Success for WOHIN – WHERE TO? at the Aldeburgh Festival

It was such a joy to perform my show WOHIN – WHERE TO? at the beginning of June to a full house at Britten Pears Arts Aldeburgh Festival! So proud of and grateful to mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean and pianist Bradley Wood for the immense work they’ve put in, learning several versions of the same show all at once, for where all the audience choices diverge. Plus we couldn’t have done it without direction from the amazing Olivia Fuchs, who managed to fine tune the script and give the piece its shape in just one day of workshopping.

We received rave reviews from the audience, including:

“I think the format is absolutely brilliant… the fact that the audience are involved in choosing really brings it to life for them, and the fact that it fits together whichever order choices are made is a lovely twist, which I enjoyed enormously.”

“The show felt very relaxed because we all were invited to be part of it.”

“I thought it was absolutely fabulous… It really did bring tears to my eyes, it was very moving.” (From an audience member in a wheelchair)

“Really interesting! As someone who’s grown up playing pick-a-path books and video games … I loved the moments where it was clear how our choices impacted the story.”

“I’d never been to anything like this before … My favourite moment was when, at the end of the show, you revealed how things might have gone differently. It gives a sense of how the show exists in more ways than we could have possibly seen in one go.”

“It was magical, joyful and had a lovely buzzing atmosphere about it. It was entertaining, it was witty, and really thoughtfully and carefully put together, both in terms of what [music] was programmed, how the choices were put together, and also the dialogue. It showcased so many different things, and was a very rich experience.”

We even had a wonderful review from major German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, who had this to say:

“In these opening days of the festival, the curators’ desire to experiment with new concert forms was striking. 

The singing duo Kieran Rayner and Lotte Betts-Dean hit the nail on the head. 

The starting point of their duo-recital on the subject of hiking was the song “Wohin?” (“Where To?”) From Franz Schubert’s “Die Schöne Müllerin”. It was however the audience that voted on the itinerary. We were surprised by an exquisite selection of songs, ranging from Schubert to Pauline Viardot-García, Johannes Brahms, Karol Szymanowski and Stephen Sondheim to songs of today. Theatrical interludes created a thread of action between the songs. 

The experiment showed what new forms of performance are possible when musical and acting skills are combined with an enterprising spirit and the joy of communicating with the audience. The song recital is far from dead, as culture sceptics would have us believe.”

Thanks so much to Sofi Newell, George Lee, Graeme Law, Roger Wright, Sophie Harley and all at the Britten Pears Young Artist Programme for their hard work and support, and for this opportunity to experiment with a genre that until now existed only in my head. I’ve been thinking about this for literal years!

And to our lovely audience, we are so grateful for your wonderful and generous response! You’ve only seen one of six(!) different versions of the show, so watch this space – we’ll be back for more in new places soon we hope 💚💚

For those of you in NZ, fear not, it was filmed, with top sound from the Snape Maltings tech team – evidenced by our popstar mics! Extracts from this will be coming your way soon.

Ngā mihi,