tempus fugit : time flies

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"A theatrical display of early English vocal and instrumental music combined with haunting Indian melodies... intricate costumes and puppetry…”


"Let 'Calcutta' go to all corners, and speak for diversity.”

By 1780, the East India Company had transformed Calcutta into a small English city. Musicians travelled from London to India, bringing the music of Corelli and Handel with them. Others played their harpsichords with local groups of Indian classical musicians, and transcribed Indian music into European notation.

Explore music from the streets and soirées of a young Calcutta, where performers wound melodies from many cultures into their own traditions. Ensemble Tempus Fugit melds this unusual combination of period music and Indian song with shadow puppetry, dance and drama to tell a story of a traveller making his way to the musical heart of the City of Palaces.

Repertoire includes music by Playford, Purcell, and Locke; music for sitar and voice; period transcriptions of Hindustani and Bengali songs.

Randall Scotting, counter-tenor
Debipriya Sircar, Indian classical vocalist

Jamie Akers, lutes
Sophie Creaner, early winds
Lucia Capellaro, viola da gamba
Ellen Bundy, Baroque violin
Katie De La Matter, harpsichord & creative direction
and Jasdeep Degun, sitar

Zulaiha Sheikh (DSM), Saiful Islam,
and Jabari Ngozi (Asst. Director), actors & movement

Puppets by Emily Dyble, Lori Hopkins & Amy Rowe
Design by George Chaffey

Stage direction by Francesca Bridge-Cicic

Thanks to the 141 of you who backed our crowdfunder, we've raised over £7000 towards our theatrical Calcutta tour!

We still need your help! 

For more info, click the button Below. 

We've got a lot of great rewards on offer, including tracks, behind-the-scenes access, and more!

Support Calcutta's 2018 tour!

the calcutta revival tour: origins

From our base in London, we experiment with removing the barriers between performer, audience, art form, culture - and blending different senses. How can we amplify this amazing historical music? How can we build performances of music written before 1750 as bridges to brand-new experiences? How can we reach as many people as we can?

Questions like these led us to make Calcutta, a unique theatrical show exploring period crossover between European Baroque & Indian Classical musicians in the 18th century.

After years of preparation, we've revived and reinvented this show for a tour: we've got an amazing cast and band, did a show at the Brighton Early Music Festival on 5 November, a successful run at Tara Arts, a multicultural theatre in London, in April -- and now we're looking ahead to Brighton Refugee Week on 21 June!

We've got more to come in London & Leeds this summer.

But first, we need to fully fund our tour -- and that's where you come in.


what's the history behind the project?

We created Calcutta for the Brighton Early Music Festival's 'BREMF Live Scheme'. Our research led us to a group of wives of East India Company officers in the 18th century: one, Margaret Fowkes, invited local Indian classical musicians into her front room to jam. Another, Sophia Plowden, asked a European musician friend to write down some Indian tunes they played.

This should not have worked. European and Indian Classical music are totally different musical languages. And yet it did.

That caught our imaginations. We were inspired by this early crossover between musicians, who - for a moment - were exploring one another's traditions with an equal curiosity, despite the colonial context.

So we created a story of a journey, to link all the different music together. We brought in puppeteers to help us travel over the sea. And we wove it through with our experiments with these jam session tunes, as well as crossover in the other direction (the song in our video is a British folksong set in Sanskrit in the late 18th century!)

We won sponsorship from the Arts Council in 2009, and the end result was two beautiful sold-out evenings, including one in the vast ornate space of St. Bartholomew's Church in Brighton. We were really excited to be booked there again, as well as in Tara Arts, which puts on outstanding multicultural theatre in west London.


why a revival?

Calcutta received a great response. We feel a show about early multicultural crossover is especially timely now, as controversy about diversity creeps back into the headlines. And we're excited to show how this early crossover has a direct link to our 21st-century reality.

We've also just incorporated, and are ready with more innovative concerts up our sleeves. This project is a launchpad for so much more.


what will your help let us do?

We're raising money to workshop our new music and material, & adapt wonderful costumes, puppets, and staging for different spaces as we tour: we've taken it from the ark of St. Bartholomew's in Brighton to a jewel of a black-box theatre in London's Tara Arts, a venue so committed to multiculturalism that its walls are made from Indian and English materials. We'll need to remodel the show for each space we go into.

We also need to spend time in rehearsal developing our period crossover material for the spaces we're in, and incorporating new research. All of this is expensive! The £7000 we raised on our crowdfunder comes to roughly 1/3 of the total cost of the project.

The Arts Council has come in to support us, which is amazing news! But we still need you to make this work.

We've got lots of amazing rewards to say thank you: click the button above to have a look!


Unlocking the language of German Baroque music

In eighteenth-century Germany, the musical key a piece was written in could spark all kinds of emotions. Johann Mattheson, a friend of Handel, described keys full of ‘desperate, fatal sadness’, or ‘like someone gorgeous wandering through the room’.

The acclaimed 4160Tuesdays joins Ensemble Tempus Fugit to use scents inspired by Mattheson’s descriptions to colour the keys of chamber music by Bach, Telemann, and others.

Explore your own responses to the deepened dimensions of scented music, all performed on period instruments.

Repertoire includes trio and solo sonatas by Telemann, Handel, Bertouch, Fasch & Bach

Persephone Gibbs, violin
George Clifford, violin
Katie De La Matter, harpsichord
Jonny Byers, cello

Francesca Bridge-Cicic & Lina Pettersson, dance

Featuring perfumes by Sarah McCartney of 4160Tuesdays


past programmes


Shooting the Breeze


Oonagh Lee, Baroque oboe & recorders
Jakab Kaufmann, Baroque bassoon
Alex McCartney, Baroque guitar & theorbo
Katie De La Matter, harpsichord

Not one to fall out of touch, Telemann kept up with his old school chum Fasch, his godson C.P.E Bach, and traded letters and presents with Handel throughout his life: listen in as all four correspondents finally meet in a concert of rarely-performed music for winds from Handel’s distant homeland.

Handel House, London — SOLD OUT
Fenton House, London — SOLD OUT

& St. Michael's Battersea


Shall we Dance?

A cosmopolitan collection of the music, songs, and dances found in the courts and homes of seventeenth-century England, all underpinning the story of a mod prince and his court of rocker musicians.

Arbeau: Belle qui tiens ma vie
Zanetti: Pavaniglia
Caroso: Villanella
Locke: Suite from Musick for Severall Friends
Campion: ‘Beauty since you so much desire,’ ‘Come you pretty false-ey’d wanton’
Praetorius: Branle de la Torche
Caroso: Cascarda chiara stella
Purcell: ‘Take not a woman’s anger ill’
Playford: ‘Mr. Beveridge’s Ground,’ ‘Mr. Beveridge’s Maggot,’ ‘Emperor of the Moon,’ and an Irish adaptation of ‘Stingo’