Ella Jarman-Pinto (Composer)
Jennifer Farmer (writer)
Simone Ibbett-Brown (performer)
Simone Seales (performer)
belly/back is an interactive communal opera evoking what it means to not only retain, but to centre your softness when existing in Black neurodivergent femme and politically feminised bodies. It is a collaboration with artists and organisations of African heritage that draws on stone circles and other spaces made sacred through ancestral knowledge and ritual.
Ella Jarman-Pinto is a critically acclaimed storytelling composer, described in 2020 as ‘one of the UK’s most exciting music-makers’ by Classic FM and recognised by Women Of The Year Lunch 2021. In 2021 Ella received BBC Radio 3’s flagship commission for International Women’s Day. Producer Olwen Fisher, who commissioned Ella, said of the music: ‘It is a piece of such power and beauty that it took my breath away.’ Ella focuses her music on storytelling, working with Directors, Writers, Librettists & Poets who reject the phrase ‘this is how things are done here’, and whose stories move towards positive change. Recent works include: :Insert Expletive Here: (2022) explores lived experiences of racism. Commissioned by East London Music Group, Matthew Hardy, Artistic Director said that ‘it was clear how much [the piece] made many people think about these ideas that they hadn’t engaged with in the past’. Girls Are Coming Out Of The Woods (Poet Tishani Doshi, for Soprano and Piano), was commissioned by Donne, Women In Music and premiered at Royal Albert Hall in October 2022. Founder Gabriella Di Laccio: ‘Everytime I read [through the piece] I have goosebumps’. Ella’s album, Lemon Verbena, with poet Jo Brandon, (funded by PRS Foundation and Kickstarter), will be released Winter 2023.
A queer African-American writer for performance and facilitator, Jennifer Farmer centres and collaborates with systematically excluded narratives and communities, such as disenfranchised young people (The Fall of Lucifer, 2008; Truth or Dare, 2012 and 2017, Belgrade Theatre), womxn in prison (Compact Failure, Clean Break national tour, 2004), young people w/dyslexia and autism (Turtle Key Arts), refugees/displaced communities (Hear My Voice, TRSE), users of the mental healthcare system (V&A Museum) and intergenerational community groups (Urban Dreams, London Bubble, 2008 and City Final, site-specific, 2018, Belgrade Theatre). Other work includes: Looking At the Sun (BAC Opera Season, 2001), clean (BBC Radio 3, 2003), words, words, words (Tricycle Theatre, 2006), Bulletproof Soul (Birmingham Rep, 2007), Waltzing Tomatoes (Ithaca Gallery, USA, 2013 and international festivals) and Between Constellations (Pittsburgh Festival Opera, USA; Grimeborn Festival, Arcola Theatre, 2018). Recent projects include Link In My Bio, an interactive opera, supported by enoa, Britten Pears Arts, and TVL, on the global rise of the Alt-Right; How Far Apart, commissioned by Utopia Theatre and supported by the Wellcome Trust, examining medical racism’s impact on Black women’s experience of childbirth; the dream(ing) field larden (will be our city) (Toynbee Studios, 2021), commissioned by Julie’s Bicycle and Artsadmin to facilitate Black women/femmes in re-visioning their relationship with environmental issues.
Originally from Florida, Simone Seales is a Glasgow-based cellist who completed their postgraduate studies at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2021. They focus on free improvisation (both tonal and atonal) and devising music for theatre. Simone is passionate about exploring sound, how sound can reflect emotional states of being and how emotions are embodied. Their creative influences come from Black feminist leaders such as Audre Lorde, Assata Shakur and bell hooks. Within Simone’s creative work, they centre Blackness, sexuality, intersectional feminism and anti-racism. They believe Western Classical musicians are capable of making meaningful social change. Simone is a recipient of the Sphinx MPower Artist Grant (2022
Simone Ibbett-Brown is a mezzo-soprano and opera-maker passionate about work that brings joy, and reflects and affects the world we live in. She is a BBC Radio 3 Next Generation Voice 2019, and Women of the Future Awards-winner 2020. Recent performances: Amneris, Aida, Opera Festival Scotland; Earth Song Cycle, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; Grace, Opera Mums, BBC Four; Mami Wata, Royal Opera House Linbury Theatre; Melissa, La Liberazione di Ruggiero, Longborough Festival Opera; O King, London Sinfonietta; Passepartout, Around the World in 80 Days, West Green House Opera. Forthcoming engagements include her Canadian debut, workshops of two new operas, and making her first solo album.