Cruel Britannia

29 & 30 March 2019

Three Opera Nibbles commissioned by Back To Ours.


March 29th & 30th 2019 at Princes Quay, Whitefriargate and across central Hull.
“Colonialism” also performed at Glastonbury 2019.

Commissioned by Back To Ours, Cruel Britannia was a wry look at Britain’s past and present in the form of street-opera. The three events gave existing arias by Arne, Purcell and Mozart a new twist by recasting them with outlandish new characters including a mean, self-obsessed rich mother, a hunter proudly displaying his captive yeti and a tired and emotional Britannia on a shopping-trolley chariot.

Neil Balfour at Glasto with Hull Urban Opera


The 1%

Zerrin Karsli – The Mother
Esme Kingdom/Olivia Hewitt-Jones – The Daughter


Neil Balfour – The Yeti
Ben Newton – The Hunter
Sue Clarke – The Trainer


Britannia – Britannia
Chris Newton – The Slave

Directed by Russell Plows
Musical Direction by Ben Newton
Costumes by Liz Dees
Props by Charles Huckvale
Makeup by Venice Marshall

Some audience reaction

“Amazing – beautiful voices”
“Fantastic – short and sweet!”
“I take my hat off to them”
“It opens it up to the people”
“My first bit of opera, I might chance seeing another now”

This production was made possible with the generous support of Back To Ours.

Hull Urban Opera