I understand

Jack McNeill

Open Space artist Jack McNeill plans to use his place on the scheme to combine his work as a professional clarinet player and his contemporary folk duo McNeill & Heys in a new collaboration project entitled Propellor.

The project aims to create a new ensemble orchestrating a sound story experienced by an audience as they journey through the Suffolk environment. Within and of the landscape of these islands, the project hopes to tour the UK and perform in various inspirational settings, the music weaving threads of local history and our relationship to place, with community participation and interactive elements adding to the musical experience.


Propellor brings together soloists, writers and ensemble players from backgrounds as diverse as the English Baroque Soloists, amplified ensemble – Decibel, folk septet The Fair Rain (The Old Dance School), The Harborough Collective, CHROMA, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, improvisers from The Destroyers and the Glowrogues, electro-acoustic experimentalists and collaborators with Britten Sinfonia and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

Watch this space for video and recorded updates, rehearsal clips and developing plans involving outdoor interactive elements, as well as opportunities to be part of the finished work and come along to various open sessions. You can sign up to receive info at www.propellorensemble.uk.

Here is what Jack has said about his experience on Open Space so far:

Open Space has given me the confidence and support to dream big. With a huge amount of enthusiastic and realistic help on hand, industry experts and inspiring mentors placed within reach, the project is finally off the ground and gaining speed. Communication is key, whether it relates to a need simply for time and facilities, or feedback and trouble shooting. The Open Space team have been positive and quickly on hand with details, while still keeping one eye on the long term for the project when the focus has been necessarily specific. When I applied there was no way I could’ve known just how much there was to do, but the residency raises your game and everything now seems tangible and exciting.

The first part of the residency has been spent developing the material. The Open Space team have been really supportive of this process and now with most of the musical foundations laid we are working together to open lines of communication with the community for their involvement, to plan for the technical issues of performing the work outdoors and looking to touring possibilities and speculative venues for the project to live on beyond the residency.

I would encourage anyone with a project in mind to apply for Open Space, it’s been challenging and inspiring in equal measure so far. Put down what it is you think will be the best version of your idea, stay open and fine tune later – that’s what they’re there for.