One of the best-loved biblical stories of all time is to be staged in five venues across Wales from this week.

Benjamin Britten's opera Noye's Fludde takes the popular Noah's Ark tale and turns it on its head using words from the medieval Chester mystery play, this time with an important new environmental twist.

More than 1,000 schoolchildren and young people have been involved in the productions, which are being led by Mid Wales Opera with the first outing being staged at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre.

The company has undertaken the daunting task of staging the opera in just eight days with performances for the public on Thursday.

Dozens of actors, singers, dancers and musicians from the local area will take to the stage, accompanied by professionals from the company's own orchestra and opera team and choreography from Ballet Cymru.

The show finds biblical hero Mr Noah in something of a pickle, abandoned by a wayward Mrs Noah who has got mixed up with 'the wrong sort' and ditched him and her children. At the same time Mr Noah finds himself unable to turn his attention away from how quickly deforestation is ravaging his beloved planet. The plot sees him determined to win back his wife, while saving the world. No mean feat!

The project is being supported by the Arts Council of Wales, the Colwinston Trust and Size of Wales - a unique scheme launched last year by the Prince of Wales. Size of Wales aims to protect an area of tropical rain forest the size of Wales from the forces of deforestation and illegal logging and is driven by Cardiff-based charity The Waterloo Foundation.

Fitting it is then that the Voice of God in the production will be provided by the environmentalist and television celebrity Iolo Williams.

He said: "I am delighted to be involved in such an exciting and important project. "The issues of climate change that the production highlights are of great importance to our children and I welcome Size of Wales' involvement."

Mr Noye will be played by baritone Charles Johnston with mezzo-soprano Ann Atkinson as his wife Mrs Noye, who is partial to a bit of sunbathing.

All the others role are taken by youngsters from schools, youth theatre groups, dance groups and orchestras across Wales, conducted by Mid Wales Opera's Artistic Director, Nicholas Cleobury.

The idea behind this interpretation was dreamt up by Clare Williams after 25 years of producing huge and engaging theatrical events for young people.

She said: "It's a great challenge to mount an opera in eight days, but Wales is so rich in musical and theatrical talent that we are confident that the young people will do the piece justice."

Mid Wales Opera Company will be resident in Aberystwyth Arts Centre from 16-20 October working with the following schools: Ysgol Gymraeg, Plas Crug Primary School, Craig yr Wylfa Primary School, Llancynfelin Primary School, Talybont, Comins Coch Primary School and Tregaron Secondary School.

The performances will be on Thursday 20 October at 1pm and 7pm. Tickets are available from Aberystwyth Arts Centre ticket office 01970 62 32 32 or go online:

The company will also tour the production through the winter and into Spring 2012 at four other venues. These are Theatr Brycheiniog in Brecon, Gwyn Hall, Neath, Park and Dare Theatre, Treorchy and Theatr Hafren, Newtown.

For further information and full tour details visit To find out more about the Size of Wales project and how to get involved visit

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