In this article, Ella Marchment – the founder and artistic director of Helios Collective – talks about why she started the company and where it is heading in the future.
Simply put, Helios is my heart. It grew out of my determination to solve a particular problem that I faced as a student, and an equal determination to help myself and my peers. The problem I faced was that although I had drive, ambition, and a desire to create opera, there was no readily available output for my creativity. This lack of opportunity drove me to create a safe environment where new work and practical opportunities could be offered to my peers.
So Helios was born and it has been quite a journey. I am so proud and grateful to everyone who has played a role in shaping the company and helping it to grow. Since 2012 we have provided continued professional development opportunities to over 1500 artists; toured both the UK and internationally (to venues including St Petersburg Philharmonia, Rose Theatre Kingston, Sage Gateshead, Copenhagen Opera Festival, and Buxton Festival); run a variety of events ranging from masterclasses with leading industry professionals, opera club nights, and opera-plays (plarias); and commissioned eight new operas.
Helios Collective is now an opera company that has development and connectivity at its heart. Through innovative and imaginative programming, Helios enables its ever-expanding community of performers, creatives, and arts partners to work together to shape the future of opera.
I have dreams and I work every day to make them a reality. However, more than anything, I want to help other artists make their dreams come true. I want opera to survive and thrive, and for it to expand and grow, changing and updating itself so that it is relevant to contemporary culture.
Helios Collective has an exciting season ahead, starting with Dido and Belinda at King’s College London as part of the Arts and Humanities Festival on 12, 13, and 14 October 2016. This is a very personal gig for me, as not only are we attempting to do something highly imaginative with the piece, but we are also returning to the institution where Helios was born and which first supported the company by allowing it to stage its inaugural event – A Celebration of Opera Before and After Verdi and Wagner – in Central London. I hope that my title choices have improved since 2013!
Helios is my artistic voice, and I hope that this is an adequate blog post to explain why I am motivated to run the company.
Thank you again for taking the time to read this article and for engaging with a slice of Helios’s journey.
Artistic Director, Helios Collective