1 Dec 2006

Eddington? I prefer opera.


Today sees the launch of And While London Burns - a compelling collision of thriller, opera and guided walk that dramatically explores London's Square Mile and its role in climate change.

An 'opera for one', it takes the audience equipped with an mp3-player on a walking audio adventure through the skyscrapers, streets and alleyways of the City.

This unusual work catapults the climate crisis from the cold realms of science and economics into the emotional world of culture.

And While London Burns leads the headphone-wearing participants on a mystery tour, experiencing the City through the eyes of a tormented financial worker, who encounters Roman ruins, real life City characters, bank trading rooms, buried rivers, and relics from the Great Fire. The audio tour explores the role of companies including BP, Royal Bank of Scotland and Swiss Re in fueling climate change.

Starring recent Olivier Award nominee Douglas Hodge[1], and produced by award -winning arts company PLATFORM,[2] the track is downloadable for free from http://www.andwhilelondonburns.com and can be experienced at any time of the week.

Pre-viewing theatre critic Robert Butler writes [3]: "The journey becomes a magical mystery tour, a London walk, a political essay, a short story and a requiem"

James Marriott [4], co-writer, says: "The theme of this opera is not fiction, and this is emphasised by it being staged in real space, among real characters. This is a soundtrack for the era of climate change".

John Jordan [5], fellow librettist, continued: "We know the numbers, graphs, models and terrifying predictions of the climate catastrophe that faces us, but until we are truly moved to feel the scale of the crisis, then there is little hope that our society will go beyond the cataclysmic scenario of business as usual."

Composer Isa Suarez's [6] stirring score evokes London's fiery past, oil drenched present and a dark unknowable future and is performed by some of the UK's best contemporary musicians including BBC Jazz award winning clarinettist Alan Barnes and acclaimed cellist Robin Michael. She describes And While London Burns as a "requiem for the warming world."

Press Contacts:
James Marriott: 0207 403 3738
Greg Muttitt (till Sunday 3rd Dec): 07970 589 611
Dan Gretton (after Monday 4th Dec): 07749 422 953

A press photograph is available for use in print media

Notes to editors

1. One of the UK's most versatile actors, Douglas Hodge has recently starred in Titus Andronicus for The Globe and the West End run of Guys and Dolls. He has just finished playing Ewan Mc Gregor's lover in the hit British film Scenes of a Sexual Nature.

2. PLATFORM works across disciplines for social and ecological justice. It combines the transformatory power of art with the tangible goals of campaigning, the rigour of in-depth research with the vision to promote alternative futures. http://www.platformlondon.org

3. Robert Butler, author and theatre critic, was drama critic of the Independent on Sunday from 1995-2000. His most recent book is 'The Art of Darkness - Staging the Philip Pullman Trilogy' (Oberon 2004). The review appears on http://www.ashdendirectory.org.uk/featuresView.asp?pageIdentifier=20061130_63053531&view=

4. James Marriott, Co-Director of PLATFORM, has been researching London's oil & gas sector since 1995. He is the author of 'The Next Gulf - London, Washington & the Oil Conflict in Nigeria' (Constable 2005) and is an AHRC Research Fellow at the Department of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, University of London.

5. Artist activist John Jordan was co-founder of the infamous anti-globalisation collective Reclaim the Streets. He is co-editor of 'We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism'(Verso 2003). He worked on the film "The Take" about the economic crisis in Argentina with Naomi Klein and set up the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army in 2003.

6. Trained classically as a musician, Isa Suarez is a composer, sound artist and songwriter working since 1988 on film and TV, contemporary art, songs and multimedia productions. She has released albums internationally and exhibited at Tate Britain London and Whitechapel Art Gallery. She was recently awarded an artist residency in Southwark, London and is currently preparing a multimedia piece about human rights. http://www.isasuarez.com


edited by : Notes from Nowhere - published by VERSO and soon in 6 languages.

Catastrophic Climate Chaos requires radical action, not market techno fixes and greenwash.

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