As part of the Merchant City Festival 2011 “The Sloans Project”, an inspiring new opera by Gareth Williams, was performed winning great acclaim from audiences, press and media. BBC news, The Glasgow Herald and The Scotsman reported on this groundbreaking piece of music theatre; an opera fusing the line between audience as spectator and participant. The opera took place in the vibrant venue of Sloans Bar and Restaurant, Glasgow’s oldest pub situated in the heart of the city centre and set over three sumptuous floors.
Sloans is situated amidst winding lanes of jewellery shops and is often the place to which newly betrothed couples come to celebrate their pledge to spend their lives together. Sloans has played host to many weddings, birthdays, christenings, ceilidhs and wakes and so with such a rich history of life experience, Gareth Williams and librettist David Brock, decided to base an opera upon these stories. This tale of life’s cycle of love, marriage, birth and death is based upon letters sent in by the public for whom Sloans has played a real role at key points in their lives. This opera belongs to the people of Glasgow as it is THEIR story. Those for whom Sloans has become part of their personal history have contributed their stories in interviews and these personal stories become a part of the performance. From the first sound of glasses ringing the opening chord of the opera to the last heart wrenching scene the audience, transfixed, travel through each room of the pub as the stories unfold.