Contemporary English opera The Hive to open at Hoxton Hall in July

the hive opera

Contemporary English opera The Hive is to run at Hoxton Hall this summer.

The Hive will return to London to perform at Hoxton Hall for one-night-only on 7 July.


The piece has music by one of the UK’s most accomplished and diverse musicians Harvey Brough (founder, musical director and producer of Harvey and the Wallbangers) and words by previous associate director of The Royal Court Theatre Carole Hayman (Ladies of Letters, The Warfleet Chronicles).

It was Carole Hayman’s research into female serial killers while a fellow at Kings College London, as well as her interviews with those connected to the killings that inspired The Hive. The title, The Hive, was inspired by a Forensic Psychiatrist who said, “Women kill close to the home, or the Hive, as you might call it.”

The Hive fuses verbatim interviews with a scorching operatic score to explore our fascination with serial killers – from grim tales to the real thing; from the first act of murder to the protracted effect of psychopathic darkness. A story as beguiling as it is shocking.

Opening in a hall hosting a Forensic Psychiatric Conference into the Nature / Nurture of Evil, with spooky, soft, a cappella choral humming coming from the Chorus, we see a doctor giving a paper on borderline personality disorder/ psychopathy. It’s a monologue to a peer group at the conference. He talks about male psychopaths and questions, or rather raises the question, of whether a woman can be a full-blown psychopath. The prevailing attitude of the forensic industry is that she cannot. Women are not natural born killers.

Bracketed by the conference, the narrative continues in Courtrooms, homes, prison cells and later a forest inhabited by some familiar Grimm characters, but this is no fairy tale.

Little Red Riding Hood, on her way to visit her Grannie, is abducted by Hansel, the Big Bad Wolf, and Gretel – who are partying in their Gingerbread House. Hunter, the Huntsman, cannot save her, though he does his best. Everyone touched pays a price – no one escapes.

Directed by British theatre director Paulette Randall MBE, the production is designed by Ellen Cairns with associate producers Helene Mathieson and Pat Wilson.

Writer Carole Hayman said: “What I want to do in Hive is challenge popular stereotypes and re-connect with the basic humanity of the people who’ve caused the suffering. It’s crucial we keep in mind that they are only human, just like the rest of us. How do we know what we too might be capable of doing? 10% of us are personality disordered. Like it or not, a part of these killers is in us all. My hope is that – without condoning, or sympathising – we might be able to understand and even empathise with the perpetrator. That way, I believe, redemption lies.”

For more information and tickets, visit

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