Key role for public pianos at Bath International Music Fest
People across Bath are being urged to play a key role in the city’s international music festival.
Ten pianos have been placed in public spots around the city and passers-by are being encouraged to tickle the ivories - and get the moment filmed on their mobile phones.
Bath is the latest city to benefit from the Play Me, I’m Yours project devised by artist Luke Jerram, with people in locations from Sao Paulo to Sydney having already taken part.
The pianos were launched today and will be in place until June 6.
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Organisers are looking for footage of impromptu performances to be uploaded to the website www.bathpianos.com.
The project has been sponsored by the Roper Family Charitable Trust, and pianos can be found at Bath Abbey, Bath Bus Station, City of Bath College, Green Park Station, Milsom Place, the Riverside Youth Centre, the Royal Crescent Hotel, the Royal United Hospital, SouthGate and the YMCA.
Among the first pianists to take advantage of the bus station instrument was 16-year-old Finn Shields from Oldfield Park this morning.
The Beechen Cliff pupil is currently studying for his GCSEs and has been playing piano since he was eight.
He played a snatch of Rachmaninov before early morning commuters today.
Finn will appear in the Bath Young Musician Competition to be held in November in the Pump Room.
An 11th piano is being taken to Three Ways Special School as part of Bath Festivals’s year-round education programme. This piano cannot be available to the public, but students will work with an artist to decorate it while staff and parents will be encouraged to get involved.
The festival itself runs from May 26 to June 6 and highlights include the internationally-acclaimed Orchestra of English National Ballet, leading Georgian choir and dance group Rustavi Ensemble, the legendary Booker T as well as Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.
For a full programme of events visit www.bathmusicfest.org.uk
Meanwhile, first year performing arts students at Bath Spa University have staged a production on a bus.
The piece, entitled ‘418’, was staged as part of the students’ theatrecraft module, an intrinsic part of their studies, which aims to teach them about all the things that need to be considered when producing plays.
The bus was lent to the students by First Somerset and Avon, which runs Service 418 buses to and from the university at Newton Park.
Rocky Nti, the director, said: “By putting our audience on a bus for the actual performance we hoped to make them think about the way they, themselves, would interact with other passengers.”
The budget for the show was just £20, and the audience restricted to the 30 people the bus could seat.
Megan Harris, the show’s producer, added: “We had to be quite creative sourcing the items we needed. We asked First if they would lend us a bus and they very kindly agreed to help.
“It’s been a very challenging project, but so rewarding. We have learnt a lot about working as part of a team - communication is so important to making sure everything goes smoothly.”
Most of the students want to go into the performing arts industry after graduation, with Rocky keen to become a singer-songwriter.