The Reduced Ring Cycle
This show is intended for all ages. It's perfect fare for a picnic in the park style event complete with our mobile theatre, The Popera House. The show was made possible through the support of The Arts Council, Arts Taunton (Art at the Heart), The Golsoncott Foundation and The Somerset Community Foundation.
The Reduced Ring is intended to introduce people to the best of opera in bite-size. Wagner's operas are typically thought of as indigestible to those not familiar with the operatic scene. Even to opera lovers, The Ring Cycle operas in full form can be a bit of a behemoth. That's why we decided to tackle The Ring. We decided it was time everyone realised how amazing the story is, how fantastic the music is; and practically we figured that most people don't have the time or money to spend 15 hours in an opera house discovering this. So that's where we come in! We convey our love of opera, love of a great story and send you away loving it too.
The story features the epic love story of Siegfried and Brunhilde and their dramatic quests. It's a show of gods, monsters, badly behaved humans and the inevitable consequences that go with that. This show is a particular favourite as it features a massive dragon, plenty of smoke and great gothic style costumes.
Along with full-size performers, there are a fair few pint size ones as The Bluebirds bring their wonderful puppets onto The Popera House stage.
Meet identical twins Gunter and Gutrune, the Niebelung Dwarf Alberich who has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, the chirpy little Birdie and the very angry dragon Fafner.
Coming soon! The Bluebirds are developing a brand new show, their very own adaptation of Mozart's opera The Magic Flute. This will be our very own 60 minute biopic for performance in The Popera House. We are going to be running some workshops on the themes of the show which will feature a decent array of magic, monsters and improbable heroes and heroines. For the show we are going to be introducing a brand new cast of beautiful puppets. Watch this space for more details!
The Knickerline is our year long music and theatre project gathering the hidden stories and songs of Somerset women and those who identify as women: from these stories we are creating an exhibition for two regional theatres and a full length Music Theatre show for live performance at the same theatres.
We are collaborating with The Brewhouse Theatre, Taunton, The Princess Theatre, Burnham on Sea and Go Create to develop the exhibitions. Our installations of digital media and visual art will be on display at The Princess and The Brewhouse from International Women's Day in March 2023 for a month.
We will then go on to create a full length Music Theatre show using the stories from local women’s daily lives. Women and men have been taking part in workshops at both the collaborative theatres, helping to develop the installation material. Some of the stories and music we've gathered will form part of our final show which is projected to showcase at both theatres in 2024.
Check our Events page for dates. And don't forget - you can leave us your story here. Just click on The Knickerline page link and look for the orange button at the bottom of the page. All words you leave with us will be totally anonymous. You can post words, songs, thoughts - anything that you would like to leave for The Knickerline!
The Musicians of Bremen is our very own folk musical. It’s an interactive music show for family audiences. Based on the Grimm Brothers tale of four abandoned animals seeking a new life, the show celebrates the musical potential of everyone. The animals; donkey, dog, cat and rooster, all decide to go to Bremen together to become musicians. After a scary experience with a wicked robber, they abandon their quest and instead resolve to live as musicians together in the forest. It’s a joyful tale with some great dramatic characters brought to life with life-sized puppets. The show is performed in our very own pop-up mobile theatre, The Popera House.
Mrs Noah and The Flood was an Arts Council supported show. Written by Sasha Herriman with music composed by Somerset Composer Martin Emslie, it’s a clever re-telling of the medieval flood stories in the English mystery plays. The musical places Mrs Noah firmly at the centre of the action, making her the lynch-pin for the story.
The musical had a timely first showing, coinciding with two years of severe seasonal flooding on the Somerset levels. Mrs Noah is going to return to schools soon. She's been itching to get at the helm again and get her ship in full sail.
Nzingabeth! Or When Ana met Virginia was an Arts Council supported show with a fusion of African and Tudor music. The story of Nzingabeth! depicts a fictitious, musical meeting between two royal women in a dressing room where worlds collide. Nzingabeth! is a provocative, funny and thoughtful new play with music from Taunton-based arts and education initiatives Storytree and The Bluebirds, and Exeter-based Four of Swords and has been supported by The Arts Council.
The drama portrays a fictitious meeting between Elizabeth I of England and the proud African Queen Ana Nzinga. Elizabeth is an historical figure needing little introduction in this country, but Ana Nzinga is less well known. She was a wily and assertive character from what is now modern day Angloa, who successfully played European colonial powers off against each other. Nzingabeth! poses crucial questions on race, gender and politics, but is also designed as a treat for the senses; there’s wig-swapping, sumptuous costumes and a dynamic fusion of African and Tudor music.
The show originally toured across the West Country and in London.
The origins of The Bluebirds are in classical music. Sasha Herriman and Tami Tal are classical singers with a background in recitals and formal concert performances. While The Bluebirds have spent a lot of time developing this classical music into cabaret material and utilising it for other shows, we also take great enjoyment in performing classical recitals and concerts in a variety of venues.
We have performed widely as soloists and ensemble performers. We've performed at The Royal Albert Hall in The Ravi Shankar Orchestra, at Hampton Court, King's Place and with The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra in Tel Aviv. We have also worked widely as sessions singers.
This is a pure Bluebird creation with opera performed in our own version of a mobile chip wagon. The Chip Shop is opera meets comedy in head on collision. It's the perfect creation for kitch meets posh. Who doesn't want a good dose of that with ketchup?
“Good ideas and invention.” (Victoria Wood)
Sasha Herriman, Tami Tal and band Quartetto Lycra team up for an hour of beautiful music and belly laughs. It’s got a characteristically operatic plot of machiavellian twists.
“After behaving inappropriately at a society funeral our two would-be opera divas are cursed by the evil sorcerer Tomatino. They are doomed to roam the world in a mobile chip van until they can be redeemed by true-love’s kiss. Travelling through space and time in their intergalactic chip van they follow their quest to its final dramatic conclusion with an amazon delivery.”
The Chip Shop Opera was originally performed at London’s Kings Place.
The Empress and The Nightingale is The Bluebirds own re-telling of the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale of the magic of song. It’s a story-telling show specially for children and families and brings to life the wonderful characters in the magical space of The Popera House. Meet the Empress of China, the clever brown Nightingale and her nemesis, the magnificent Clockwork Nightingale. Most important of all, meet Lu Xi the clever little kitchen maid who navigates you skilfully through the story. As with all Bluebird shows, The Empress and the Nightingale has a feast of music, handmade bespoke puppets and interactive music.
The Reduced Ring is an imaginative reworking of Wagner’s entire Ring Cycle. Think opera, think pop, add brevity and a heavy dose of comedy and you get the idea! Wagner took 15 hours, The Bluebirds, experts at re-telling even the most complex tale, take just under an hour. Meet all the weird and and wonderful characters from The Ring Cycle and listen to some great operatic music in a beautiful mash-up.
Classical Cabaret is in our very bones! It was the moment of cross over for us, from classical recitalists to classical cabaret entertainers. It has been an intense journey of hilarity and irreverence. Our classical cabaret shows have come in many guises; from Berlin Cabaret to Elizabethan Cabaret. We have performed widely in London, appearing anywhere from King's Place to The Battersea Barge, The Canal Cafe Theatre to a cutting edge gigs at The Rivoli Ballroom and a disused police station. As classical cabaret singers we have shared a stage with drag artists, burlesque performers, circus acts, comedians and dancers. And what was amazing from the myriad events we have performed at was the sheer joy of performing with so many talented artists. It took us out of comfort zone and taught us a huge amout; it also allowed us to develop our own skills in a new niche as classical cabaret performers.
Our classical cabaret shows are an evolving process. Our current output is Wings of Desire, focusing thematically on angels and songs of relating to that theme. It's a visual and audio treat as with all our shows and can be offered on The Popera House or in an alternative venue.
We want to uplift our audiences not drag them down, and so our classical cabaret shows, while including a wide range of music, will always end on a high. We want the audience from these shows to go away with a song on their lips and a smile on their faces.