Hello, I’m Vivien, a singer and champion of group singing. As a young person I was empowered to sing by Frankie Armstrong, and I’m part of the Natural Voice Network, the organisation she inspired. I believe that we’re all fundamentally creative, and can express our unique creativity with our voice. I lead a free, open singing group for wellbeing, 1pm every Monday, at The Dragon Café in the crypt of St George the Martyr Church, in the London Borough of Southwark. I also lead regular singing groups for wellbeing in the London Borough of Hillingdon. In August every year, near the beautiful town of Beverley in East Yorkshire, I teach singing at a summer school.
I perform early and folk music with Giles Lewin in the duo Alva. For many years I performed, toured and recorded with early music groups Sinfonye, The Dufay Collective and The Carnival Band. I love creating relaxed, inclusive performances in special venues, to surprise, delight and entertain. I often collaborate with practitioners from different fields of arts, culture, education and science. I use early songs, often local and unusual, to create bespoke events, like Ballad Walks, which connect people more intimately with places. I also work with programme and documentary-makers to research and perform songs for radio and film.
I am part of the growing field of arts and health research and practice, and I’m an Associate of The Sidney De Haan Research Centre for Arts and Health. I have developed a new training in arts and health for GPs and their clinical colleagues, which is being trialled in Yorkshire and elsewhere. I work in an advisory capacity, empowering groups and organisations to incorporate arts in social prescribing.
Photography – Main photo at top: by Edmund Blok | Portrait of Vivien Ellis and Giles Lewin: by Edmund Blok | All Globe Theatre photography: by Peter Le May