Carmen at the Wandsworth Civic Suite

Carmen at the Wandsworth Civic Suite


Georges Bizet


Rogue Opera

Wandsworth Oasis at Thirty

From 6pm Wednesday 26th June 2019

Civic Suite Wandsworth SW18 2PU

We are delighted to work alongside Rogue Opera to celebrate our 30th anniversary with Bizet’s opera Carmen.Carmen is a beautiful and flamboyant classic which fits well with the brand of Wandsworth Oasis – loud and proud, quirky and slightly mad.

Gill Perkins Wandsworth Oasis CEO

Tickets are just £30 which includes dinner some available but selling fast

Book early to avoid ridicule

I see Gill regularly on the south-west London circuit and caught up with her the other day at the opening of the Battersea Arts Centre Scratch Hub co-working space opening, where my nutritionist (the decadence) Beanie was exposed to my peanut habit. Dry-roasted peanutsare aberration slipped in after I started drinking. I associate them with strange west-country pubs, lager and lime. That’s all by the by, but it was while I was shovelling dry-roasted peanuts (an abomination but there wasn’t anything else) that Gill told me what she was planning for Pride, Oasis at 30 and all that.

“We invite you and as many others as you like to join us at the Wandsworth Town Hall Civic Suite on Wednesday 26th June 2019 from 6pm. There will be a paid bar and our famous tombola, Spanish themed.

“Ticket price includes food but please do help us by confirming if you would like the vegetarian or chicken option upon purchasing your ticket. The vegetarian option is also suitable for vegans.

“The performance will start at 7pm and Act 1 will run until 8.20pm.

“There will then be an interval in the banqueting room where food will be served from 8.30pm-9.40pm.

“Act 2 will run from 9.45pm – 10.40pm. The bar will be open until 11.15pm”.

So there you are. The full SP. I’m a big fan of Gill’s; you’ll get great value for your thirty quid. She’s even parted me with the price of my plus one which as any self-respecting hack will tell you is an abuse. I’m Scottish and my mother’s mother’s mother’s mother was Jewish. Let’s avoid too many stereotypes but I did my deep breathing exercises and coughed up.

You probably don’t need me to tell you a whole heap about either Georges Bizet or his most famous opera. (The most famous of all operas? It’s up there.) Bold sexy and flamboyant, indulging in a third stereotype in a couple of paragraphs,it seems a good choice for Pride with three or four killer arias:

Habanera: L’amour est un oiseau rebelle

Toreador Song


and the Flower Song

alongside its dramatic overture, this is an excellent opportunity for the novice to dip into an opera in what promises to be an unthreatening and accessible environment. I’m no connoisseur but this isn’t my first or last preview of Carmen never mind performance and I can’t wait.


Bizet’s Carmen is one of the most popular and familiar operas, with its music and characters known well outside the genre. But it is more than just a grand spectacle or operatic tragedy. When Bizet created Carmen from the short story by Prosper Merrimee, he broke operatic convention by celebrating proletarian and immoral ways of life. He also vividly brought to life the character of Carmen (almost a side note in the original text) as a complex, proud and spirited woman who strove at every turn to claim independence and agency in her life, love and friendships.


Rogue Opera strips away the pomp and pageantry to present a raw and intimate piece of theatre, examining the power dynamics between people and social classes, through this tale of seduction, obsession, rejection and revenge, heightened by Bizet’s captivating music. Set against some of the most recognisable music in opera, this drama is a serious and still-relevant examination of violence, obsession and the struggle of a complex and spirited woman striving for independence and choice in life and love.

All that and it was Editor-Kate’s dad’s favourite opera, but let’s leave the last words to Gill, on the the thirtieth anniversary of one of Wandsworth’s great institutions:

We look forward to welcoming you in June to celebrate this special 30th anniversary with us. We will also be remembering our beloved founder and Chair Patrick Lethaby who would have loved to have been able to celebrate this event with us. 

Celebrating 30 years of HIV support and prevention work, the charity was originally set up in the midst of the AIDS pandemic that swept across the world killing an estimated 39 million people.  At that time, we offered a volunteer led drop in and support service to those affected by AIDS, their families and loved ones who were suffering from extreme prejudice and misinformation.  The work was funded by a charity shop on Battersea Park Road. 

During the course of the 1980s and 1990s many HIV/AIDS charities started up offering professional support programmes and end of life care.  The Trustees of Wandsworth Oasis decided to close the drop in centre and focus on what they were good at – raising funds through charity shops.  Over the next 20 years a further 4 shops were opened in the Wandsworth area and the charity started a small grants programme for other HIV charities to apply to and gave out more than £500,000. 

 Over the last decade much has changed.  Infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS,  no longer means a death sentence today. In fact, most HIV positive people today who have access to modern medication are expected to live a normal lifespan.  However, there are still more than 100,000 people with an HIV diagnosis in the UK, many of  whom still suffer from stigma, and 1 in 12 people with HIV do not know they have the virus.  The prevalence of HIV is particularly high in London and in SW London postcodes.  So the charity is still very much needed…

 The focus of Wandsworth Oasis has also had to change.  Our aims today are to work in partnership with other organisations to challenge stigma, support the London prevention agenda by raising awareness of how the virus is spread as well as supporting vulnerable people living with HIV.  Over the last 10 years we have given grants in excess of £600,000 generated by 10 shops, mainly to projects in South West London or to pan London projects accessible to local people.  We are blessed to have great community support that we work hard to maintain.  We have a 22 strong staff team (12 FTE) working alongside our volunteer team and Trustees.  Almost without exception, all our retail staff had volunteered with us for at least two years before joining the staff team and many had been long term unemployed.  The team, led by CEO Gill Perkins, goes the extra mile in the community – being supporters of local networking organisation such as the Wandsworth Chamber of Commerce, running stalls at community events, and hosting out of hours events in the shops. 

We are also very proud of our community volunteer programme that focuses on giving individuals an opportunity to engage successfully with the charity – if you know anyone who is looking to improve their language skills, wants some customer oriented work experience, has learning or mental health problems and looking for something to do, we can probably help.  Ask them to get in touch with our Head Office on 0203 638 1630. 

We have a programme of events throughout the year – sign up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss out.  Our signature World AIDS Day event The Red Ribbon Cabaret is on Thursday 28th November.

Five Ways to Get Involved…

As a small community based charity, we rely on support from the local community.

  1. If you are decluttering, downsizing, moving house or know anyone who is, please bear us in mind. We can collect large or bulky items for free.  We accept clothing, accessories, furniture, electrical items, books, music, kids’ stuff.
  2. Volunteer with us – it is such fun. No minimum hours.
  3. Shop with us – you will be amazed at some of the fabulous items in our shops
  4. Come to an event and help us raise awareness and funds
  5. Undertake a challenge event for us…get in touch



Visit our shops

553 Battersea Park Road

310 Battersea Park Road

195 Upper Richmond Road, Putney

45 Old Town, Clapham

138 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield

127 Mitcham Lane, Furzedown

234 Mitcham Road, Amen Corner

40 Trinity Road, Tooting Bec

2 Leigham Court Road, Streatham Hill

61 Balham High Road, Balham

POP UP Furniture 225 Upper Richmond Road, Putney


For heaven’s sake go to Carmen. It’s a great cause. You’ll have a fabulous evening and surely that’s just a bonus.


© James Douglas

Picture © Cristina Schek







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