News and Features

Moments made possible by our Annual Fund

Read about the moments in Festival 2021 that were made possible thanks to donations to our Annual Fund.

Through donations to our Annual Fund we are fundraising to upgrade Glyndebourne’s backstage systems – which are now 27 years old.

This ambitious project will take place over the next few years. This essential backstage project has been on hold since we sadly had to cancel Festival 2020. However, some of this year’s productions have been able to benefit from the work that was completed before the pandemic hit.

Below, you can read about the moments in Festival 2021 that were made possible thanks to the Annual Fund.

As we begin recovery from a multi-million-pound loss caused by the pandemic, we are determined to not only survive but to thrive. You can support us by donating to our Annual Fund here. A huge thank you to everybody who has already generously donated to this project – your donations to the Annual Fund are helping to transform Glyndebourne backstage.

Così fan tutte

Così fan tutte, Festival 2021. Photo: Tristram Kenton

The show benefiting the most from stage automation this season is our much loved production of Così fan tutte, which was selected to trial the automation integration.

First staged in 2006, the show relied heavily on manual operation. For example, the opening café scene would have originally required three people to manually fly the walls out of view at the end of the scene. Now, it is reliant on just one person pressing a button, meaning that the scene change will look consistent in every performance and removing the physical strain on the team of flymen.

You can read more about the automation of Così fan tutte in this interview with Head Flyman Darren Elder.

Káťa Kabanová

Káťa Kabanová, Festival 2021. Photo: Richard Hubert Smith

The other show to take advantage of automation in 2021 has been Káťa Kabanová. Automation was used to create one of the production’s most memorable tableaux, as oversized bird cages descend onto the stage. This slow and even movement would have been tricky to achieve by hand. The automated system was also used for the large feather drop at the end of Act II where the stage is covered in feathers.

Into 2022 and beyond

Don Pasquale, Festival 2013. Photo: Clive Barda

We are now moving into the design phase of the project, and work on upgrading the systems will commence in November 2021, continuing over the next four years.

More work on the project will be completed over the winter months, with next year’s Festival reaping the benefits.

Each of our productions requires a different lighting set-up and by Festival 2022 the lighting bridges will be automated, making the changeover from one show to another much quicker and easier for the teams involved.

Don Pasquale features a revolving set (as will one of the new productions) and both will benefit from an automated revolve. Another of the new productions will require complex flying of scenery – which will also be realised through automation.

One of the big milestones in the project will occur between 2022 and 2023, when all of the flying rigs will be changed over to an automated system. This will have a big impact on our productions, for example, a show like Rinaldo features flying that is very complex to achieve manually, but would become much smoother, consistent and repeatable with the new set up.

If funding is confirmed then finally, in 2023, the stage floor and sub-stage will be renovated.

We need your help

The overall estimated cost of this project is £7 million and Glyndebourne hopes to raise £1,500,000 through donations to the Annual Fund. Please help us by making a donation today.

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