Monday, 15 August 2011

Rockfords Rock Opera

Rockford's Rock Opera is a unique audio adventure for children and adults. With an amazing, original ecological story, great songs, narration, sound effects, CGI videos and illustrations all delivered via the web, Rockford's Rock Opera a new breed of 21st century, ipod friendly, audio-visual entertainment.
Think 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' crossed with 'Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds', 'Jungle Book' meets 'Jurassic Park'.
But, Rockford's Rock Opera is NOT the creation of a global entertainment company jumping on the 'green bandwagon'. It is the work of award winning charitable entrepreneurs, 'Sweetapple', ( and a handful of dedicated people working for the love of an amazing, original story. The project was created in an attic in Barnet, North London, and is entirely self produced and financed.
Featuring and scripted by respected BBC writer and performer, Steve Punt, this is a story is a story with a message - a unique 'take' on the threat of extinction and the effect man is having upon life on earth.
And it's a tale that's already attracting an exceptional response. Since its on-line launch in January 2008 and entirely by 'word of mouth' over 400,000 people have downloaded the story and over 8,000 schools across the world are using the audio story and resources as the basis for ecological lessons, activities, and school plays. 
(STATISTICS AS OF SEPT 1st 2009 - please contact us for the latest figures)

Writing in The Times, audiobook reviewer, Christina Hardyment said:
"Rockford's Rock Opera is an amazing mix of story, songs and sound effects. It has a freshness that makes you smile as you listen and could become a cult favourite as beloved as Wallace and Gromit."
And, in The Guardian's review, Sue Arnold wrote:
"For years I've distributed presents of Peter and the Wolf to children starting flute/clarinet/piano lessons. This year I'm breaking new ground with this thoroughly modern musical for kids... an ingenious story."

What's it About?
Far away in the Sea of Tranquillity lies the Island of Infinity, home to the last one of every extinct species.
Infinity has a secret for the world but Moog, a boy from Battersea in London, and Rockford his dog, are the only one who can deliver its message. Travelling to Infinity Moog and Rockford get drawn into an adventure in sound that threatens the entire human race.
Crucially, the Rockford's Rock Opera website contains loads of information about the threats currently faced by creatures and plants across the world together with lesson plans and resources, plus information about organisations that are trying to make a difference.
Matthew Sweetapple, co creator of Rockford's Rock Opera, explains:
"On one hand Rockford's Rock Opera is simply a great adventure for all ages but we hope, once they've heard our story, that listeners - children and adults - will want to know more about the real issues. The story does have an entirely original and persuasive view of extinction."
Although the Rockford's Rock Opera audio book has many young fans, it is not simply a children's story. Anyone who enjoys great music with an original story will find escape in the unique tale.
Rockford's Rock Opera is not a traditional 'stage musical' with hammy songs, its diverse musical inspiration can be found in The Beatles, The Small Faces, (early) Genesis, XTC and works such as Roger Glover's 'Butterfly Ball', and Harry Nilssen's 'The Point'.

How to discover Rockford's Rock Opera?
  • The whole of Rockford's Rock Opera Part One (52 minutes in total) is available as a free audio book to download, podcast and to stream FREE on the web.
  • Then, if you like what you hear, you can buy Parts 2 and 3 on CD or as downloads.
  • The show is also now going live in UK theatres - email us for details.

I was surprised how the girls took to this, as i had not really had the chance to listen to it myself, but they really enjoyed listing to the wonderful story which is accompanied by the most amazing orchestral music.
It really has opened up their horizons when it comes to music, I've noticed how they have noticed more orchestral music in adverts etc since taking the time to listen to this,
To be honest, their attention span with this is pretty limited though, but as we don't drive it limits the time they will sit still with nothing to look at.
The art work isn't the greatest but to be fair you don't really notice the box once you are snuggled down, whilst being transfixed by the music.
We still haven't finished the entire cd but they listen to it regular. Would love to see maybe some moving images or a slide show on their that moves along with the story to keep them listening that little longer at home.
The website is wonderfully informative with a shop and a podcast, which i think is an amazing addition. The website isn't the greatest, and could really do with some amazing design and to be better accessible for children. Maybe some printables to drive children to the site as they are the ones who get the most from this.
Over all a fabulous and unique take on a story time CD!

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