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Iris Dreaming show banner. a blindfolded woman holding a poppy between her teeth.

Iris Dreaming


Music by Gillian Whitehead

Libretto by Fleur Adcock

World Premiere - 23rd and 24th August 2016

Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre

NZ Premiere - 6th February 2017

Adam Chamber Music Festival, Theatre Royal

In 2015, Joanne Roughton-Arnold commissioned Gillian Whitehead and Fleur Adcock to write Iris Dreaming, a one-woman chamber opera based on the life of celebrated NZ writer and feminist, Iris Wilkinson. She performed and produced the world première as part of the 2016 Grimeborn Festival at London’s Arcola Theatre, with Sara Brodie directing and Jonathan Hargreaves conducting the Octandre Ensemble. In February 2017 she gave the New Zealand premiere of Iris Dreaming in partnership with NZTrio in a special adaptation for Nelson’s prestigious Adam Chamber Music Festival, later broadcast by Radio NZ (link here).

Director - SARA BRODIE



Ensemble for World Premiere - OCTANDRE ENSEMBLE

Reduced ensemble for the NZ Premiere - NZ TRIO


"An unforgettable premiere... A superb operatic performance that deserves to be repeated throughout New Zealand."

Margaret Hannigan, Nelson Mail


We gratefully acknowledge support from

Arts Council England National Lottery logo
Creative New Zealand logo
New Zealand Studies Network logo
New Zealand Society logo
Richard Thomas Foundation logo
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