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Creativity flows for River Keeper project.

RIDIE Jackson and The Arbour have been working on an exciting new project with a group of homeless singers.

BUK charity Streetwise Opera has teamed up with the folk quartet to compose and perform a brand-new opera.

The River Keeper is the first of three small operas in Streetwise Opera's Little Opera Season 2014-15 and will be premiered at Gateshead Old Town Hall next month.

The award-winning charity, which uses music and performance to help homeless people make positive changes in their lives, has created a number of acclaimed film and opera pieces.

Bridie Jackson is delighted to be working with the charity after being commissioned to write the music for The River Keeper.

She said: "I have admired the work Streetwise Opera do for a long time, so it's a real honour to be asked to compose a new piece for this incredible group, whose fearless and committed working style is nothing short of inspirational. Musically, it's been an exciting opportunity to work outside of my comfort zone, and I'm looking forward to being involved in performing the new piece."

Bridie Jackson and The Arbour will be accompanying the Streetwise Opera performers, as well as opening the show on December 10.

The River Keeper was a collaborative effort between composer Bridie, writer Nell Leyshon (author of The Colour of Milk), and director Annie Rigby (of Unfolding Theatre).

It is a timeless story of hope, love and the power of the elements. The poignant and darkly humorous tale is created from the stories told by the cast of Streetwise Opera performers.

The River Keeper has lived on the riverbank for 100 years, watching as people feed their hopes and dreams into the waters, and longs to be freed from her lonely life.

streetwiseopera founder Matt Peacock said: "Ever since our North since our North East groups sang Bridie's Final Lullaby for the Holocaust Memorial Day, I have wanted us to work with her again. Her music is sensational and she is one of the most exciting artists working in the North East. We all feel very excited that she, writer Nell Leyshon and director Annie Rigby are creating a new short opera that will launch our first Little Opera Season." The River Keeper will be performed by a cast of 40 North East performers, who have all been attending Streetwise Opera's weekly community music workshops.

The charity runs regular programmes in the North East at mima in Middlesbrough, the Sage Gateshead and in Changing Lives' homelessness centres in Newcastle.

Bridie said: "Music is such a positive thing and it's an important part of people's lives. It's great to be involved in this project as music is something that people can do together.

"The River Keeper has enabled the performers to focus on music and use it as a release."

You can see The River Keeper and Bridie Jack-iver Jackson and The Arbour at Gateshead Old Town Hall on Wednesday. The show starts at 7:30pm and tickets cost PS10 or PS7. For more information go to www.streetwiseop-|era.org/river-keeper

Bridie Jackson and The Arbour chat to SARAH JEFFERY about their unique musical project

CAPTION(S):

Above, the cast of The River Keeper rehearse at the Sage Gateshead, over-seen by Annie Rigby, Bridie Jackson and Simon Fidler, right

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Dec 5, 2014
Words:549
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