Millions of Years

ENO’s new production of Akhnaten provided a springboard for a large scale community project involving 120 adults and young people from across London. Participants worked together with professional artists from ENO to create Millions of Years, a site-specific music theatre piece which took place in the Great Court of The British Museum.

Over 8 weeks in Spring 2016, participants created a series of moving tableaux, learning extracts from the opera and generating original material in response to the opera and The British Museum collection.

The group of non-professional performers was made up of a mixed age adult community chorus, including members of ENO Community Choir and Streetwise Opera’s Explore group, young performers from Brixton Youth Theatre and Raw Material, and a team of non-professional jugglers recruited through our partnership with Gandini Juggling.

A group of young designer/makers from the Sorrell Foundation’s National Art & Design Saturday Club at London Metropolitan University created headdresses for the performance.

Principal countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, who sung the title role in ENO’s production of Akhnaten, members of the Gandini skills ensemble and a professional instrumental ensemble joined the performers for the final rehearsal and performance.

In partnership with Improbable, Streetwise Opera, Gandini Juggling, Brixton Youth Theatre, Raw Material, The Sorrell Foundation, London Metropolitan University, the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL and The British Museum.

Explore the themes, music and drama of Akhnaten in our Akhnaten learning resource (pdf).

The project was kindly supported by Shaftesbury PLC and Sue Sheridan OBE.