Scottish Opera Pop-Up Opera Tour Three – On The Road

As rehearsals drew to a close we met at Scottish Opera’s studios on Edington Street. Our fabulous technical team set up the Stage-Lorry, which had been transformed into an underwater adventure with the newly hung backdrop designed by Iain Piercy. On the backdrop you can see Seal Island Bay where the story is set and home to the quirky characters from Bubble McBea. Our sound superman, Chris, was managing the technical rehearsal – checking levels and balance, positioning of the microphones and onstage speakers to make sure that the show would sound great no matter the weather or outside surroundings. We then tried on our costumes and performed the two shows to make sure that we smoothed over any niggly bits and made any necessary changes to accessories or clothing. It was a gloriously sunny day – hopefully it will continue into the weeks to come.

Butterflies were flying on the Wednesday morning as we were excited to open our shows to members of Scottish Opera. We held open dress rehearsals, which are essentially previews of the show allowing us to perform to an audience and ride the adrenaline rush that hits you from doing live theatre. It is a great way to prepare for opening performances as you can get really stuck in and experience how the show elevates when an audience is present.

Allan Dunn joined the team on Thursday, taking over the role of Narrator from Monday 13th September. The main focus of the rehearsal was to weave him into the performance and make sure he felt comfortable with the flow of the story-telling. This ran very smoothly, as Allan had performed the role before and actually wrote the script and text for the songs. It was a lot of fun to hear his interpretation and get inspired from the original flourishes. I look forward to seeing how his presence onstage will shape the production as I’m sure it will grow arms and legs as we take it out on tour.

As the tour commences, I thought I would break down the key points of the story so you can join me on this deep sea escapade.

Our Story takes place on one of the Scottish Isles nestled to the west – Seal Island. Here lives Bubble McBea, a young girl with a secret. She is a Silkie: part human, part seal. When she is on dry land she is just like any other girl, but when she goes in the water, she transforms and becomes part seal. This enables her to have adventures both on land and in the sea. Like any good story – all seems very calm and Bubble swims out to meet her friend Brenda the Boat lady but all of a sudden, the weather conditions dramatically change and their boat is tossed and turned amidst howling winds. The rain lashed and they were sure they’d be dashed on the rocks until the Blue Men appeared. The Blue Men, the folk on the islands call them Na Fir Ghorma, arrived to tell Bubble that they had grown angry at the mess being made of their deep-sea home, caused by the things humans have thrown into the waters. They vow that no human will cross the Minch until the humans take better care of the water and “The Darkness” is gone. Bubble is worried by this warning as the people living on Seal Island were dependent on boats being able to cross the Minch. Without safe passage, their island would be completely cut off from the mainland meaning that her community would struggle to survive. Together with her friend Brenda, father Barnacle and her trusty Sidekick Shonny the Pony they hatch a plan to find the cause of “The Darkness” that has angered the Blue Men and aspire to eliminate the pollution. You will need to come and watch one of our family friendly performances or wait until the end of the tour to find out their solution!

For those of you able to attend you can buy tickets for the shows on Scottish Opera’s website:

Dates people can buy tickets for: 

Thursday 23rd September, 18:00 – Pirates of Penzance, Kirkcudbright Primary School

Saturday 25th September, 12:00 Bubble McBea, 14:00 Pirates of Penzance, 16:00 Pirates of Penzance, The Wigtown Showfield, (Wigtown Book Festival)

48 thoughts on “Scottish Opera Pop-Up Opera Tour Three – On The Road

    1. Thank you, Patricia. I’ve only a few days left in the role now. We performed in lots of Primary Schools too during this tour, and it’s great to see the children enjoy live performances again.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you John, Bubble is a lovely character the children really enjoy the show and join in all her moves and grooves. I’ve enjoyed the roles I play in the Pirates of Penzance, last couple of days now, and I move on to rehearsals as Pamina in the Magic Flute.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  1. This looks so wonderful Charlotte, I would certainly attend if I could! I love the first photo, your so beautiful. Enjoy your performances! ❤️☺️

    1. My parents thoroughly enjoyed the Gilbert and Sullivan shows it’s a shame they never got to see Bubble. Only a couple more days then I’m back down to London before rehearsals start.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, my friend Fabio. George is keeping busy with his piano practice he has two solo piano concerts this week in Huntingdon near Cambridge. Then I’m home next week.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. I want to keep that pink feather boa, although every show it sheds a fair few feathers. The children are loving the show, we are performing two or three times a day for different primary school groups and it is great for the children to see live music again. It’s doing wonders for my stamina too.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Last couple of days of shows this week, we finish on Saturday 25th September. I’ll be making the most of them. It’s been a great summer in front of smiling families and lots of children.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Having loads of fun. I’m sorry you can’t get to see the show it would make you laugh to see the children enjoying it. A lovely reintroduction to live audiences and great for my stamina.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte xx

    1. Thanks, Gill. Do you think they’d notice if I kept the lovely colourful tunic and pink tights? Hehe.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, Christine. My next character is very different, Pamina in the Magic Flute, The Queen of the Night’s daughter. So I’ll make the most of the pink and fuzzy for the next couple of days hehe.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you, Annette. It’s been another couple of months of growth and experience, and I’ve loved it. Children teach you so much about how to hold attention, they’ll tell you exactly what they like and enjoy.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. It’s the best way to learn, I still remember all the canals and their purpose from my last tour so I’m sure the children will pick up more knowledge as well as enjoying the show. It’s been great fun.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Maria, not my most glamourous look but the kids loved my space buns, and joining in the singing and copying my dance moves. It has been great fun. Back to a more adult role next month.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. What a wonderful wish. We have been blessed this past three months with fair weather. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good weather in the last few days. Our last performance date is Saturday 25th.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Don, only two more show days and five performances to go. Then I’ll be packing up and back on my way down South. It’s quite a big drive so I’ll split it up halfway with a visit to my parents.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Bubble is a super show for children they’ve really enjoyed it. We are doing several performances each day combined with G&S Pirates so lots of dress changes. Only two more days of shows now and I’ll be on my way home.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  2. The life-preserver necklace, so very appropriate. And the Annie Lennox visage and intensity minus the melancholia.

    I can think of no better ambassador of opera to children.

    1. Thank you, my friend, if I can convert young children to wanting to experience more opera and feel the freedom to persuade their parents to go and see more at Scottish Opera then I’ll consider my work done. One mother at the late Pirates show told me her daughter had seen our Bubble McBea at her school and wouldn’t shut up until her Mum booked tickets to come and watch our Pirates show the same evening.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. I remember your recounting the tale of your insistence in having your parents take you to a performance. Usually it is the parents dragging the children. Oh, by the way, do not forget the ebullient child in your apartment’s courtyard. In spirit: CH I and CH II, and I await your three eponymous HMS battleships.

    1. Merci Pascal. Two more days of five shows, then I’ll be driving back south on Sunday. George is busy too, two solo piano concerts this week, so he’ll be practising like crazy.

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. When I saw the bright colours, I just thought YES! And asked, ‘can I keep the tunic’? The children have loved the primary school tour and have been persuading their parents to book to come and see our after school Pirates of Penzance shows. Next up is Pamina in the magic flute so I would imagine back to the more classic opera image (although you never know a Pamina in pink might be quite fetching!).

      Best wishes
      Charlotte

    1. Thank you Lakshmi, we have had a very good response to the shows. I feel very energised working with a young audience and exhausted at the end of each day.

      Best wishes have a super week,
      Charlotte

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