Category: Opera | Music Theatre


We Are In Time

Scottish Ensemble & Untitled Projects
in association with Perth Theatre

We Are In Time

Two bodies, suspended in darkness.
A team of surgeons, poised as one.
A gathered chorus, singing of life and death.
And a human heart, speeding through the city…

Unfurling through song, words and a visionary live score for strings and electronics, We Are In Time follows the extraordinary journey of two strangers, one giving life, the other receiving it. Musicians are at once performers, chorus and specialist team as the drama between renowned mezzo-soprano Ruby Philogene and vocalist Jodie Landau unfolds, and time ticks on.

The result is a thought-provoking meditation on life, and on what it means to live; on the frailty and strength of human beings, working together, with science, against nature, in search of the superhuman.

Valgeir Sigurðsson

Pamela Carter

Valgeir Sigurðsson

Stewart Laing

Musical Director
Jonathan Morton

Raw Material

Scottish Ensemble

Ruby Philogene
Jodie Landau

And featuring
Alison O’Donnell
As Narrator



[A] production that wears its substantial technical achievements lightly, and is, critically, full of heart.
The Herald *****

Valgeir Sigurðsson’s score is a shimmering miasma of sound, occasionally punctuated by soaring lyricism from the voices or from the string players of the Scottish Ensemble, whose masterful playing, directed by Jonathan Morton, is fundamental to the piece’s success… This is an impressive premiere, moving and strange, and it never loses sight of the fact that, as the chorus ultimately reminds us, we’re all only human.
The Times ****

The cumulative effect is quite something – a work that weaves together contemporary classical music, philosophical ponderings and hard facts in a moving paean to a modern medical miracle.
The Stage ****

Sigurdsson’s score is at once future-focused and atavistic, and the penultimate scene with the two strangers’ voices blending together in life and death stuns the room into silence… it is an insightful, deeply moving and politically engaged piece of theatre. Pamela Carter’s words are wry, beautiful and at times furious, very much a comment on our struggle to connect and survive, in a time of collective anxiety over our global health crises.
The List ****



Brokentalkers with Project Arts Centre, Mermaid Arts Centre and LÓKAL Performing Arts Theatre

A fusion of theatre, music and dance, Woman Undone is a re-imagining of singer Mary Coughlan’s extraordinary life and her difficult childhood. It tells the story of a young woman who endured abuse, addiction and mental illness and who’s discovery or art and music was her redemption.

Featuring Mary Coughlan alongside female quartet Mongoose performing an original score by Valgeir Sigurðsson which fuses electronic music with live instrumentation and a haunting vocal score.

This show combines Brokentalkers’ distinctive blend of biography, socio-political discourse and breathtaking theatricality with the musical talent of Coughlan and Sigurdsson to create a show that is beautiful, insightful, inspiring. Woman Undone has been created with funding from the Arts Council.

Woman Undone is being created with funding from Arts Council Ireland and is a Co-Production between Brokentalkers, Project Arts Centre (Dublin), Mermaid Arts Centre (Bray) and Lókal Performing Arts (Reykjavík). The development of the piece was also supported by Wicklow County Council.

Written by: Gary Keegan and Feidlim Canon (Brokentalkers), and Mary Coughlan
Directed by: Gary Keegan and Feidlim Cannon
Performed by: Mary Coughlan, Molly O’Mahony, Ailbhe Dunne, Muireann Ní Cheannabháin, CaraDunne and Erin O’Reilly
Dramaturgy by: Bjarni Jónsson
Music Composition and Production by: Valgeir Sigurdsson
Lighting by: SJ Shiels
Design by: Sabine Dargent
Costume by: Sarah Foley
Movement Direction by: Eddie Kay



“Wide Slumber for Lepidopterists is a renewed hope for opera-theatre and a breath of fresh air for contemporary opera lovers.

OperaWire review by Jennifer Pyron, 22 January 2021


“Wide slumber is an investigation of relationship, of intimacy, of intrusion, of between, of boundary. Its realm desires to identify assumptions and then stroke them to the point they shudder and release their lenses, films, gauze to expose some yet-unimagined beyond.”


Inspired by the award-winning book of the same name by poet a.rawlings, Wide slumber for lepidopterists pairs sleep and dream studies with lepidoptery (the study of butterflies and moths). Tracking the stages of sleep and pairing them with the life cycle of butterflies and moths, insomnia is mirrored in the birth of the egg and narcolepsy in larval hatching. And when the caterpillar starts its final moult, dreams begin, weaving around us as tightly as a cocoon until we are somnambulant, a chrysalis ready to emerge as a moth.

It’s a story, it’s not a story.

It has elements of story.

Pattern your breath on the sound of moth wings, magnified and frenzied, as you fight for sleep in a suffocating tangle of sheets. This is a poetic fantasia, an erotic nightmare-scape. So we dream the same – do we dream the same?

A small ensemble of musicians—three singers and one performer—conjure an ethereal and visceral world of cyclic metamorphosis. Each of the three singers embodies a persona within the text; the Insomniac, the Somnopterist (sleep scientist), and the Lepidopterist. A hybrid loom—a dream machine—is a centre stage object that undergoes constant transformation in the hands of the fourth character: the Weaver.

Even when the body falls asleep, the brain’s hearing pathways do not shut down. Even in the hours of deepest slumber, sound can be imprinted on your memory.

A team of scientists including Harvard University lepidopterists and University College London sleep research scientists worked closely with us on the creation of WiDE SLUMBER. We have curated a series of events that can be presented in tandem with the performance including a butterfly pinning workshop, lectures on the metamorphosis of butterflies and sleep science, and installations.

WiDE SLUMBER for Lepidopterists is produced by VaVaVoom Theatre and Bedroom Community and was premiered in May 2014, at the 28th edition of Reykjavik Arts Festival.

Composer: Valgeir Sigurðsson (Iceland)

Text: a. rawlings (Iceland / Canada)

Stage Director  / Adaptation for Stage: Sara Martí (Iceland)

Dramaturgy / Adaptation for Stage: Sigríður Sunna Reynisdóttir (Iceland)

Stage Design: Eva Signý Berger (Iceland)

Costume:   Harpa Einarsdóttir (Iceland)

Light / Video: Ingi Bekk (Iceland)

Animation / Video Art: Pierre-Alain Giraud (France)

Sound Design: Dan Bora (USA)

Choreographer: Valgerður Rúnarsdóttir (Iceland)

Prop Design: Marie Tanya Keller (USA)

Producing Organisation: VaVaVoom Theatre and Bedroom Community

WIDE SLUMBER for lepidopterists pairs sleep and dream studies with lepidoptery, conjuring an ethereal and visceral world of cyclic metamorphosis.

Tracking the stages of sleep and pairing them with the life cycle of Lepidopterae (butterflies and moths), the audience is lulled into a cocoon where the borders between dreams and reality are blurred.

A small group of musicians accompanies three singers who embody personae within WIDE SLUMBER; The Insomniac, The Somnopterist and The Lepidopterist. A hybrid loom — a dream machine — is a centre-stage object that undergoes constant transformation in the hands of the fourth character; The Weaver.