Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to perform free 'Wemba's Dream' in Wembley Park

EDITORIAL USE ONLYMembers of the public watch a surprise appearance by a brass quintet from the Roy

A surprise appearance by a brass quintet from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at Beton Building overlooking the Spanish Steps in Wembley Park. - Credit: David Parry/PA Wire

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) is joining five Brent-based groups to host a free day-long performance of music, drama and dance in Wembley Park.

Twenty five RPO musicians and more than 40 other artists will perform Wemba's Dream in five locations around Wembley Park on September 11 from 11am to 4pm.

The performance will show how orchestral music can combine with contemporary dance, theatre, carnival arts, film and spoken word to produce a creative experience for audiences of all ages.

Inspiration for the project came from a traveller called Wemba who, many centuries ago, stopped and created his home in Wembley.

He was the first of a generation of dreamers who have made Brent their home. Wemba’s Dream will connect today’s “Wembas”; dreamers of all backgrounds and ages, who make their home in in the borough, via the narrative of creative musical landscapes.

James Williams, managing director at the RPO said: “Community engagement and inclusion is at the heart of our vision, ensuring that everyone everywhere can experience the thrill and excitement of live orchestra music.

"Our goal is to make everyone feel welcome, for current and new audiences to feel respected and for musicians of all backgrounds to be given equal opportunities on merit."

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The day-long, free performance experience is part of a shared vision between Quintain and the RPO to establish a creative hub bringing together education, community outreach, performance, digital projects and administration in a single location. 

Five groups are already working with the RPO in preparation. 

BitterSuite is working with Brent filmmaker Yasmin Nicholas and RPO musicians to create Dream Feel, a nocturnal sensory adventure where music moves around the audience to conjure up the ever-changing world of dreams in the Events Pad, opposite the London Designer Outlet entrance.

Performers from Brent Youth Theatre will share Festival of Dreams, a musical fable of dreams, of hope overcoming fear.

They will parade from the Spanish Steps in carnival costumes made by Harlesden-based Mahogany Carnival Arts, down into the Arena Square in front of the SSE Arena.

Music to create the dreamscape will be performed by RPO musicians and the St Michael and All Angels Steel Pan Band.

In When I Wake, from black contemporary dance company Fubunation will explore sleep, nightmare and the opportunity of a new dawn with a quartet of RPO Musicians.

This performance will inaugurate the Olympic Steps Undercroft, a new cultural space beneath the new steps leading up to Wembley Stadium.

In the London Designer Outlet’s Retail Square, poets and musicians will bring the aspirations of Brent residents to life in Dreaming Well, a "magical, immersive performance" created by Word Up with musicians from the RPO. 

Josh McNorton, culture director at Quintain, said: “This is an incredibly special way to mark the long-term creative partnership between Quintain and RPO, which aims to unify local community groups and showcase the best of Brent talent, whilst presenting orchestral music in new, thought-provoking forms and environments.

"Not only does the project celebrate the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra moving its headquarters to the area in 2024, but Wemba’s Dream will be an annual event that we hope will provide the rich creative talent of Brent with a global platform to showcase their brilliant work."

The project also comes at a milestone moment for the Orchestra as it starts its 75th anniversary season, welcomes HRH Prince of Wales as its new patron and Vasily Petrenko as its new music director.

This project indicates the way in which the Orchestra is continually broadening the type of music it performs and the experiences it presents.

That breadth is just part of its commitment to building audiences, widening access and placing orchestral music at the heart of the community, all of which are central to its future ambition. 

Mr Williams added: "The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is on a journey to build an inclusive, relevant and exciting orchestra for the modern age – and the exciting projects we are working on at Wembley Park will support our ambitions to allow the broadest possible audience to engage with the joy of orchestral music and live performance.”