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Music and literature combine in Calderstones garden concert series


Music comes to the 1940s Art Deco garden theatre at Calderstones this summer in a new initiative which marries melody and literature.

The Reader has joined forces with Liverpool charity Early Music as Education to stage five open-air concerts which are inspired by works from The Reader Bookshelf.

They will feature a comic opera, 17th and 18th Century chamber music selected in response to Book I of William Wordsworth’s The Prelude, and a sacred music production based on the oldest written story on earth - The Epic of Gilgamesh.

The Reader Bookshelf is an annual programme of curated great literature which in 2021 is Walking the Earth.

The Sounds in the Park series opens on Sunday, June 20 at 3pm with The Epic of Gilgamesh – Emanuele Rincón d’Astorga, Stabat Mater. That concert is repeated on Thursday, June 24 at 7pm.

William Wordsworth’s The Prelude - The Wondering Fiddlers is on Sunday, August 1 at 3pm, and on Thursday and Friday, August 5-6 at 7pm it’s the turn of comic opera with a performance of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona (The Maid as Mistress).

Anna Farrell, head of Calderstones programmes, said: “The outdoor garden theatre was born out of the most testing times in the 1940s – the Second World War. People had to make many sacrifices and changes. Travelling for leisure and trips to the seaside were off the table, so people began looking for recreation in their local area.

The Calderstones garden theatre in the 1940s. Top: As it is today


“As we go through our own challenging times, we're delighted to be able to bring the theatre back to life this summer for people.

“Music and literature are great ways to connect and reflect on our experiences, and what better way to do it than in the great outdoors?”

EMAE Director Dr Alberto Sanna said: “The idea of a concert series has been in the making for quite some time, as has the partnership with The Reader.”

Audiences are invited to bring their own seats or blankets and during the afternoon performances, picnics can be ordered to enjoy as well.

Tickets for each concert are £10 for adults and £6 for under 18s. Children under 10 go free and family tickets are £24. More details and booking HERE