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A house on the moon

A House on the Moon was a collaboration between ETO and the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre, along with the Light House Media Centre, the Wolverhampton Music Service and West Midlands Refugee Arts. 5 months of workshops with 9 different groups in the community led to performances in June 2007 of a full-length new opera. Nearly 200 people – amateur and professional – from every background and of every ability took part as singers, actors, players, dancers and filmmakers. The story of A House on the Moon reflected the journey that many people make every year to the UK. Much of the narrative was based on the true story of Mohammed, a young man from Kabul, forced to leave home and parents at 14 to embark on a long journey to the West Midlands. A documentary following both the process and the performances was premiered at the Light House in September.

Composers         Kate Pearson, Helen Chadwick

Writer/Director    Tim Yealland

Poet                     Saadi Youssef

Animator              Babis Alexiadis

(It) couldn’t fail to move… participants whizz around in wheelchairs, all singing lustily and acting even more energetically… When the groups all come together in Space Song – “The road to the stars is ablaze with light” – the effect is powerful and illuminating. The setting for A House on the Moon seems like the whole world, the action spanning several years. Yet in this unlikely fusion of disparate performers, a universal story is brought to life through the healing and cohesive power of music.


Take some refugees, a gang of schoolkids and a few professional musicians and what do you get? A poignant, slightly bonkers new opera… The poignant sits easily with the delightfully bonkers… To watch [musicians Zirak Hamad and Mustafa Abassi-Zadeh] play, build friendships and contribute to A House on the Moon, is to see behind the refugee label. These are musicians with breathtaking skills.


Refugees’ stories have created a remarkable opera with children… weaving together sounds that immediately evoke other environments, other histories.


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