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The Creative Team

The Creative Team


Composer: Tom Wiggall
Tom Wiggall

Tom Wiggall is a London-based composer writing in a wide variety of styles for concert, stage and screen.
His most recently completed work includes: Amor nos Semper Ducat a festival anthem commissioned by Surbiton High School (to be premiered May 2010),
Alban, a community opera, commissioned by St Albans Cathedral (premiered 20-23 May 2009);
and title music for Melvyn Bragg’s recent ITV1 series Faith in the Frame.
Tom is currently working on music for IBM’s latest viral campaign.

In recent years Tom’s music has been played in venues including the Riverside Studios, The Soho Curzon, The Criterion Theatre,
and The Royal Opera House.
He has also written for television and radio including music for a Channel 4 documentary of the artist David Shrigley
and arrangements for BBC2’s Friday Night is Music Night.

Tom was a chorister at Lichfield Cathedral and went up to Emmanuel College, Cambridge on an organ scholarship.
At Cambridge Tom studied stylistic composition but learnt most of his compositional craft by composing for theatre, film and contemporary dance projects.

Tom has said this about his approach to the opera:

"The main thrust of the Alban Community Opera in narrative terms is to present a religious story emerging from a secular perspective.
Alban will be presented to the audience as an unexceptional citizen of the Roman outpost Verulamium (modern day St Albans).
As the opera progresses, a series of twists of fate reveal to the audience, and to Alban himself, his capacity for belief and self-sacrifice,
concluding with the extraordinary decision of an ordinary man.
Much of the opera is concerned with the psychological impact of this process on Alban's family and, in addition,
how Alban's actions play into the local political system in Verulamium.

These two focal lengths for the drama (the personal and the political) will be staged through a blend of intimate domestic drama and grand civic set pieces.
The former will often be staged in the Alban household and the latter in the public fora of the town.
The opera is designed to encourage engagement at many different levels of musical ability and, in large ensemble numbers,
will involve many different kinds of music ranging from market cries, local folk music and baying mob contributions
through to a Greek narrative chorus and high-concept reflective musical styles.
These contrasting elements will be united by strong motivic character associations, vivid atmospheric identification of place and mood,
and a direct and uncluttered musical language.

The Alban project has enormous scope and potential for using the large churches and cathedrals dramatically by placing musicians and protagonists around the space, surrounding the audience with the drama.
In addition, the secular approach to a religious story demands a robust and fresh musical response, moving away from the didactic oratorio tradition,
and towards a more engaging and enlivening form of corporate music-making."


Librettist: John Mole
John Mole

John is a poet and children’s author.
For many years he co-edited for the Mandeville Press with its founder, Peter Scupham,
has been Poet in Residence at Magdalene College, Cambridge (1996) and since 1998 resident poet for Poet in the City.
His work has received Gregory and Cholmondeley Awards, as well as the Signal Award for an outstanding contribution to poetry for children.
He reviews books on jazz for the Times Literary Supplement and is clarinetist with the group Blue Cockatoo.

Forthcoming publications are – for children – All the Frogs (Salt), and a collection of recent poems, The Point of Loss (Enitharmon).
He can be heard reading on The Poetry Archive from which a CD is available.

John is a poet who has always had a keen interest in the setting of words to music although Alban was his first opera libretto.
He collaborated with the composer Bob Chilcott on a song cycle to mark the opening of the Evelina Children’s Hospital on the South Bank.


Director: Beckie Mills
Beckie Mills

Beckie studied at Central School of Speech and Drama and Cambridge University.
She is currently Text Assistant at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. As a Director her work includes: I Was a Beautiful Day (Finborough and Tron);
The Comedy of Errors Remixed (RSC Learning); Practice (RSC Projects/Young Vic); Heath/Cliff (RSC Projects), Cabaret, Alice in Wonderland,
Fear and Misery in the
Third Reich (Bristol Old Vic); Over the Edge (Bristol Zoo Gardens);
The End of the World as We Know It (Lightship John Sebastian for Bristol Old Vic); Write Here Write Now (Bristol Old Vic Studio);
The Melancholy Hussar (King’s Head and Etcetera) Cahoot’s Macbeth (King’s Head).
Her work as assistant director includes: Pride and Prejudice (Theatre Royal Bath); The Taming of the Shrew (RSC);
Don John (RSC and Kneehigh) and Hedda Gabler (Theatre Royal Bath and Tour dir. Adrian Noble).


Music Director: David Ireson
David Ireson

David's fascination with the fusion of words and music started when he was a chorister at Newcastle Cathedral, and has grown throughout his musical life.
He sang in the Schutz Choir for Roger Norrington and the Monteverdi Choir.
He currently sings with Vox Musica in the UK and abroad and has for many years sung as a Lay Clerk in St Albans Cathedral Choir.
He was founder and director of the Hardynge Choir and the Faryfax Consort and directs Musica Deo Sacra in Tewkesbury Abbey every summer.
He taught at St Albans School and retired as Senior Master in 2004.
Since 1987 he has been Music Director of St Albans Chamber Opera Company.


Producer: Hazel Ireson
Hazel Ireson

Hazel’s career in business-to-business sales and marketing has somehow encouraged her to become a poor man’s Raymond Gubbay!
Always passionate about music she began this strange journey by helping to run various concerts and events in and around St Albans.
Her many years as a Trustee and Chairman of St Albans Chamber Opera Company gave her great insight into how operas work from the inside.
Bringing Alban to life has been the most exhilarating and sometimes the most worrying experience of her ‘other’ life.


Costume Designer: Ann Hollowood
Ann Hollowood

Ann has had a long and successful career as a Costume Designer in Film and Television.
She has worked on several projects for the Jim Henson Organisation including The Muppet Xmas Carol,
starring Michael Caine and Storyteller for which she won a BAFTA Award.
Additional projects include Disraeli starring Ian McShane, Pygmalion with Peter O’Toole and The Old Man and the Sea with Anthony Quinn.

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