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Gods of the Game: A Football Opera to be staged in Surrey and broadcast on Sky Arts

The new production will coincide with the long-awaited 2022 World Cup

Theatre in the Woods at Grange Park Opera, Surrey
© Richard Lewisohn

A brand new football-themed opera will be hitting the stage and the screen next autumn, coinciding with the much-anticipated 2022 World Cup.

Gods of the Game: A Football Opera, helmed by Young Vic artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, will have a running time of 90 minutes – just like the game itself – and will be sung in English.

The piece is set to open at the Theatre in the Woods at Grange Park Opera, Surrey on 6 October 2022 ahead of a broadcast on Sky Arts, alongside Freeview and NOW.

Kwei-Armah commented: "Opera. Football. A marriage made in heaven. Both full of passion, drama and charismatic stars. I'm incredibly excited to bring this extraordinary idea to life at Grange Park Opera and on Sky Arts. Full casting will be announced in the coming months."

The creative team includes five composers: Julian Philips, Aran O'Grady, Ábel M G E, Blasio Kavuma and Lucy Armstrong, as well as writer and librettist Phil Porter.

The production also promises the world's first "footy fan chorus", a group of football fans who will be given a crash course in opera before filming scenes inside a UK football stadium, with the footage being used in the performance itself.

The plot follows two childhood friends and footballing legends who decide to front their nation's bid to host a World Cup tournament, only to encounter a world of bribery and corruption.

Produced by Factory Films and Julie Heathcote, Gods of the Game: A Football Opera was commissioned by Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content for Sky UK and Ireland and Phil Edgar-Jones, Director of Sky Arts and Entertainment.

A broadcast date is still to be confirmed.

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