Arts News


Heritage brought to life through Contemporary Arts, Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site


Constella OperaBallet brings the heritage of Derbyshire village Darley Abbey to life on 8th May with an innovative online festival of newly commissioned dance, music and drama, including the premiere of a song for Darley Abbey. Giant decorated bobbins, and threads of bunting have also all been created in collaboration with the local community.

In partnership with Darley Abbey Day 2021 and Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, internationally renowned artists from Constella OperaBallet have created “Spin A Tale”. This inspirational series of seven short films has been made in collaboration with Darley Abbey residents and performed by professional singers, dancers and actors from Derbyshire and beyond. The films will be shown at an online premiere on Saturday 8th May at 11am.

The series of “Moments” highlight aspects of Darley Abbey’s history and the village’s place in the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site: Darley Abbey is home to the most complete surviving 18th Century Mill complex in the world. 

The films include a performance of “Introit” from Fauré’s Requiem with over 30 voices from Derbyshire and beyond. “Water Hymn” is an opera-ballet performance celebrating the power of water. “Tangled” is a contemporary dance featuring a solo dancer entwined in thread and “Brick Row” is a music-drama showcasing a snapshot of 18th and 19thcentury life in Darley Abbey. 

Leo Geyer, artistic director, Constella OperaBallet said, “Spin a Tale” has been two years in the making and has undergone many twists and turns as we’ve navigated through the pandemic. I am exceptionally proud of Constella’s artistic team, the Darley Abbey community and partner organisations for their unrelenting creative energy. Together, we have found ingenious ways to collaborate and bring together several hundred people in an ambitious, interdisciplinary celebration of Darley Abbey.”

Spin A Tale has been made possible thanks to funding through the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England for the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site Great Place Scheme.

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Photo, Crowds enjoying Garden of Light, by TILT. Lumiere London 2016, produced by Artichoke, supported by Mayor of London. Credit Matthew Andrews 2016.

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Photo, Jennie Gill, Yorkshire Artspace, Sheffield. Photo Our Favourite Places / Nigel Barker for Yorkshire Artspace.