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News: About the School

20 March 2012

Iain Burnside presents A Soldier and a Maker

A new production based on the music, poems and letters of Ivor Gurney

20, 21, 26, 27 & 28 April at 7:30pm, 21 & 28 April at 2pm and 22 April at 6pm, The Pit, Barbican Centre

Interweaving original material with archival material including Gurney’s own music, poems and letters, Iain Burnside presents a unique piece of music theatre, combining 16 singers, two pianists and one actor. A Soldier and a Maker is a mixture of the archival and the imagined, of fact and fiction.

Three-quarters of a century after his death Ivor Gurney is now celebrated as both poet and composer. He studied at the Royal College of Music with Charles Villiers Stanford before the Great War, and Vaughan Williams. Gurney began to write poetry and songs seriously during World War I. In 1918 Gurney suffered the first of his breakdowns, triggered in part by the end of a love affair. He continued to compose, producing songs, instrumental pieces, chamber music and orchestral works, but in 1922 he was declared insane and interned in a mental hospital, where he was detained for the last 15 years of his life.

Burnside’s desire to dramatise elements of Gurney’s life came when recording some of the composer’s songs with the mezzo Susan Bickley. A Soldier and a Maker is his first full length stage work and follows a series of devised theatre pieces specially made for singers and pianists at the Guildhall School.

Iain Burnside is a pianist and Sony Award-winning broadcaster who is also acclaimed as a programmer. He has previously devised innovative recitals combining music and poetry with actors Simon Russell Beale, Fiona Shaw and Harriet Walter. Over the past 10 years, Burnside has worked with Guildhall singers and pianists to evolve new ways of presenting the song repertoire, including Lads in their Hundreds, a fully-staged anthology of songs about war and warfare. His extensive recordings feature a special interest in English Song. He is a Research Associate at the Guildhall School.

Performer Richard Goulding (Ivor Gurney) is an acting alumnus of the Guildhall School, where he currently works as visiting director. In his final year he joined the RSC productions of King Lear and The Seagull (Stratford-Upon-Avon, BAM New York, New London Theatre). Other theatre includes An English Tragedy (Watford Palace Theatre), Posh (Royal Court/Duke of York’s Theatre), Double Feature (NT), Good (Manchester Royal Exchange), The Way of the World (Sheffield Crucible). He has appeared on television in MI HighDoctors, and Foyle’s War and on film in King Lear and The Iron Lady. Richard is a founding member of Lone Wolf Theatre Company.

Iain Burnside director
Giuseppe and Emma Belli designers
Victoria Newlyn movement
James Southby lighting designer
Stuart Calder associate producer

Starring Richard Goulding

Performers include: Richard Goulding (Ivor Gurney), Bethan Langford (Winifred Gurney), Ciarán O’Leary (Ronald Gurney/Chivers), Holly Marie Bingham (Ethel Gurney/Enid), Samuel Smith (F.W Harvey), Kate Reynolds (Rose/Nurse Wallace), Adam Gilbert (Doctor Terry/Arburthnot), Jennie Witton (Marion Scott), Alison Langer (Florence/Radio Girl), Anna Gillingham (Mabel/Helen Thomas), Sophie Kochanowska (Sybil/Nurse Drummond), Nick Allen (Herbert Howells), Alex Knox (Taylor/Dr Steen), Justin Snyder (Walter/Reg), Adam Sullivan (Tug), Daniel Hawkins (Snowy), Dominick Felix (Billy), Timothy Connor (Wilf/Dr Templeton), Gavin Roberts (Alfie/Eddie)

Unreserved tickets: £15 (£5 concessions) available from the Barbican Box Office 020 7638 8891 (