Doncaster writer's opera set in steampunk sci-fi London

A show with its world premiere in Doncaster next week aims to make opera far more accessible to everyone.

Tuesday, 5th April 2016, 5:58 pm
Characters Greener and Coster in new opera Clocks 1888

Steampunk opera Clocks 1888: the Greener draws on musical theatre, music hall and Asian classical music and was conceived by a Doncaster woman, Rachana Jadhav.

Clocks 1888 is a powerful love story that takes place against a visually stunning digitally animated backdrop.

At the heart of the story is the Greener, a brilliantly clever young migrant girl who single-handedly runs the towering clock that controls the East End of London.

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When she is discovered by a gentleman explorer, they are forced to choose between the worlds they know and each other.

The cast reflect the diversity of the 19th-century East London setting and includes Patricia Rozario from English National Opera and Keisha Atwell, who has appeared in Memphis The Musical, as Greenr .

The opera’s themes of immigration and cultural heritage are still as relevant today as they were back in 1888.

Co-directors Dominic Hingorani and Doncastrian Rachana Jadhav collaborated with composer Martin Ward and lighting designer Fred Beaufort to develop this new production in association with Cast and London’s famous Hackney Empire theatre.

Rachana and her family are active members of the Doncaster community and is delighted to stage the world première of her contemporary opera in her hometown.

As a local artist she illustrated stories for the opening of Cast three years ago.

Rachana said that her production company Brolly wants to “change the idea that opera is an elitist artform and make it accessible both artistically and financially for new diverse young audiences.

“We make exciting performance work that also asks questions not only of society but also the arts, so we do some things differently in this opera.”

She said that opera is the ideal artform for the stories behind Clocks 1888 because “its heightened form is capable of scale, spectacle and great intimacy”.

An award-winning designer and illustrator, Rachana’s visually spectacular clock provides the centrepiece of the story.

The characters drawn from real East End lives provide the beating heart of the drama.

The show is at Cast next Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm, with a matinee on Friday at 1.30pm.

For tickets, go to the theatre, call 01302 303 959 or go online at

Steampunks – distinctively-dressed science fiction and fantasy fans who are fascinated by Victorian technology – will congregate at a special Steampunk Social on Saturday from 4pm before the evening performance.