About the project

During the first week of August 2021, members of the Opera North Youth Chorus were the first to enter the brand new Bramall Education Studio for a week long summer project. For the first time in over a year, young singers aged 14-19 sang together again as a chorus. They explored the myth of ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’, devised new music, learned new repertoire, wrote and performed scenes, designed sets and plasticine characters for a stop motion film.

A fantastic artistic team was there to guide young people throughout their journey:

James Batty – Composer
Katie Harriman – Film Maker
Gemma Woffinden – Director
Marie Claire Breen – Vocal Coach
Elizabeth Jones – Accompanist
Nicholas Shaw – Youth Chorus Master

Ariadne: A Digital Story was produced by Marie Lemaire.

‘”It’s been really nice to just be able to sing as a massive choir again.” – Gala (18)

I really loved having this week to look forward to in the summer. Working with people I wouldn’t normally work with and trying out new things.” – Samuel (16)


This is the story of ‘Theseus and the Minotaur’ re-imagined. The tragic and fascinating Greek myth is told through the eyes of its heroine Ariadne.

Ariadne gives Theseus a sword to fight the half man – half bull beast. She also provides a ball of string so he can find his way back out of the labyrinth after slaying the Minotaur.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s go back to the beginning…


  1. Ariadne, Princess of Crete composed by James Batty, rap written and performed by Charlotte Browne and Elsie Shepherd
  2. Final chorus from the opera Arianna by Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739)
  3. Sappho Echoes composed by James Batty

Inside the Maze - The Play That Goes Wrong

What would have happened if Theseus had gone inside the Maze without the support of Ariadne?


  1. ‘Tӧne, tӧne’ from the opera Ariadne Auf Naxos by Richard Strauss (1864-1949)
  2. Ariadne Walz composed by James Batty

Inside the Maze - Oh My Gods

What would have happened if Ariadne had gone inside the maze on her own to meet the Minotaur?


  1. Battle Theme composed by James Batty
  2. The Lover’s Ghost by Oliver Tarney (1984-)
  3. To Meriklidoko Pouli traditional Cretan song, arranged by James Batty
    Magnus Cameron – Recorder and Shaker
    Fraser Campbell-McDonald – Guitar
    Jeannot Gantier-Houston – Guitar
    Emma Hunt – Guitar
    Samuel Mills – Guitar
    Kat Trowsdale – Nose flute

Inside the Maze - Ariadne Slays

What would have happened if Ariadne and Theseus had entered the maze and met the Minotaur together?


  1. ‘In Carmine Doloris’ from the opera Jephte by Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674), reworked by James Batty
  2. Preparing For Battle Montage composed by Henry Etherington
  3. The Training Camp composed by James Batty

Your Feedback

We hoped you enjoyed discovering Opera North Youth Company’s first ever Digital Opera. We would love to hear about your experience. Please tell us what you thought by filling in this short online survey.

Thanks and Acknowledgements

We would like to thanks all the young people who took part in this project for their talent, their energy and their hard work. Thank you to Gemma Woffinden, James Batty and Katie Harriman for their creativity and enthusiasm. Thank you to the Opera North Youth Company Team.

This project wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of:

The Arts Society Leeds
The Leverhulme Trust
The Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation
The late John Barchard and Dr Claire Barchard


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