'Panning down Manchester streets, animated petals and litter swirl through the air, while Take That’s ‘Back For Good’ plays alongside the choir’s own angelically harmonised version. It’s a spine-tingling moment in a film piece that reveals bucketsful about sisterhood, camaraderie and community'
— Lucie Davies, MetroLife

The Manchester Girls Choir was formed in 1961 with a no-audition policy, recruiting girls from all backgrounds, regardless of musical ability. Yet they became renowned for their exquisite sound, winning international prizes.

The Assembly is a song of praise to Mrs Jones, its influential conductress, remembered through the voices of choirgirls past and present. Female teenage angst plays against a backdrop of Manchester in the early 1980’s, a time when society could be said to be turning its back on shared and collective experience.

Commissioned for the inaugural Manchester International Festival, The Assembly showed as a gallery-based installation; with a choir performance and reunion, in the Cornerhouse Gallery June to August 2007, followed by Sadler’s Wells London November 2007. The documentary film version was made in 2010 and premiered at WhatIf Festival at Siobhan Davies Studios.


Voices Caroline Turner, Janet Cooper, Rachel Davies, Jane Golan, Catherine Pank, Alison Holland, Eizabeth Whittingham, Anjuli Mehta, Debra Povey, Sandra MacKay, Heather Holland, Paula Bodgiano, Rosie Al Mulla Music ‘Water of Tyne’ Michael Neaum, ‘The Lord Bless You And Keep You’ John Rutter, ‘The Riddle Song’ trad, ‘Back For Good’ Gary Barlow, ‘Ghost Town’ Jerry Dammers/Special AKA Line Producer Kathryn Dempsey, Production Assistants Isla Suveren, Jessica Drader Director of Photography Erik Wilson Spark/Additional DoP Peter Emery Camera Assistant Oliver Morris Grip Dave Rankin Gaffer Pawel Polak Runners Karmel Edmondson, Jack Burke Choreographer/Dancer Julia Griffin Composer/Sound Designer Kevin Malone Sound Recordist/Additional Music Thom Harrison Additional Sound Design Tim Barker Animation The Neighbourhood Editor Daniel Saul Producer/Director Rachel Davies


Cornerhouse Gallery
30 June - 26 August 2007

Sadler's Wells
Lilian Baylis Theatre, Kahn Lecture Theatre
2-3 November 2007

Siobhan Davies Studios
Whatif Festival 2009