoire representing strong women facing adversity, but it has a coincidental local significance: many of the prison hulks that held the women before their voyage to Australia were moored in Deptford near the current location of Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Ultimately though, it’s a universal story; the survival of the human spirit against the odds.