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Opera Imitates Life in OCDiva

August 12, 2023 @ 5:30 pm - August 13, 2023 @ 5:30 pm

Opera imitates life in OCDiva, a new, one-woman, autobiographical opera about one woman’s struggle to ‘do’ life, art and mental health.

OCDiva by by Eve Klein with libretto by Yasmin Arkinstall, Sharna Galvin and Sarah Penicka-Smith features Yasmin Arkinstall, a twenty-something-year-old opera singer, TikTok dancer and Western Sydney girl, whose life is turned upside-down by her search for diagnosis and treatmentfor sensorimotor Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Follow Yas on her journey through various therapies and therapists, with a bit of R&B, a dash of music theatre, a TikTok dance, and a whole lot of delicious, defiant, and occasionally heartbreaking, opera.

OCDiva was conceived in 2019, and awarded an Australia Council grant in 2020 to commission Dr Eve Klein’s composition of the score. OCDiva has been in development for nearly five years. The opera is technology-enabled to allow Arkinstall, who lives with significant disability, full control of each performance, including what she sings, and when.

According to Music Director Sarah Penicka-Smith, who conceived the project after seeing Arkinstall in an audition, ‘the creative team has created a work which leans into the uncertainties of, and risks in, performing with a disability, and made the artist’s ability to choose a ground-breaking structural element of the work.’ The creative team has worked to ensure that there is
true representation of Arkinstall’s lived experience in the music and libretto. And on a more practical level, rehearsals and recording sessions remained flexible in a bid to reduce feelings of overwhelm or triggering. ‘This has allowed me to put forward my best self artistically,’ says Arkinstall.

The opera’s all-female, all Australian, creative team, many of whom have lived experience of chronic illness or disability, challenge ideas of what opera can be, how it can be presented, and who can participate. With Arkinstall as the sole performer, OCDiva features a sumptuous and eclectic new score by award-winning composer and sound artist Dr Eve Klein, setting a libretto co-written by Arkinstall, Sarah Penicka-Smith, and theatre director Sharna Galvin, who was also part of the show’s original project development team. Movement Direction is by celebrated dancer and choreographer Jana Castillo, and
Design is by emerging Brisbane-based artist Olivia Watkins. The show’s producer Melanie Penicka-Smith is the final critical part of the original development team and creative team.

OCDiva premieres at the Arts & Cultural Exchange in Parramatta (12, 13 August) before touring to Wagga Wagga at the CSU Playhouse, Waga Wagga 7.00pm, 26 August 2023/ the Blue Mountains at the Mechanics Institute, Lawson 7.00pm, 29 September 2023 and Phillips Hall, Blackheath Community Centre, Blackheath 5.00pm, 30 September 2023 and the Northern Rivers.



August 12, 2023 @ 5:30 pm
August 13, 2023 @ 5:30 pm
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Arts & Cultural Exchange
8 Victoria Road
Parramatta, NSW 2150 Australia
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+61 2 9897 5744
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