Recognised as a cultural leader who has the ability to reshape and revitalise opera, Ella Marchment has taken on principal roles at a number of progressive arts organisations and charities.
In 2012 Ella founded Helios Collective, a pioneering opera company that commissions and stages new compositions, reimagines works from the canon, and provides opportunities for emerging artists to work alongside pre-eminent opera performers and producers. Ella has also served as the artistic director of Danish Arts Fest, Constella OperaBallet, and Theatre N16, and she is a co-founder of SWAP’ra and an associate of Artistic Directors of the Future.
With a core belief that opera should be an engaging and accessible art form, Ella’s critically lauded productions appeal to established and new audiences alike, while also providing equitable opportunities to all onstage and offstage creatives involved in performances. In short, Ella believes that opera should be enthralling to watch, thrilling to make, and open to everyone.
Ella’s innovative projects have included new opera commissions; masterclasses led by internationally renowned directors, composers, conductors, and singers; opera club nights and festivals; a new opera format that combines opera arias with play-based scripts; an operatic short film for Channel 4; interactive animated opera productions; research-driven rescoring and restaging of canonical works; operas programmed alongside theatrical plays; international competitions for new compositions; operas combined with ballet and modern dance; a programme of initiatives designed to help opera companies support women and parents working in opera; and public-speaking engagements on the management and future of opera.
There is no doubt that Ella will be an important part of the UK and international theatre and opera scene in years to come.
– Kasper Holten, when Director of Opera, Royal Opera House
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & FOUNDER, HELIOS COLLECTIVE
Helios Collective was started on a cold winter’s night in 2012, by artistic director Ella Marchment, with little more than a Facebook group and a logo that had been drawn on a napkin.
Helios is now a trailblazing company that offers opportunities to artists across the opera-performing spectrum. Having toured nationally and internationally, Helios has rapidly earned a reputation for putting on captivating productions and specialising in the promotion of bold new works. The company is committed to being at the forefront of operatic innovation, providing unrivalled professional support to people working in opera and helping them to challenge, revitalise, and promote the genre as a vibrant art form.
In its early years, Helios produced an eclectic array of ambitious events – involving over 1500 of Britain’s most promising artists – ranging from concerts of opera scenes; a song-cycle concert series; masterclasses with leading international practitioners, including Kasper Holten (Director of Opera, the Royal Opera), Stephen Barlow (Artistic Director, Buxton Festival), Stephen Unwin (pre-eminent writer and director), David Parry (award-winning conductor), Robert Saxton (Professor of Composition, Worcester College, University of Oxford), and Bettina Bartz (dramaturg, writer, and director); a UK tour of Walton’s The Bear – along with two new compositions selected following a global competition – to the Rose Theatre Kingston, Sage Gateshead, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and St Cyprian’s, London; an international tour of Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs For A Mad King and William Walton’s Façade to the Arcola Theatre, the Rose Theatre Kingston, and the Saint Petersburg Philharmonia, Russia; an opera-ballet double-header of Stravinsky’s Renard and The Soldier’s Tale at the Bloomsbury Theatre, London, and the Swiss Church, Covent Garden; Salon Russe with The National Portrait Gallery and Bury Court Opera; Hathaway – Eight Arias For A Bardic Life at Buxton Festival and Copenhagen Opera Festival, and an operatic club-night series called Toi Toi in London.
Helios’s programming caters for people who appreciate high-quality productions, but who are also looking for new experiences and works that take them beyond the traditional canon. With award-winning directors and designers, graduates from the leading music conservatoires and drama colleges, and highly skilled professional mentors, Helios is a tight-knit operative that inspires artistic excellence in others and encourages people from diverse backgrounds to share and develop their creative talents.
More information about Helios Collective can be found on the company’s website by following this link.
The night was thrilling, enjoyable and so refreshing.
– Cate Burgess
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & FOUNDER, DANISH ARTS FEST
Danish Arts Fest, held at Engestofte Gods, in the Lolland region, is Denmark’s first country-house opera festival.
The festival is designed around a double-bill format that offers rural access to canonical operatic works while simultaneously expanding the Danish repertoire.
Danish Arts Fest:
- PROMOTES the landscape, culture, and community that makes Denmark so unique, embodying Danish spirit in the heart of its productions
- FURTHERS Denmark’s position as a cultural leader, nurturing and promoting the country as an internationally viable creator of innovative opera
- INCREASES accessibility throughout Denmark to both existing and contemporary opera by taking productions out of the city and into the countryside, to areas that currently have low levels of artistic engagement
More information about Danish Arts Fest can be found on the company’s website by following this link.
Danish Arts Fest looks to be a vital force on the Danish and northern European operatic scene and has hit upon a refreshing way of presenting new work alongside neglected gems from the past.
– Andrew Mellor, journalist and critic
SWAP’ra is a charitable organisation founded by a group of artists who are working to bring about positive change for women and parents employed in opera.
- CHALLENGES preconceptions in order to improve attitudes towards women and parents in the arts
- COLLATES data from existing artists in the industry and offers effective and workable solutions for companies
- CELEBRATES professional achievements in an industry where women are under-represented in many areas
- PROVIDES a friendly, supportive, and non-judgemental community
- OFFERS a platform for performance and publicity
More information about SWAP’ra can be found on the company’s website by following this link.
Working with SWAP’ra points to a new way of looking at working practices in opera, while being realistic about the unusual nature of the business itself.
– Opera Holland Park
DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTIONS, CONSTELLA OPERABALLET
Constella Ballet & Orchestra was founded in 2011 by conductor Leo Geyer. The company has given over sixty critically acclaimed performances across the UK – including broadcasts on national radio and television – and it has established a reputation for showcasing exceptionally talented artists in exhilarating and experimental productions.
Constella’s aim is to present music and dance as equals through a synthesis of opera and ballet. In creating rich, diverse, and captivating productions, Constella specialises in producing coherent and compelling dramas that take audiences into thought-provoking and uncharted artistic waters.
In 2015 Helios Collective and Constella staged a double-bill co-production of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale and Renard at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, which led to Ella becoming Constella’s director of productions. Today, the company is known as Constella OperaBallet.
With a growing portfolio of national and international opera-directing commitments, Ella stepped down from her role as Constella OperaBallet’s director of productions in March 2018.
More information about Constella OperaBallet can be found on the company’s website by following this link.
Fun, fizzing, and contemporary.
– Suzy Klein, BBC Radio 3
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR & CO-FOUNDER, THEATRE N16
Theatre N16 launched above the White Hart pub in Stoke Newington, London, in May 2015 with a packed programme of original plays and operas. Following the success of its opening season, the theatre moved to a larger venue above the Bedford Pub in Balham, London, in September 2015.
Co-founded by Jamie Eastlake and Ella Marchment, Theatre N16 works tirelessly to promote cutting-edge productions across both theatre and opera.
The theatre also provides a supportive and cost-effective space in which visiting companies can showcase their creations to a wide spectrum of London’s theatre-going public and professional critics.
With a growing portfolio of national and international opera-directing commitments, Ella stepped down from her role at Theatre N16 in 2016.
Director Ella Marchment skilfully deals with the shift into seriousness and captures so many heartbreakingly bleak moments well.
– Views From The Gods