Our new members-exclusive digital series.

As valued members of our community at Britten Pears Arts, we know many of our Friends and members enjoy opportunities to find out more about our work and meet members of our team and artistic community that support all that we do. We know that for some members who live further afield, it isn’t always possible for you to visit us at Snape Maltings and The Red House, so we want to bring them to you.

This year, we have developed a specially curated digital series to give you just that. Our new members-exclusive online series, Digital Discussions, hosted on Zoom webinar, invites a line-up of panellists from both within and outside Britten Pears Arts, to discuss a chosen topic of interest. Featuring guest talks, short archive lectures, and Q&A sessions, Digital Discussions spotlights our work, whilst looking at its historical foundations, sparking conversations and revealing histories from the depths of our archive. This can all be enjoyed from the comfort of your home!

A black and white photograph of people in animal costume

An early performance of Britten’s Noyes Fludde, 1960s.

A group of actors dressed as animals in a Britten production in the 1960's

Our first of four events in the series – ‘Making The Arts Useful’ – was a great success. Focussing on the contemporary work of Britten Pears Arts, whilst casting our minds back to the work of its founders Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears, the event gave a behind-the-scenes insight into how ‘community’ shapes our initiatives.

Sarah Bardwell, host of Digital Discussions and Executive Director at Britten Pears Arts, spoke to our panellists Callum Given, Head of Community, Siân Dicker, Community Artist and Britten Pears Young Artist Programme alumna, and Chris Hilton, Head of Archive and Library, about what community means to them, in the context of their work.

It seems our community work never stops, as Callum told us what a ‘week in Community’ looks like for himself and his busy team. We heard all about the diverse communities our work reaches and the professional musicians employed to deliver this range of activities. This included our guest speaker, soprano, Siân, who told us how her work with Participate developed from her initial beginnings in musical development as a Britten Pears Young Artist. You can see more of Siân’s work at Britten Pears Arts in the clips below:

We want our Digital Discussions to also connect our members to our history. On the topic of putting the arts to use, Chris narrated us through the archive on Britten and Pears’ journey with community, looking locally to their work at Orford Church, before taking us international, with a look into Britten and the African National Congress. You can watch the full recording of the event below, to find out more about these far-reaching connections:

You can download a copy of the slides used in the presentation, to view at your leisure using the link below:

Our next Digital Discussion event.

The next event of this digital series, 'A Right Royal Affair' will take place on Tuesday 25 April, and is set to be an exciting reveal. With kind permission of the Royal Household, we will be releasing the long-hidden letters exchanged between our late Queen Elizabeth II and Benjamin Britten, ahead of their release in a public exhibition during the first week of the Aldeburgh Festival in June. Interpreted to be an early acknowledgement of a homosexual relationship by a monarch, the release of these letters has been managed alongside the Royal Archives. The letters tell a lovely story of a professional relationship developing into a form of friendship and casual address.

This will be an Archive-exclusive, featuring an extended archive talk to delve not only into the letters, but also the opera that celebrated the late Queen’s coronation – Gloriana. With stunning costume designs and materials related to the score itself, this event will be one not to miss.

To ensure all our members get a chance to hear more about the royal correspondence ahead of their release to the public, this digital event will be partnered with a ticketed, in-person event on the same day. Therefore, if you can’t make it in-person, why not join us digitally? Pop the date in your diary: Tuesday 25 April.

The digital event on Tuesday 25 April will be partnered with a ticketed, in-person event on the same day. Pop the date in your diary. Further details will follow by email.

Future events for Friends and members.

Our Development Team are hard at work curating a wonderful series of events and opportunities for you to find out more about our work, and to meet other like-minded people passionate about music. This year we’ve got plans to host an Art-fternoon tea; a fun-filled summer afternoon of Britten and Gamesmanship; and a celebration of 10 years of the Archive.

Our events are offered in person and/or live to Friends and members, and digital events by online recording to our Introductory Members. This year we will also be hosting in person events at The Red House and the Archive giving opportunities to get up close to artefacts and to hear from experts; events to meet our artists and members of the Britten Pears Arts team; and receptions to meet and chat with one another.

If you would like to talk to us about the different levels of membership or would like more information about our member events please contact us: joinus@brittenpearsarts.org, or call us on 01728 687131. Please also let us know if you have any ideas of events you would like to see us offer.

We look forward to seeing you at an event soon.

Our community work is made possible with the generous support of our Trusts and Foundations, corporate partners, and individual supporters.

We are also grateful to The Vernon Ellis Foundation for their generous support of our community work.