Symondsbury Church of England VA Primary School

The Church of England

Noyes Fludde Opera - March 2023

Children from Symondsbury Primary School who were rehearsing Noyes Fludde, the one act community opera written by Benjamin Britten, on Wednesday 22 March in St Swithun’s Church, Allington, had a surprise visitor.  The Right Reverend Stephen Lake, Bishop of Salisbury since April 2022, dropped in to hear the rehearsal and to encourage the performers and organisers.


Noyes Fludde Opera - March 2023


The opera was written in 1957  and has been a favourite with children’s groups and local community music groups ever since. Based on medieval mystery plays it tells the story of Noah’s Ark and the large children’s choir represent the procession of animals as they board the Ark to escape the Flood. Britten specifically wanted it to be performed in churches not in theatres.


The production by Symondsbury School draws upon the talents of professional and amateur local musicians, a huge array of supporters and helpers from the community and the musical efforts of every pupil, from older children taking lead solo roles to the smallest child in the chorus.


Bishop Stephen said “ it is a great joy to be with you this morning. I am sorry I can’t stay for the public performance which I can see is going to be a wonderful celebration of this dramatic story. I am so pleased that St Swithun’s can provide the venue and it’s great to see it echoing to your music”


Canon Deb Smith, Rector of Bridport, said “we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome this wonderful group of musicians and this lovely children’s choir here. The sound is wonderful and the enthusiasm infectious. St Swithuns has great plans for the future and events like this are very much part of our vision”


The Revd. Chris Grasske, Rector of the Colmer and Eggardon Benefice that includes Symondsbury, said how much he was looking forward to the performance and congratulated the children, staff, parents and all the supporters of Symondsbury Primary School on their hard work, and engagement with this powerful Old Testament story.


The performance has been under the direction of Matt Kingston, a local composer, musician and parent at the school,and teacher and musician Ruth Wakefield.). Matt had long wanted to put on this work and said St Swithun’s provided just the right venue. He was particularly pleased at the way in which the children had risen to the challenges of the music and the way the community had come together to bring the opera to life. Ms Wakefield, commented, “We were due to perform the opera just before the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and it sadly had to be cancelled.  We are so delighted to now be able to stage the work at St Swithun’s  and the story’s message of hope and new life is especially poignant. This really is a celebration of the children’s resilience and the power of community collaboration”.