Thursday 8th August & Friday 9th August, 2013 20:15-20:55




THE GARDEN was commissioned by sound (North East Scotland’s Festival of New Music), and premiered in a flat in Aberdeen as part of sound’s Out of the Box (a site-­‐specific new opera season), in October 2012. Other operas premiered that weekend included Gareth Williams’s Last One Out (performed in a lighthouse), Pippa Murphy’s Bolted (performed in a stables), and Stephen Deazley’s Faust (performed on a bus).




THE GARDEN is a gentle tale of love and hope, set in a high-­‐rise flat where a couple – Mac and Jane – discover a strange plant growing through the floor of their kitchen. The more they pull up its roots, the more it grows back, its gentle insistence reminding them of important but forgotten emotions, and ultimately providing a way of reconnecting and finding each other. THE GARDEN is based on an original short play, of the same title, by the librettist Zinnie Harris, which was commissioned by the Traverse Theatre in 2009 and won a Scotsman Fringe First Award – as part of the The World is Too Much With Us season.


Although a through-­‐composed opera, it takes a musical form that combines spoken-­‐word with sung-­‐spoken and fully-­‐sung passages, as seamlessly as possible. Two singing actors have been cast in the roles of Mac and Jane and the score is performed by the composer, John Harris, on a DX-­‐7 synthesiser, with additional computer-­‐ triggered samples.

Music: John Harris

Words: Zinnie Harris

Director: Zinnie Harris

Stage Manager: Johnn Wilkie

Producer: sound (North East Scotland’s Festival of New Music)

Jane: Pauline Knowles

Mac: Alan McHugh

Artwork: Lucas Cranach the Elder, Adam and Eve


John Harris. Opera includes Scottish Opera 5:15 and shorts for Tapestry Opera, Toronto. Theatre includes: RSC, National Theatre of Scotland, Traverse Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, and Naples International Festival. Film includes BAFTA-­‐winning animation The Fingertrap. Currently under co-­‐commission by Scottish Opera and Tapestry Opera for an opera to be performed in Edinburgh and Toronto in 2015.


Zinnie Harris is a multi-­‐award-­‐winning British playwright, screenwriter, and director. She is currently Associate Artist at the Traverse Theatre and under commission to the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Court. Zinnie also writes for television and radio; she has written two dramas for Channel 4, in addition to episodes for the BBC drama series Spooks.


Pauline Knowles. Theatre includes: Tam O’Shanter, Fleeto, Wee Andy (Edinburgh Festival), Pass the Spoon (QEH), Marilyn (Citizens/Lyceum), While You Lie (Traverse), Cinderella, Othello, Yellow Moon and The Wizard of Oz (Citizens), Man of La Mancha (Lyceum), and Tutti Frutti (NTS). Television includes Case Histories and Garrow’s Law. Winner of Best Performer prize, Adelaide Festival.


Alan McHugh. Theatre includes: Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Borderline), Tally’s Blood (Byre), Sunset Song (Prime Productions), A Passionate Woman (Perth Rep), The Jolly Beggars, Bedfellows, and The Silver Darlings (Wildcat), The Grapes of Wrath (7:84/Dundee Rep), and A Taste of Honey (Arches). Television includes: Sea of Souls, River City, and Rab C Nesbitt (BBC).


John Wilkie. Recent work includes: Quiz Show (Traverse), Puss in Boots (Brunton), Big Man Walking (Vision Mechanics), Mwana (Ankur), Aladdin (Brunton), and Scarfed for Life (Citizens). Previous work includes The Ring Cycle (Scottish Opera), and Sunset Song (Prime Productions).