There’s a bit of a buzz about bees right now, what with Kew Gardens’ new installation The Hive and the accompanying Be album made by 12 humans and a hive of hymenoptera. If you’re one of those who can’t get enough of our insect friends, book now to join the apiphiles who’ll be swarming in September to a new immersive soundscape and opera in Rotherhithe.
‘The Swarm’ is billed as a choral appreciation of bees, with a plot about an ousted queen bee and her followers trying to set up a new colony in a hostile urban landscape. It’ll be performed by a nine-piece choir (including members of the excellent Deep Throat ensemble) whose voices are interwoven with field recordings and music evoking the city. Beekeepers and scientists have advised on the production too.
Bee-based art is especially relevant right now, since the decline in bee populations poses a serious threat to our food supply: anything that shows how fascinating these little pollinators are is welcome. And as an extra draw, ‘The Swarm’ will be performed in the Brunel Tunnel, a huge Victorian shaft recently opened as an underground arts venue – and there’ll be an afterparty with hiver beer and honey cocktails in the Brunel Museum’s roof garden after the show. It should be the bee’s knees. Yes, we went there.