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  • Verity Standen

    Refrain

    About

    This spring, during the centenary of the First World War, composer Verity Standen will create a new immersive, choral experience at three sites of historic significance in the stories of conscientious objection.

    The performance will be devised with and performed by local male singers of all ages. Scroll down to find out more about the artist, the places and to book tickets.

    REFRAIN performances

    Refrain was first performed at Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire on Friday 7th, Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th April. You can see pictures, comments and video from Richmond in the Story section of this website.

    Refrain will next be performed at:

    St. Helens, Merseyside
    Saturday 20th May
    Sunday 21st May

    Newhaven Fort, East Sussex
    Friday 9th June 7.30pm and 8.45pm
    Saturday 10th June 2017 10am, 11.30am and 1.30pm
    Sunday 11th June 11am and 12.30pm

    Refrain is produced by Situations with Verity Standen Projects, in partnership with English Heritage, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and Heart of Glass, St. Helens. It is generously supported by Arts Council England, the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, The Space and Heritage Lottery Fund.

    Find out about other arts projects by Situations here.

    Verity Standen

    “Sound rose and fell in waves until it felt as if I was drenched in music that had seeped its way into every organ in my body, and maybe even found my soul.”

    Lyn Gardner on HUG, 2015, The Guardian

    Verity Standen is an award-winning artist, composer and choir leader, whose unique work with voices has surprised and enchanted audiences across the UK and internationally. From intimate concerts to immersive theatrical experiences, Verity’s work seeks to reimagine how audiences experience vocal music.

    veritystanden.com

    St Helens

    St Helens, Merseyside was the home of school teacher, Ernest Everett who was arrested due to his refusal to undertake combative service in 1916.

    He was court-martialed and sentenced to two years’ hard labour, the first conscientious objector to receive such a sentence. Over the next few years, he was sentenced seven more times.

    In REFRAIN, Everett’s story, symbolic of many more cases of this kind, is given voice once again.

    Newhaven Fort

    Newhaven fort, East Sussex, is the last of a long series of defences built on the cliffs overlooking Seaford Bay, the ramparts and extensive tunnel network holding 150 years of history.

    During the First World War, the Fort became a part of larger defences, linking with the nearby town of Seaford – the site of a work camp that now lies buried underneath the town. The North Camp at Seaford housed a number of conscientious objectors, firstly before their deportation to Northern France, and subsequently for those who refused to fight and were put to work on the road improvements between Seaford and Newhaven.

    Richmond Castle

    Just over 100 years ago, sixteen conscientious objectors were detained in the 19th century cell block of Richmond Castle. Before they were sent to France to be court-martialed, the ‘Richmond Sixteen’ covered the cell walls with words and drawings which inspired hundreds of other subsequent marks of resistance in WWI and WWII.

    The Castle which is under the care of English Heritage, and the personal testimonies contained within it, offers a potent context in which to explore current considerations of conscience and sacrifice.

    Find out more about the stories of the Richmond Sixteen and the Castle.

    All ages are welcome. The estimated running time is 45 minutes. Please arrive 10 minutes before the performance starts.

    Refrain will be a roaming performance which will move across various historical sites in the George Street Quarter of the town, including the oldest building in St Helens; the Friends Meeting House. There will be indoor and outdoor sections to explore throughout. The meeting point for this performance will be confirmed via e-mail.

    All indoor venues explored will have step free access.

    Performances will take place come rain or shine, so please ensure you are prepared for being outdoors in all weathers.

    Getting there

    St Helens is a 35-minute drive from Liverpool centre or a 35-minute train journey from Liverpool Lime Street to St Helens Central.

    Parking – Birchley Street Car Park is the nearest parking to the site

    For more information on visiting St. Helens, please visit www.heartofglass.org.uk/contact

    St Helens

    Get directions

    All ages are welcome. The estimated running time is 45 minutes. Please arrive 10 minutes before the performance starts.

    We are passionate about making our work accessible to as many people as possible. Refrain at Newhaven Fort will be a performance across the entire site of the fort – involving navigation of different levels, multiple steps and narrow tunnels. To discuss with us the journey the audience will take, please call 0117 930 4282.

    Performances will take place come rain or shine, so please ensure you are prepared for being outdoors in all weathers.

    Getting there
    The town of Newhaven is situated between Brighton and Eastbourne. Newhaven is well sign posted from the A27 and all roads into the town have brown signs directing visitors to Newhaven Fort. If using satellite navigation, the postcode is BN9 9DS.

    Trains run regularly to Newhaven Town Station, approximately 1.1 miles (1.8km) from the Fort. Taxis can be picked up outside the station or in the town centre.

    If walking, head towards the town centre, over the swing bridge and take the first left to walk alongside the river, past Newhaven Marina and on to the Fort.

    The Brighton & Hove Buses Coaster service (Number 12) runs regularly between Brighton and Eastbourne and buses stop throughout the town centre, approximately 0.7 miles (1.1km) from the Fort.

    Free parking is available in our visitor car park, which is signposted from Fort Road.

    Two allocated Disabled Car Parking bays are available for visitors in the Moat area (just outside main entrance), visitors should follow the signage up Fort Rise, rather than follow the signs to the general Car Park.

    Full information about how to get to Newhaven Fort can be found here http://www.newhavenfort.org.uk/how-to-find-us/. If you have any queries about your visit, please contact info@situations.org.uk or call 0117 930 4282.

     

    Newhaven Fort

    Get directions

    Get involved

    We’re looking for local male singers to take part in this event. Perhaps you sing in a local choir, and fancy a new challenge? Perhaps you have never sung in public, but would love to try?

    The 21 men who performed in the Richmond choir described taking part as “unforgettable” and “the most amazing thing I have ever done”. You can see images, video and comments in the Story section of this website. There are still places available for people to take part in St Helens, Merseyside and Newhaven, Sussex.

    Verity is running a taster session at the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Sussex University, Brighton on 27 April and at Heart of Glass in St Helens on Friday 28 April for anyone who would like to come and find out more. The St Helens taster starts at 6pm. The Sussex 6pm taster session now full, additional session Thursday 27 April at 7.30pm.

     

    For the St Helens singers there will be further rehearsals on 29, 30 April, 13, 14, the evenings of 16, 17, 18 and performances on 20 and 21 May.

    For the Newhaven singers there will be further rehearsals on 6, 7 May, 3, 4 June and the evenings of 6, 7, 8 June and performances 9, 10, 11 June.

    Sessions will take place at weekends and evenings. To take part you will need to able to make most (ideally all) of the dates for sessions at your local event.

    To register your interest and find out more fill in the form below.

    • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

    Choose your performance and ticket type and book direct below.

     

    The story of Refrain

    • "Incredible dawn performance of #refrain at #Richmond Castle earlier this week @situationsUK @verity_standen @EnglishHeritage @Welcome2Yorks"

      Nick Joicey‏ @NickJoicey via Twitter

    • Haunting sounds of male voices at dawn.  Photography © Paul Blakemore.

      Haunting sounds of male voices at dawn. 

      Photography © Paul Blakemore.

    • John, a participant, on working with Verity: “I wanted to know what and how. I came along to the first session and I was hooked. I’ve never missed one. It’s just been fabulous.” 

    • The audience are immersed in a rising swell of voices.  Photography © Paul Blakemore.

      The audience are immersed in a rising swell of voices. 

      Photography © Paul Blakemore.

    • Jamie, a participant: “There’s something fabulous about singing in a group”

    • "A remarkable weekend in Richmond - a choir of local men marked the history of Conscientious Objection in WW1 @verity_standen @situationsUK"

      Laura McDermott via Twitter

    • A time lapse of the dawn performance at 6am on Sunday.

      © Paul Blakemore

    • The end of REFRAIN - audiences watch the men sing a rousing piece above the cells where the Richmond Sixteen were held. ...

      The end of REFRAIN - audiences watch the men sing a rousing piece above the cells where the Richmond Sixteen were held. 

      Photography © Paul Blakemore

    • Will, a participant: “I feel honoured to be a part of it, to be honest” 

    • Song at sunset. Photography by Chris Maudsley

      Song at sunset. Photography by Chris Maudsley

    • "More incredible sonic delights from Situations. #REFRAIN project here in Richmond Castle. The power of the human voice set in an ancient monument ignites fires deep in you that burn for a long, long time."

      Tom Beldam via Instagram 

    • "#Refrain conveyed the emotion and layers of cultural memory of #WWI as it still resonates 100 years later. @situationsUK"

      Josephine Mills via Twitter 

    • Harrison, a music student, reflects on the reaction of the audience last night. 

    • A sneak preview of the men assembling after a glorious dawn performance. Full photos coming soon

      A sneak preview of the men assembling after a glorious dawn performance. Full photos coming soon

    • "Judging from the rehearsals this will be something quite remarkable. Beautiful, profound, eerie and moving. The 6am dawn performance on Sunday will be particularly poignant I think."

      Adrian Cook via Facebook 

    • The 21 local men performed Refrain tonight for two busy audiences transforming the Castle with their song. Next up - 6am dawn...

      The 21 local men performed Refrain tonight for two busy audiences transforming the Castle with their song. Next up - 6am dawn performance. Free. 

      Photography © Paul Blakemore

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