Arts Council England has awarded £49,985 towards the creation of GeoOpera, bringing together exceptional talent including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to perform at the opening ceremony of the 7th International UNESCO Conference on Global Geoparks, taking place in Torbay in September 2016.

Inspired by the history, unique geology and culture of the world’s one hundred and twenty UNESCO Global Geoparks, The GeoOpera will engage local community composers and performers of all ages through workshops and rehearsals. Local people will be invited to a special performance, and the GeoOpera will be made into a film with educational resources translated into eight major languages, to inspire audiences worldwide.

The 7th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks is expected to bring over eight hundred delegates from thirty plus countries to Torbay.

Elected Mayor of Torbay, Gordon Oliver, said: “We’re looking forward to welcoming the world to Torbay in 2016, and now the GeoOpera will provide a world class welcome. A key aim of the Council and the English Riviera Global Geopark is to raise awareness of Torbay’s status as a UNESCO Global Geopark, and help communities to be inspired by our unique natural heritage.”

Phil Gibby, Area Director, Arts Council England, South West, said: "Torbay is a priority area for us and we’re delighted that this grant will support the community in being a part of such an important global event.”

Councillor Nicole Amil, Executive lead for Tourism, Culture and Harbours at Torbay Council said: “Torbay and the UNESCO English Riviera Global Geopark have already gained an international reputation for our innovative approach to employing the Geopark as a stimulus for high quality artistic practice. With the significant support we’ve secured from the Arts Council, GeoOpera will build on this reputation, providing a showcase for our local talent from across the community to a worldwide audience.”

Research with GeoOpera Artistic Director Mark Laville, Plymouth University Geosciences and geological experts will inform the piece. Mark said, “GeoOpera will incorporate voice, music, performance and multimedia, a multilayered response to the incredible geological story of the planet. Twenty-five Community Composers, schoolchildren, youth and adult choirs will be engaged through outreach sessions. This community of voice, performance, and instrumental becomes the Performance Cast of over one hundred and ninety people, through extended rehearsals with the artistic team and Birmingham Symphony Orchestra musicians.”

Hugh Nankivell, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Devon Producer and lead composer of GeoOpera, said: “ GeoOpera won’t be possible without our communities help! Any young people aged 16-25, who have an interest in composition and sound, can get involved to make new music together in the Bay. We want people we want those who can read and write music but we also want those who cannot read and write music. We need a group to come together to share ideas and begin the compositional process to produce an epic new opera for the Bay. We will meet weekly from February 2016 to April 2016 as a group to initiate ideas and begin to arrange them together. If you would like more information please email: doorsteparts@gmail.com”

The conference and GeoOpera performance will be held at the Riviera International Conference Centre, 27 – 30th September 2016. For more information or to register interest in attendance, sponsorship or volunteering opportunities please visit www.ggn2016.com and @GGN2016 on twitter.

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