I am delighted to be working with the Garsington Opera on a brand new production, Silver Birch: A People’s OperaSilver Birch is an original story bringing modern day soldiers’ experiences and issues of war and family to the forefront, combined with echoes of the past through war poet Siegfried Sassoon, a regular visitor to Garsington Manor during WWI. It is a tale for all the family (ages 8+) about courage, aspiration and aiming high.

This large scale project will involve over 150 community participants aged 8-80, who will perform alongside a professional orchestra and singers on Garsington Opera’s main stage at the Wormsley Estate in Stockenchurch, Buckinghamshire from 28th-30th July 2017.
As part of the production, I’ve been brought on board to recruit 10 members of the Armed Forces Community to get involved as singers, actors and helpers, no matter their experience level.

The project is open to all from the Armed Forces Community: Currently serving personnel, wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, veterans, Reservists, those transitioning from military to civilian life and Service family members (wives, daughters, sons, etc. aged 16+).

A workshop audition will be held on Tuesday, 21 March from 7-9:30 p.m. in South Buckinghamshire — it’ll be an opportunity for those who are curious to meet the team behind the production and informally try-out for various singing, acting, front of house and backstage roles.
Recruitment began in late January, and anyone interested is encouraged to send me an email at the address below.
There’s a special pride in the work I do with the Armed Forces and the arts. Creativity, inspiration and expression can truly be tools of recovery for those suffering injuries and traumas both mental and physical. The arts can also be a means of gaining confidence, self-esteem and inner peace which, when brought to the community level, bring like-minded people together to try new things and allows those in the civilian world to give back and grow, too.
Gemma Holsgrove


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