Chris Grady, 27 January 2013

I couldn't be there today (Sunday), and so opened space virtually from my home in

Suffolk, with my colleagues at York Hall, and with the wider Open Space and twitter


Storymusic 2020 - An Olympic project to create 197 commissions with writers

and composers living in the 197 countries of the world. Who's interested in this

7 year project (2013-2020)

For your information, here is the elevator pitch:

a) Overture: 197 countries, 197 commissions, 1 composer from one country, 1 writer

from another

Each pair is asked to create a 20 minute piece of Storymusic inspired by their

language and cultural differences and informed by the universal language of music

and the human smile

This might be a musical, opera, song cycle, piece of traditional or contemporary music

theatre - all forms which I am gathering into a genre of “storymusic”

b) Beginners: Each piece is prepared with translations to reach a wider audience.

Each piece is presented by a school or college in each of the two countries. Each

piece is supported by learning and lesson plan material. Each piece is filmed and put

onto an accessible digital platform

c) Finale: All 197 pieces are brought together for a live audience as part of the

Olympics 2020 together with further works exploring lost, endangered, and non verbal


d) Curtain Call: All works are made available for schools and colleges globally to

license and perform. Every country in the world has been connected to this project,

and in some the ideas may spread to other writers, other productions, and other


So this is a short introductory report and I leave it for those present, and those beyond

the walls of York Hall to add thoughts, comments, questions.

Report of the Twitter Conversations

I am grateful to have been joined by 6 colleagues for an initial flurry of tweets and

emails - David, Victoria, Tony, Jill, Nick, Katherine and together they made the

following really helpful suggestions:

a) Involve Dance (as a non-verbal medium) in the commission development.

b) Lonely Planet and some of the more adventurous travel companies may provide a

great “in” to certain nations across the globe.

c) BBC World Service still reaches most nations.

d) UN and UNESCO could help greatly

e) The key is finding an arts champion/expert in each nation, and they can help to find

one composer and one writer.

f) Maybe the writers should self select their writing parter, Could this maybe be done

my a “whoever comes are the right people” dating site covering the globe, and

allowing writers to connect with each other.

g) British Council should be able to help

h) The Universities have interests in most nations of the planet in some way (and

indeed many international students studying in the UK could be a key to find the


i) Remember the drama and music conservatoires

j) Remember the UK based embassies of many nations

k) Remember PEARLE the European network of arts management trade associations

l) NODA could be a great connection network

m) Music publishers also connect globally

n) Involve Sound and Music


My sense is that this intrigued them, and the elevator pitch said enough to capture

imagination. The challenge is to tighten up the idea, make some key organisational

connections, and create a very basic web data structure to allow the gathering of

contact details across many nations. I most definitely want to think through the idea of

the writers matching themselves. It would become a more artistically rich process I


Next Step

I hope then to be able to hold a small Open Space looking at StoryMusic 2020 later

this year. I would love to connect with the World Open Space network, and to bring in

some more spiritual and earth-deep elements to reflect the nature of the project

crossing mother earth. Indigenous people and lost languages seem vital elements to

build as essential to the plan.

In the meantime I will pass the elevator pitch to key players and organisations to seek

their comments and, hopefully, great connections.

Thank you to the Open Space community today, and those who may flow into this

conversation in the weeks and months to come.

Please keep tweeting or emailing your thoughts


[email protected]

Thank you