This September, Wembley Park, London’s globally renowned entertainment district and 365-day neighbourhood, will join creative forces with members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and five Brent-based creative groups, to host Wemba’s Dream.
This original, site-specific performance will show how orchestral music can combine with contemporary dance, theatre, carnival arts, film and spoken word to produce an outstanding creative experience for audiences of all ages.
The day-long, free performance experience on Saturday 11th September is part of a shared vision between Wembley Park and the RPO to establish a creative hub bringing together education, community outreach, performance, digital projects and administration in a single location. Inclusion and community engagement is at the heart of the RPO’s mission to be a truly inclusive and contemporary international orchestra for the modern age, and this new initiative is part of a long-term plan to integrate and engage with the local community by providing free and accessible quality musical experiences that are in line with Wembley Park’s cultural strategy
Following a major call out to Brent-based artists and creatives, which attracted significant interest, RPO musicians and five artistic groups began a truly collaborative process to develop site-specific performance experiences for Wembley Park.
BitterSuite with Brent filmmaker Yasmin Nicholas and RPO musicians to create Dream Feel, a nocturnal sensory adventure where music moves around the audience to conjure up the ever-changing world of dreams in the Events Pad, adjacent to the London Designer Outlet entrance.
Performers from Brent Youth Theatre will share Festival of Dreams, a musical fable of dreams, of hope overcoming fear. They will parade from the Spanish Steps in carnival costumes made by Mahogany Carnival Arts, down into the Arena Square in front of the SSE Arena, Wembley. Music performed by musicians from the RPO and the St Michael and All Angels Steel Pan Band will create this dreamscape.
In When I Wake, Brent-based dance company FUBUNATION explore sleep, nightmare and the opportunity of a new dawn with exhilarating dance and a stunning musical soundscape performed by a quartet of RPO Musicians . This performance will inaugurate a new public space in Wembley Park: The Olympic Steps Undercroft, a unique cultural space beneath the new Olympic Steps leading up to the National Stadium.
In the London Designer Outlet’s Retail Square, poets and musicians swap shopping for dreaming and bring the aspirations of Brent residents to life in Dreaming Well, a magical, immersive performance created by Word Up with musicians from the RPO. Expected the unexpected...
Inspiration for the project came from a traveller called Wemba who, many centuries ago, stopped and created his home in Wembley. He was the first of a generation of dreamers who have made Brent their home. Wemba’s Dream will connect today’s “Wembas”; dreamers of all backgrounds and ages, who make their home in Wembley Park and the wider Brent area, via the narrative of creative musical landscapes.
Josh McNorton, Culture Director at Wembley Park, says:
“This is an incredibly special way to mark the long-term creative partnership between WP and RPO, which aims to unify local community groups and showcase the best of Brent talent, whilst presenting orchestral music in new, thought-provoking forms and environments. Not only does the project celebrate the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra moving its headquarters to the area in 2024, but Wemba’s Dream will be an annual event that we hope will provide the rich creative talent of Brent with a global platform to showcase their brilliant work.”
The project builds on the RPO’s nationwide community engagement programme and supports the Orchestra’s vision to build an inclusive, relevant and exciting orchestra for the modern age. 25 RPO musicians and more than 40 other artists will perform in five iconic locations around Wembley Park: the Spanish Steps, linking up Wembley Stadium with The SSE Arena, Wembley; Arena Square; London Designer Outlet’s Retail Square, the Events Pad, The Olympic Steps Undercroft, a unique cultural space beneath the new Olympic Steps leading up to the National Stadium.
James Williams, Managing Director at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra comments:
“Community engagement and inclusion is at the heart of our vision, ensuring that everyone everywhere can experience the thrill and excitement of live orchestra music. Our goal is to make everyone feel welcome, for current and new audiences to feel respected and for musicians of all backgrounds to be given equal opportunities on merit. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is on a journey to build an inclusive, relevant and exciting orchestra for the modern age – and the exciting projects we are working on at Wembley Park will support our ambitions to allow the broadest possible audience to engage with the joy of orchestral music and live performance.”
The project also comes at a milestone moment for the Orchestra as it starts its 75th anniversary season, welcomes HRH Prince of Wales as its new patron and Vasily Petrenko as its new Music Director. This project is indicative of the way in which the Orchestra is continually broadening the type of music it performs and the experiences it presents. That breadth is just part of its commitment to building audiences, widening access and placing orchestral music at the heart of the community, all of which are central to its future ambition. The RPO’s values of Imagine, Inspire and Include are key to the Orchestra’s identity as it evolves to become a world leader in making orchestral music exciting for a new generation of music lovers.
Free to attend and open to people of all ages, Wemba’s Dream will start at 11am and end at 4pm on Saturday 11th September 2021, with performances taking place across the Wembley Park neighbourhood.