TOURS / COAST-TO-COAST / DERBY England & The Holy Land / Derby

NEWSLETTER (May 2008) sent to all those on the Penkiln Burn emailing list.

Bill Drummond has been commissioned to create a work to celebrate the building of QUAD, a brand new multi million pound arts centre in Derby.

QUAD is situated on the Market Place at the heart of the city and is to be opened on 22 August 2008.

Drummond’s work is part of his ongoing choir project The17

He has written a score to be performed by 1,700 residents of Derby. The score is entitled REPEAT

Drummond will be working with these 1,700 in 100 groups of 17 over May, June and July. Each of these groups of 17 will be made up of a particular trade or other obvious grouping (17 taxi drivers, 17 midwives, 17 footballers etc). He will spend one hour working with each group. In that time he will explain what The17 is and what their involvement is to be. He will attempt to allay any fears that they have about taking part. He will tell them that it does not matter if they have not sung since they mumbled along at school assembly or they are in fact opera divas, what they are going to do will work.

He will then rehearse them and record their contribution. This recording is to be used in the final part of the performance on 22 August. Lastly he will ask them to pose for a photograph and film them for one minute holding this pose. Each of the 100 groups of 17 will be asked to hold the same pose – nine standing in a line, eight seated in front, all facing the camera. For this they will be expected to dress in the clothes of their trade.

The 100 recordings will be mixed together to make one massive but minimalist choral piece. It will only last for five minutes.

The 100 photographs will be printed and mounted and displayed in 100 shops throughout Derby. These photos will measure approximately 1 metre by 80 centimetres.

The 100 minutes of film will be edited together to make one continuous film. This will initially be screened on the BBC’s Big Screen in the Market Place.


All 1,700 of the contributing choristers will be invited to the Market Place, on the evening of the 22 August 2008, where they will hear the one and only play back of the performance they contributed to before it is deleted forever.

After which all 1,700 participants will be invited to a special private view reception and personal tour of the new QUAD building. This will be some time before the building is open to the general public. The 100 photos will be exhibited in the building over the autumn months. These photos and the film will also be available for viewing at

The performance will be repeated in Derby in ten years time (2018) with 100 different groups of 17.

Any questions?