A Contemporary Chamber Opera

Featuring soprano, plastic trumpet and vinyl DJ

A thought provoking history of plastic

Now is the time to look back and ask, where are we going?

'...Dramatic compelling and challenging...Brilliantly conceived...a remarkable cautionary take

    Andrew Burn - Former Head of Projects, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra

A Production for Theatre

Karen Wimhurst and MoDiP present Synthetica,  an eclectic chamber opera


Synthetica is the culmination of a programme of research, education and performance around plastics.  Created by composer Karen Wimhurst as part of her residency with the Museum of Design in Plastics,  the work was premiered at The Lighthouse Theatre Poole in Autumn  2018, directed by Katharine Piercey



Project Background

In the 1940’s Beautiful House magazine, a map of Synthetica was printed to educate the public about the Synthetic World we were entering.  In the light of the Pacific Garbage Patch, we come to this with a sense of irony!  However, plastics were born in a fervour of excitement.  The end of poverty was anticipated alongside a cessation of exploitation of the natural world (the slaughter of elephants for ivory billiard balls was a major concern). 

Synthetica is a fractured and poetic sung narrative telling a story full of heady discoveries by industrial chemists, consumer crazes fuelled by the dawn of advertising, the facilitation of our easy living, plastics as a massive aid in the face of poverty and the face of environmental catastrophe…....  the light and the dark.   Given these polarities, where are we heading?  The question of plastics touches upon our place in the natural world, our evolution in the digital age and well beyond.  


The Synthetica team can offer a series of educational workshops that can accompany this work such as:

  • A Composition Workshop, led by Karen Wimhurst exploring the history of plastics or topical plastics issues

  • Creating an Audio Soundscape with plastics, led by sound designer Ed Bersey and Karen Wimhurst

  • Vinyl Music Mixing and Beat Matching with DJ Ole Rudd

  • Writing for Trumpet led by Elaine Close (ex BBC Philharmonic)


Contact Details

Karen Wimhurst


Direct Line:   ‭01747 850978‬

Mobile:         07717 223180‬

Email:  karen@karenwimhurst.com

Website:   www.karenwimhurst.co.uk