Music by Pierre Audiger
Written and presented by April Atinuke Koyejo

Ayanfe, written by April Atinuke Koyejo, is an opera loosely based on Yoruba fairytales and legends. Stories often told to her as a child by her mother, April sought to continue the oral tradition by rewriting the stories for the operatic stage. 

The music, composed by Pierre Audiger, takes inspiration from the folklore, with an honest yet exciting rendition of Yoruba folk music reimagined in a western classical style.    

Stage director and writer: April Atinuke Koyejo
Co-choreographers: Stefanos Dimoulas​, Damarys Farres
The opera infuses the Yoruba idea of “Folk Opera”, a format that emerged in Nigeria in the 1940’s, with western classical music, to tell the story of Ayanfe, the Huntress who recaptures the Oòrùn Ilẹ̀, The Sun in Ground. The Yoruba storytelling technique is infused with classical music to create a piece of exciting operatic theatre.

The work is a multi-disciplinary, collaborative, interactive performance with a magnetic cast, combining Brazilian, Cuban and Nigerian, Yoruba elements of dance, narration and talking drums supported by an ensemble of western classical and Ballet Dancers, Singers and Ensemble.

The aesthetics of the piece are highly important as they are in the Yoruba storytelling technique. The use of masquerades, accessories and costumes inspired and reimagined for the show, refreshes the western classical opera style thus creating an atmosphere which allows the audience to truly experience the Yoruba storytelling.

"a totally fresh and innovative experience" - Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Bridewell Theatre
14 Bride Lane, Fleet Street, London EC4Y 8EQ

Nearest tube station: Blackfrias, St Pauls
29th and 30th August 2018 at 7.30pm

Running time: 1h30min
           Tickets: £15 - £17 (plus booking fee)
Production gallery (please click to enlarge)
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​​ Biographies

April Atinuke Koyejo (Writer and Director)
April Atinuke Koyejo is the innovative and creative mind behind Ayanfe, a Yoruba Opera.

The opera was first performed at the Alexander Gibson Opera Studio at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2015 and has been reworked for the London premiere. Other works April Atinuke has written include, Moremi Ajasoro, The Lullaby Experiments performed in the Britten Theatre at the Royal College of Music as part of the Great Exhibitionists Festival, described as a “highly imaginative use of classical music.” She has continued to build upon pushing the boundaries of the classical genre with company Pomposity, reinventing the idea of the Recital. Recent Pomposity projects include The Wives of Don Giovanni and a pop-up performance at The Lanesborough Hotel.

Aside from being a writer and director, April is an opera singer and recent graduate of the Royal College of Music (MVOCPerf) and Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (BMus), she is honoured to be a former Leverhulme Scholar and Help Musicians UK Postgraduate Award recipient.

Pierre Audiger (Composer)
Pierre Audiger is a pianist/composer and actor of the Jean-Laurent Cochet Acting School Paris. Having graduated as a Piano Scholar from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Pierre has also been composing since the age of 17. His music, described as being “music of fire and imagination”, has been critically acclaimed and been described as having a “strong personality” and “an impressive display of character”.

During his studies at RCS Pierre was under the tutelage of composer, David Fennessy. In 2015 Pierre won the Walter and Dinah Wolfe Memorial award for Composition for his piece Not A Clown premiered by violinist Ilya Gringolts at the RCS. Multi Award winning pianist Daniel Ciobanu also commissioned him an encore piece Paraphrase on Mozart's 23rd Piano Concert for Piano and Violin, also premiered in 2015. Pierre also composed Moremi Ajasoro, written and directed by April Koyejo.

Recent events include the premiere of Pierre's Piano and Flute Sonata with flautist Graham Dickson and his Piano Concerto transcribed as a Piano Duet with pianist Sinae Lee at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. His work Dove Town, commissioned by Bass Trombone and Piano Duet, The Nicholson Duo was performed in 2017.

Pierre was honoured to be part of the first edition of Neamt Piano Festival 2017 in Romania as composer in residence, his works have been premiered by many talented artists such as Petras Geniusas. He looks forward to his works being performed this summer at the Morellino Classica Festival in Italy and the London premiere of Ayanfe. Pierre also looks forward to joining the cast of Caroline Darnay’s play Ouest End in Paris, later this year.

Stefanos Dimoulas (Co-choreographer)
Stefanos Dimoulas was born in Volos, Greece where he trained at the Municipal Dance School from the age of 4 before joining the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland on a full scholarship, gaining a BA in Modern Ballet. He was chosen to dance in the production of The Nutcracker by Universal Ballet of Korea at the age of 9 whilst later joined Anti-thesis Dance and Theatre Company as a soloist at the age of 16. Stefanos won the 1st prize at the National Student Artist Contest twice in addition to the 2nd prize in contemporary dance at the International Dance Competition Hellas.

He has danced for choreographers Kerry Nicholls (Semaphore), Hubert Essakow (The Rite of Spring) as well as Kally Lloyd-Jones, Artistic Director of Company Chordelia, (Dido and Aeneas Opera). He worked both as a choreographer and lead male dancer in Moremi Ajasoro Opera and The Lullaby Experiments Opera for the Royal College of Music. He also danced the part of Romeo in Scottish Ballet’s Youth Cultural Exchange Project as part of the Commonwealth Games in Singapore. Stefanos was a dancer for Alicia Keys at the MTV EMA Awards in O2 Academy, for Candi Staton in Covent Garden and for Emma Chrispin at the Peacefest16 in The City Hall London. He has also been the lead male dancer in several dance and music videos, including Something in my heart by Röyksopp, Fantasies by film composer Ross Gilman and ‘Remember Me’ by Jennifer Hudson. Last but not least Stefanos was casted out of hundreds to dance next to Kate Moss for Charlotte Tilbury Fragrance commercial.

Other works include collaborations with BBC1-CBBC Official Chart Show, IJAD Dance Company, 2entertain Sweden and National Geographic United States. Stefanos is a member of Embody Dance Company and was extremely excited to be touring worldwide in Moscow, Singapore, London Sadler’s Wells Theatre and other countries as an Original Cast Member of The Voices of the Amazon Musical.       

Damarys Farres (Co-choreographer)
Damarys Farres, graduate of the National Ballet School in Havana, Cuba, is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and researcher of the Cuban and Afro-Cuban culture dance forms and rhythms. Damarys is highly acclaimed in UK as well as worldwide for her charisma and her infectious energy. She is renowned for her knowledge and passion for the Cuban and Afro-Cuban culture, dance forms and her femininity. She has a unique dancing style, choreography, artistic direction and teaching, which owes much to her broad background in dance. This includes classical ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, reggaetton, traditional and popular Cuban styles, folk dances, as well as other Latin, modern and Afro-Cuban dances.

Her passion for her culture and Cuban dance, especially traditional and Afro-Cuban dance, are her main motive for founding The Cuba School of Arts - The Home of Cuban Arts in the UK.