NOYES FLUDDE: THE STORY OF NOAH & HIS ARK
A MASTERPIECE OF ENGLISH MUSIC THEATRE FOR OUR COMMUNITY
On 25th and 26th June 2005, we staged three performances of Benjamin Britten’s ‘Noyes Fludde’ within the Benefice at the Church of St John the Baptist, Ripe.
The story of Noah and his ark is one of the most familiar Old Testament stories. It reads like a folk story but also carries the message of the triumph of faith over dark despair. Benjamin Britten based his version of the story on a medieval Miracle Play which was originally performed in pageant style around the city streets of Chester for the enlightenment and entertainment of the townspeople.
Britten’s arrangement marries the robust text of 14th century street theatre to some of his most inventive and lyrical music. The opera was written in 1958 for his local Suffolk community.
The cast list must be every child’s delight featuring as it does a large proportion of the animal kingdom including camels, leopards, goats, otters, crows, monkeys, a dove and a raven, a Suffolk bittern and even bears. Britten exercised all his ingenuity and sense of fun in his orchestral armoury, scoring for thunder and lightning and involving a Wind Machine for the great storm effects and, for rain-drops, a set of china tea cups and wooden spoons. Although written primarily for children this short opera has universal appeal and plenty of audience participation.
Britten makes the most of earthy comic relief in the obstreperous shape of Mrs Noah and her unruly drinking cronies, “the Gossips”. But Britten never loses sight of the spiritual message of survival through faith and in Britten’s hands those serious moments are some of the most radiant in English music.
This production was a community project. The idea was the brainchild of Joan Royle after she attended the Aldeburgh Festival at the Maltings in Snape, Suffolk in 2004, and it was supported by the Vicar at the time, the Reverend David Farey, as a project for the Ripe Patronal Festival. It could not have been realised without the dedicated hard work of the co-directors Pat Appleby and Jenny Lucas.
The Voice of God
Mrs Noah’s Gossips
Emma Best, Sarah Blackmore, Lorna Burns, Lara Charlesworth, Fiona Gibbs, Chloe Powell, Hannah Rawlins, Rachel Rose, Orla Sutton, Stephanie Tress
Animals from Laughton County Primary School
Luke Farey, Alexandra Webster, Zoe Banatvala, Madeleine Banatvala, Ana Sadler, John Kishore Sawney, Anastasia Walters-Woodhead, Jessica Holman, Harriet Wright, Philippa Holman, Amy Hulbert, Natalie Tawney, Ellen Lewin, Rebecca Fellows
The Sea from Laughton County Primary School
Melissa Nunn, Michael Ashmore, Alice Robinson, Hannah Phillips, Ellie Ashmore, Emma Barnes, Eva Child, Stephanie Brown, Erik Boonprakong-Kitching, Stephen Kitching, Sara Hamblin
Animals from Turners Hill CoE School
Alice Ford, Sarah Ford
Animals from North Lancing Primary School:
Dove and Raven
Gabriella Parmenter, Melissa Hartley
DIRECTORS, PRODUCERS &
Rehearsal Pianist / Coach
Stanmer Village Handbell Team
Anne Markwick (Leader), Sam Haffenden, Eunice Keyword, Pamela Quill, Barbara Roberts, Michael Shrimpton, Heather West
Assistant Stage Manager
Props Design & Construction
Poster, Programmes & Publicity Design
Flowers, Grasses & Greenery
Pat Appleby and Jenny Lucas
Joe and Ted Eriksson
Andy Appleby, Gordon Chewter, Mike Lucas, Nick Muriel
Jo Gardiner, Frances Godwin, Sylvia Howell, Sue O’Hare, Leaghie Wainwright
Ellie Royle, Bonnie Moyle, Brenda Pearce
Rebecca and Ami Reece, Michael Royle, Joan Royle, Deanland Stores
Beverly Lawrence, Gill Pedder, Ian Ross, Gill Ross, Ed Giera, Richard Wainwright, Jen Green