After a set of sold out shows at the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe, The Quorum bring The Swarm to Vault Festival for a limited run of performances.
When the queen bee is deposed by her daughter and forced to leave the hive, she takes half the honey bee colony with her and so they embark on a perilous journey of migration through a busy city. The Swarm follows the bees in the search for a new home as they encounter a deadly extractor fan, a thunder storm and a fierce debate over two potential sites on which to build a hive. With just one last meal of honey for energy, how will they reach a collective decision on where to relocate?
This euphoric and mesmerising performance will bring audiences closer to nature, stretching the boundaries of choral music, sound and movement. The operatic queen bee and the nine-piece choir deliver unique complex polyrhythms accompanied by an immersive urban soundscape.
Meditative and transcendent, The Swarm explores the fluctuating magnetism between the individual and the collective, which is expressed physically, spatially and musically, creating a powerful allegory for cooperative human interaction.
Composer Heloise Tunstall-Behrens is a bee-keeper in London which is how her interest in the sounds of the hive was originally sparked. Bees provide a fertile subject for musical composition; not only are sound and vibration central to their communication and cooperation within the hive, but inspiration can be found from the forms and patterns generated by their social organisation.
Themes of community, even sisterhood, poured through The Swarm, and we begin to get a sense of the relationship among the individuals in the hive. They were curious together, scared together, and when they finally take flight together, there was something reminiscent of Wagner’s Valkyries (Schmopera).
Starring Hannah Mason, Sarah Parkes, Heloise Tunstall-Behrens, Rosa Slade, Luisa Gerstein, Nouria Bah, Liv Stones, Tanya Auclair, Natalie Pela, Sarah Anderson.
THE SWARM plays at The VAULTS 8 – 12 February 2017