In Spring 2017 Verity worked with producers Situations to create Refrain - a unique choral work, devised with groups of volunteer male singers at three remarkable sites, each with a a unique history.
Richmond Castle, North Yorkshire
The streets of St Helens, Merseyside
Newhaven Fort, East Sussex
Refrain was inspired by stories of conscientious objectors in the First World War. And each of these sites has a particular connection to those stories – they are places where men who refused to fight lived, were imprisoned or faced court martial.
Singers drawn from the local community around each site worked with Verity and her team of collaborators to fill these spaces with sound, from rousing choruses to intimate duets. Across three weekends, audiences were invited to ‘follow the song’ and weave their own journey through these spaces of historic significance.
‘These are local volunteers, dressed in everyday clothes. There’s something beautiful about the rapt concentration on their faces. We share a moment of connection with them, and can literally feel their breath on our necks as they sing… quite sublime’ - Brighton Source
‘A performance speckled with moments of transcendent beauty’ - Fringe Review
REFRAIN was produced by Situations with Verity Standen Projects, in partnership with English Heritage, Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts and Heart of Glass, St. Helens.
REFRAIN was generously supported by Arts Council England, the Jerwood Foundation, Heritage Lottery Foundation and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
‘Sound rose and fell in waves until it felt as if I was drenched in music that had seeped its way into every organ in my body, and maybe even found my soul’ – Lyn Gardner, Guardian (on HUG)