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The Lost Words: A Spell Book

Elektra Women’s Choir, from Vancouver, Canada, presents "The Lost Words: A Spell Book", a musical interpretation of the book by author Robert Macfarlane & artist Jackie Morris.

  • 20th June 2023 - 30th June 2023
  • 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

On its first tour to the United Kingdom, Elektra Women’s Choir, from Vancouver, Canada, presents The Lost Words: A Spell Book, a whimsical and evocative musical interpretation of the bestselling book by Cambridge author Robert Macfarlane and visual artist Jackie Morris. Their magical book’s “spells” and watercolours are meant to conjure back into the lives of children twenty words about nature removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

Elektra, known internationally for its leadership in developing compelling new repertoire for women’s choirs, commissioned ten Canadian composers to set two “spells” each, to be performed in Cambridge on Tuesday, June 20th at the West Road Concert Hall.

The performance will be a treat for the eyes and ears, with large-screen projection of the book’s illustrations by Jackie Morris. Guest Robert Macfarlane, the author of the book, will read each spell, and the new compositions performed by Elektra and a small ensemble of instrumentalists, complete the celebration of this literary “re-wilding of childhood”.

Watch a trailer of The Lost Words: A Spell Book.

Elektra Women’s Choir

Elektra Women’s Choir from Vancouver, Canada has been a leader among women’s choirs since 1987. Under the direction of Artistic Director, Morna Edmundson, the choir is known for its adventurous programming and performance excellence. Elektra delivers its mandate through a highly-acclaimed concert series featuring outstanding guest artists. The choir is a leader in repertoire development, performing worthy music from the past and new works.

In its first three decades, Elektra has commissioned and premiered over 100 compositions and arrangements. The choir’s recordings extend the reach of its repertoire internationally on a multitude of digital platforms, and its extensive YouTube channel further promotes the choir’s repertoire discoveries. Elektra has released 17 CDs and digital albums, and its website offers a permanent repertoire resource for other choirs. Its celebrated Community Engagement programs encourage, train, and mentor the next generation of youth and adults: singers, conductors, and composers. A multiple, national prize-winning ensemble, Elektra has been honoured to perform at major conferences of choral professionals worldwide.

Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

From bestselling Landmarks author Robert Macfarlane and acclaimed artist and author Jackie Morris, a beautiful collection of poems and illustrations to help readers rediscover the magic of the natural world.

In 2007, when a new edition of the Oxford Junior Dictionary — widely used in schools around the world — was published, a sharp-eyed reader soon noticed that around forty common words concerning nature had been dropped. Apparently they were no longer being used enough by children to merit their place in the dictionary. The list of these “lost words” included acornadderbluebelldandelionfernheronkingfishernewtotter, and willow. Among the words taking their place were attachmentblogbroadbandbullet-pointcut-and-paste, and voice-mail. The news of these substitutions — the outdoor and natural being displaced by the indoor and virtual — became seen by many as a powerful sign of the growing gulf between childhood and the natural world.

Ten years later, Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris set out to make a “spell book” that will conjure back twenty of these lost words, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they sought to summon these words again into the voices, stories, and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature. The Lost Words is that book — a work that has already cast its extraordinary spell on hundreds of thousands of people and begun a grass-roots movement to re-wild childhood across Britain, Europe, and North America.

Taken from publisher website: House of Anansi

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  • Accessibility Guide
  • Air conditioned
  • Car Parking
  • Disabled Accessibility
  • Facilities for Disabled Guests

Accessibility Facilities

  • Accessibility Guide
  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Blue Badge Parking
  • Designated wheelchair public toilet
  • Induction loops
  • Wheel chair accessible

Did you know?

A big hit with visitors to the city, the Corpus Clock depicts a golden, grasshopper-like monster (the ‘Chronophage’) eating time.