A song recital with a difference: words and music explode in an exploration of challenge and protest in art song, with pianist Allyson Devenish, soprano Nardus Williams, baritone Roderick Williams, actor Lladel Bryant and poet Rommi Smith.

Mention protest song to most people and they might well reach for their vinyl LPs of Bob Dylan or Nina Simone, or perhaps close their eyes, link arms and chant “We shall overcome”. But to protest in song was not invented in the late sixties. Humans throughout history have used their singing voices to draw lines in the sand when other forms of objection have proved complicated. Classical art song abounds with examples, albeit in some unexpected places.

Music, poetry, prose and song including Schubert, Richard Strauss, Britten, Nadia Boulanger, Kit & the Widow and Errollyn Wallen is contextualised by readings from poet and performance artist Rommi Smith, who will be our guide through the maelstrom of debate, dissent, dissemblance and decency.

Rommi Smith is a multi-award-winning poet, playwright, theatre-maker, performer, librettist and scholar. Winner of numerous prestigious residencies and commissions from institutions ranging from the British Council to the BBC, she is a three-time BBC writer-in-residence.

Roderick Williams baritone
Nardus Williams
Allyson Devenish
Rommi Smith
Lladel Bryant

Full programme details will be available after the performance on this page.

Main image: portrait of Rommi Smith by Lizzie Coombes

Spirit. Takin’ it to the edge. Sunrise. Sunset. Rommi Smith got thunderstorm in her hands. Painting pictures with her voice…waking the landscape

Lemn Sissay on Rommi Smith