a cappella opera for 3 women & 3 sewing machines

From the abuse of the sweatshop to the fantasy of costume and the empowerment of sewing-it-yourself, the sewing machine has been a force for liberation and exploitation since its invention in the 19th century. Hemmed in by the language of sewing and the inexorable rhythm of the machine, three women fight to find space for imagination and individuality.

“A rogue brace of creative spirits cuts through the couture and sweeps us straight into a sewing sweatshop in Stitch. Billed as ‘an a cappella opera for three women and three sewing machines,’ it crosses so many genres as to be in a category of its own… Imagine an opera presented outside a theatre, without a stage or orchestra. It doesn’t seem like opera at all – until you realise how much a librettist, composer and three vocalists can accomplish with the simplest of means. That’s an art.”  —Toronto Star


Stitch features the sublime voices of Christine Duncan, Patricia O’Callaghan & Neema Bickersteth and received two Dora Award nominations in 2008: Outstanding Production (Opera) andOutstanding New Musical/Opera.

Premiere co-production by urbanvessel and The Theatre Centre at The FreeFall Festival in partnership with Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage, March 12-16, 2008 at Lennox Contemporary, Toronto.

Credits: music Juliet Palmer, text Anna Chatterton, direction Ruth Madoc-Jones, set & costume design Sarah Armstrong, lighting design Kim Purtell.

Concert performances & community workshops (with co-creators Anna Chatterton and Juliet Palmer):
Vancouver New Music & Western Front (April 30-May 1, 2010)
Voice++ Festival, Open Space Arts Society, Victoria (May 7-9, 2010)
Lulu Performing Arts, Gabriola Island (May 12-13, 2010)

Toronto Performances:
The Theatre Centre May 26-30, 2010.Preview in NOW Magazine, May 2010.

Stitch was developed in residence at The Theatre Centre and funded by The Ontario Arts Council, The Toronto Arts Council, and The Canada Council for the Arts.