Able Orchestra wow audience with performance inspired by historic Papplewick Pumping Station

Published 31st March 2022

The multi-award-winning Able Orchestra have released a video of their latest work, featuring guest artists such as virtuoso Control One player Jess Fisher and players from the Sinfonia Viva Orchestra, which was performed at the opening of Portland College’s Newstart Theatre in February.

In conjunction with the Miner2Major Landscape Partnership Scheme, which is supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund,  the piece was created using inspiration from audio and visual recordings at one of Nottinghamshire’s finest heritage locations, Papplewick Pumping Station.

The recordings of the pumping station in steam were used as inspiration for a week-long intensive series of workshop, coordinated by digital artist Bec Smith from Urban Projections and Si Tew from Digit Music, to create the music and light installation for the performance. The performance marked the first part of a longer project that will see a follow up film featuring visuals from the pumping station with the recorded soundtrack.

Watch the 'Making of' video below to see how the performance came together

Bec Smith said “The idea of the piece was to create an immersive environment for the audience so the piece was performed in the round so they could move 360 degrees around the piece, and be able to look up close at what the performers were controlling, as they control both the audio and the visual.

Marshall, an Able Orchestra musician, said “I really wanted to work on the project as working with musicians with disability and needing to include others is something I’m definitely into. I’ve always advocated for wanting to make music as accessible as possible, so I really enjoyed taking part.”

Si Tew commented “we wanted to create a performance that was inclusive and accessible and it kind of had that sensory element to it as well.”

Designed by Thomas Hawksley in the late 1800s, the fully restored Papplewick Pumping Station is regarded as one of Europe’s great industrial monuments.  Thanks to National Lottery players we have been able to work with the talented musicians from the Sinfonia Viva Orchestra and the Able Orchestra to create a stunning musical response that celebrates the magnificence of this heritage gem.

View the full performance video below

The Able Orchestra was created by Inspire Youth Arts and is a unique inclusive ensemble of young disabled musicians who have worked on collaborations with the Hallé Orchestra, and were selected in 2016 to perform as part of the BBC Ten Pieces Proms at the Royal Albert Hall to 12,000 people, as well as performances at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham.

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