50 male singers wanted for event at Richmond Castle

Verity Standen.

Fifty male singers are wanted to perform for three days in April at Richmond Castle for an arts project based on the conscientious objectors detained there last century.

A hundred years ago 16 conscientious objectors were detained in the 19th century cell block of the castle, leaving their poignant and personal testimonies in drawings on the cell walls.

From there they were transported, along with others, from Landguard Fort in Harwich and Seaford, East Sussex to Northern France to be court-martialled and subsequently sentenced to death.

Their sentence was commuted to ten years hard labour, and along with hundreds of others, the Richmond Sixteen were subsequently incarcerated in prisons across the UK for their refusal to fight in World War I.

Over three days in April, a project described as a “new immersive, choral experience” devised by composer and artist Verity Standen will explore the stories of conscientious objection with a professional ensemble and local male singers.

The artrist said: “I am thrilled to be working with such a diverse range of voices – men drawn from all walks of life. I try to leave room for the performers to make the music their own within the compositions I’m writing.

“I expect the piece to sound and feel totally different in each location, as it will be shaped by the local singers, the architecture and history of each site, and each audience who will explore it in a different way.

“It’s a great challenge to compose music that will resound not only in a Castle Keep but also in a local pub. It’s a daunting task, but I know the power of a room full of voices and I can’t wait to start filling those spaces with sound.”

Kevin Booth, English Heritage’s senior curator for the North, said: “English Heritage is delighted to be collaborating with Verity Standen at Richmond Castle.

“We’re working hard to conserve the fragile graffiti left at the castle by the Richmond Sixteen but we also want to involve local people in their remarkable story and this project is part of that.”

50 singers are wanted to take part in the project.

No experience is necessary and there will be no words to learn.

Verity is running workshops for anyone who would like to come and find out more.

There will be two taster sessions at 6pm in Richmond on 6 and 7 March.

To register your interest and ask any questions email davidmpisaro@hotmail.com

There will be further rehearsals 18, 19 March, 1, 2, 6 April and performances 7, 8, 9 April.

To take part you will need to able to make most (ideally all) of these dates.