New Birmingham arts project The Russians Are Coming needs members of the public to take part in an Easter Sunday afternoon ‘flash mob’ at Millennium Point.
The Birmingam Opera Company needs actors, dancers and flash-mobbers to take part in its hour-long improvised performance.
The project also involves eight young filmmakers being mentored by a team of broadcast professionals alongside the company’s artistic director Graham Vick and associate director Richard Willacy.
The group of 18 to 25-year-olds are being coached in camera work, directing, sound, lighting and editing.
Their job is to make a series of performance-based films around Musorgsky’s four part song cycle, The Songs and Dances of Death, featuring professional singers Anne-Marie Owens, Steven Maughan, Sergey Rybin and Birmingham-born Byron Jackson.
Following on from the company’s internationally-acclaimed production of Stockhausen’s Mittwoch for the London 2012 Festival, Easter Sunday’s flash mob event will focus on the fourth song in the cycle, The Commander.
The volunteer participants will feature in the resulting film which is a departure from the company’s usual audience-based productions.
The digital project will enable the first phase of The Russians Are Coming… to be screened to an international audience via the Birmingham Opera Company website.
Supported by BBC Birmingham and the BBC Academy, The Russians Are Coming... is being directed by documentary maker, John Martin-White who was co-director of Verdi: The Director’s Cut, a BBC2 documentary about Graham Vick and his production of Verdi’s Othello in 2009.
Birmingham Opera Company General Manager Jean Nicholson said: “We’re constantly looking for ways of bringing opera to new audiences and this project fulfils our brief to extend our digital reach and manage our own distribution.
“By merging the talents of our senior creative team with the skills of experienced film-makers we aim to replicate as closely as possible the immersive experience that makes our productions unique.”
Millennium Point’s chief executive Philip Singleton said: “We’re really excited that Birmingham Opera Company is coming to Millennium Point with this live performance.
“Visitors to the building have a unique opportunity to get involved this holiday weekend.
“This is exactly the kind of surprise we want to see here.
“Our atrium is a fantastic space which will lend itself perfectly to this impromptu performance.
“I hope this flash mob will attract dozens of aspiring actors who want to be part of another Birmingham Opera Company experience.”
The Russians Are Coming will culminate in April 2014 with a site-specific performance of Musorgsky’s The Khovansky Files in partnership with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Note: the event is not open to children below the age of 16. Anyone between 16-18 who would like to be part of the flash mob will need to attend with a parent who can sign a filming permission form on the day. Alternatively they can download a parental permission form at the website in advance and return it completed to Birmingham Opera Company.