• About Vivien Ellis, her background as a singer, performer, champion of group singing for wellbeing, community choir leader, trainer, music researcher & more.

Teaching and performing

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.

Research / arts and health

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

Recent testimonials

“She combines a natural brilliance as a performer with an innate empathy as a teacher to produce workshops that are inspiring and fun”.

Workshop participant

“Viv is a beautiful singer and expert teacher. It is a joy to sing in her group and to be taught by her. I would thoroughly recommend her to anyone with the slightest interest in singing, as well as to expert singers. You will gain much, whether you sing seldom or regularly, whether a capella, or accompanied”.

Workshop participant

“It was a real pleasure to work with you and the Dragon Café Singers, and I am truly inspired by the work that you do and the fantastic organisation that is the Dragon Café. Thank you for your commitment to the project and for your enthusiasm and dedication to ensuring that the concert was a success and that everyone had a lovely time. Finding our Way is such a brilliant song – thank you for your rousing and joyous performance of it!”.

Learning & Participation Officer, The Globe Theatre 2019

“Vivien was exceptional; one doesn’t often have the opportunity of working with someone doing original research, who is then able to communicate it in such an accessible way. She has a range of teaching techniques which involve and engage a group”.

Workshop participant
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