Superwomen of Science @ Fossil Festival, Lyme Regis 2017

Festival programme image

 Superwomen of Science
Minerva Scientifica

Winner of a Three Weeks Editors Award – Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016

Singing with Fossils!

Our expedition to the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival made us many new friends. These included 100 children from Symondsbury Primary School Dorset, St. John’s Primary School Weymouth,  Mountjoy School Dorset and Musbury Primary School, Devon, and the 20 adults who accompanied them. They arrived in groups on Friday 28th April at The Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis,  and were introduced to the female earth scientists depicted in the “Raising Horizons” exhibition which was displayed in the auditorium.  We all got to know the women very well – and the children created some very special work which you can hear them sing here: – 

TrowelBlazers  – A New Song
On April 29th 2017 at 1.30pm “Superwomen of Science – Minerva Scientifica” was performed at Lyme Regis Fossil Festival in the Marine Theatre by electric voice theatre surrounded by the TrowelBlazers exhibition “Raising Horizons”.WP - TB 4Frances M Lynch created a new vocal work for the occasion, celebrating the scientists depicted in the exhibition and inspired by the Festival theme – Time and Tide and Tectonics.

“TrowelBlazers – Time and Tide and Tectonics wait for no woman”

Raising Horizons
Time and Tide and Tectonics wait for no woman
TrowelBlazers finding footprints of the past
Archaeology, geology, palaeontology that’s us
Mary Anning had a dog, holds a hammer in her hand
found a lot of dinosaur poo, flying dragons corprolytes
“In every outthrust headland, In every curving beach,
In every grain of sand, there is the story of the Earth”
(Rachel Carson)
The Earth, what is it? How was it formed?
People, who are we? What have we made?
Creatures of the world, where do they come from?
Minerva Scientifica – Raising Horizons

The work is for a live solo voice with a chorus of recorded voices generously donated by  the children of  Symondsbury , St. John’s Weymouth and Musbury Primary Schools, and Mountjoy Special and Community School and by Pippa J Redfern, Danielle Barry, Kathryn Holland, Miranda Melville, Colette Milward, Eloise Ward, Fiona McAlister
all other voices are Frances M Lynch

Superwomen of Mathematics – Science Museum Lates Feb 2017


Strength in numbers

Minerva Scientifica returns to the Science Museum Lates series with some of our Superwomen of Science – this time it’s Maths!

In addition to works by Plowman, Whitley, Frances-Hoad and Bingen the programme features the premiere of Minerva Mathematica by Lynch – listen below
View our Photo Album from a great evening attended by 3616 people

Minerva Scientifica:- Performance Programmes


Minerva Mathematica Frances M Lynch (world premiere)
Pulsar Superstar
  Kate Whitley
Rejoice Greatly  George Frideric Handel
Epitaph for a Comet Hunter Frances M Lynch 
Something more than mortal 
 Cheryl Frances-Hoad
Williamina – Astronomer fae Dundee   Frances M Lynch 
Seven Dark Lines Lynne Plowman
Spiritus Sanctus Vivificans Hildegard von Bingen

Blue Maths Gallery

electric voice theatre production team

Frances M Lynch – Soprano, Artistic Director
Dr Patricia Fara – Science Historian
Herbie Clarke – PR & Sound Design
Miranda Melville – Design

Composer’s Programme Notes

Minerva Mathematica was created especially for this event at the Science Museum celebrating the new Winton Mathematics Gallery. The piece uses text from the gallery exhibition and curator David Rooney, the names of many important women mathematicians, quoting some of their own words, and was created with the advice of Dr Patricia Fara President of the British Society for the History of Science, and reflects the research into ScottishWomen Scientists by Catherine Booth (National Library of Scotland).The work is for a live solo voice  with a chorus of recorded voices generously donated by: –  Pippa J Redfern, Danielle Barry, Kathryn Holland, Miranda Melville, Colette Milward, Eloise Ward, Fiona McAlister, and Frances M Lynch.

Epitaph for a Comet Hunter uses four strands of material, fragmented and interwoven:- the names and dates of the 8 comets discovered by Caroline Herschel; a Catch (or song) written by her brother William and copied out in her own handwriting, quotes from her journal, and the citation received in a letter from the Royal Astronomical Society who awarded her a medal. The final section is from the epitaph she composed for herself.  Frances M Lynch
Caroline Herschel (1750-1848) – singer of Handel who discovered 8 comets and 14 nebulae

Seven Dark Lines is a miniature character study of the Scottish science writer, Mary Somerville, in her own words.  Lynne Plowman
Mary Somerville (1780-1872) – mathematician, cosmologist and science writer

Something More Than Mortal uses Ada Lovelace’s own words, many of which are quotes from her letters to Charles Babbage, to convey her extraordinary mind and character. Cheryl Frances-Hoad
Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852) – mathematician and pre-computer programmer!

Williamina – Astronomer fae Dundee  is based on the traditional tune “The Piper O Dundee” Fleming emigrated to the USA with a husband who abandoned her on arrival with her unborn child. Her obvious intelligence led to her elevation from housekeeper to Astronomer at the Boston Observatory under Charles Pickering . Frances M Lynch
Williamina Fleming (1857 – 1911) – astronomer, discovered the Horsehead nebulae

The Pulsar Superstar a portrait of scientist Jocelyn Bell Burnell using pulsar sounds translated into singing and based on some of her own words.  Kate Whitley
Jocelyn Bell-Burnell (born 1943) – who should have won a Nobel Prize for analysing pulsars?

Spiritus Sanctus Vivificans  by Hildegard von Bingen (1098 – 1179) –herbalist, healer, poet, astronomer, composer…..
Jocelyn and the planet


Entomologists Anonymous – Minerva Scientifica


Entomologists Anonymous – Minerva Scientifica

A Workshop and Performance Project developed for Ferndown Upper School in collaboration with Soroptimist International Bournemouth and Bournemouth University

 ‘Once hooked on the microscope, life can never be long enough’.  Miriam Rothschild


Minerva Scientifica – Eva Crane Soundscape by Frances M Lynch for playback

How doth the little busy bee by Karen Wimhurst for solo voice

Entomologists Anonymous – by FM Lynch for 90 voices

“Insects” – a group of new works by Ferndown Upper School

Minerva Scientifica –Miriam Rothschild Soundscape by Frances M Lynch for playback

Miriam by Karen Wimhurst for bass clarinet and voice

Miriam 5


  • To introduce Minerva Scientifica –  promoting awareness of women in science and music
  • To encourage the use of the voice for individuals and for group singing
  • To introduce the life and work of Miriam Rothschild and her work on fleas and butterflies and wild flower meadows.
  • To develop an understanding of the classification system used to identify insects.
  • To create with each group a layered vocal work inspired by insect classification
  • To rehearse and perform their works alongside as part of the professional performance on October 19th
  • To research and record the names of women in science as part of a sound work played in the performance
  • To reflect on the process and ideas generated by the project and their future application

Minerva Scientifica – The Franklin Effect Voice and Composition Workshop

FREE Voice and Composition Workshop

1.30 – 3.30pm   Wed 25th Feb 2015

Music Department, Strand Campus, King’s College London, WC2R 2LS

The Workshop is free but you must register in advance as places are limited (see details below). Open to singers and composers.

 Patron – Judith Weir (Master of the Queen’s Music)                                                                                                                 Project Consultant – Siân Ede

 Can you name 10 important women scientists and composers?


The Franklin Effect project is an electric voice theatre initiative based at King’s College London with funds from Arts Council England and support from Cultural Institute at King’s. This stage of the project builds on Minerva Scientifica (premiered November 2013), an evolving music-theatre programme reflecting the lives of British Women Scientists told through the music of British Women Composers.

The Franklin Effect involves 4 composers  – Lynne PlowmanCheryl Frances-Hoad, Shirley Thompson and  Kate Whitley (mentored by Judith Weir), 4 scientists from King’s College London and 4 singers from electric voice theatre. We are exploring new ways of collaborating – creating a-cappella music-theatre sketches, examining parallels between music and science, inspired by King’s alumna Rosalind Franklin – molecular biologist and crystallographer, whose photo 51 was the key to unlocking the mystery of the structure of DNA.

 The scientists on the project represent a wide spectrum of scientific research  –  Professor Ellen Solomon, Prince Philip Professor Of Human Genetics; Professor Elizabeth Kuipers, Institute of Psychiatry’s chair of their Women in Science Initiative (Athena Swan) and Professor of Clinical Psychology; Dr. Claire Sharpe, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Renal Sciences and Honorary Consultant Nephrologist;  Professor Mairi Sakellariadou, Theoretical Particle Physics & Cosmology.

The evaluator of the project is Professor Nicholas Till, Director of the Centre for Research in Opera and Music Theatre at Sussex University

 The Franklin Effect Voice & Composition Workshop

This 2 hour workshop gives students of singing and composition, an opportunity to get up close with some of the ideas and music that has already been created in our team workshops. The Artistic Director, Frances M Lynch, will take the group through the processes and musical ideas, focusing on microscopic details and vocal diversity within an ensemble. Individuals will be encouraged to explore their potential as singers and composers, to experiment and try out new ideas and vocal sounds.

If you wish to attend please email Frances directly –  with the following info: _

  1. Name
  2. Mobile number
  3. Your interest in the workshop (ie. Are you a singer, composer, or interested in any other way)
  4. Your college/university + area of study if applicable

Once you have registered you will be sent further details.

 electric voice theatre  – helping others to join the adventure that is new music


Harmony Squared with The Great Tapestry of Scotland at STIRLING CASTLE

Tapestry logo harmony logoSaturday 7th and Sunday 8th February 2015

“Stitching a Song For Mary”


Visit Stirling Castle and take part in these workshops inspired by the Great Tapestry of Scotland and the magnificent Renaissance setting of Stirling Castle. This will bring out the creative spirit in everyone!

Singers Frances M Lynch (Soprano) and David Sheppard (Counter Tenor) from electric voice theatre will be  “Stitching a Song for Mary” in the Chapel Royal over the weekend, based on the work they will have done with schools during the previous week. We’d love you to come and contribute ideas inspired by the Mary Queen of Scots panel from the Tapestry (Panel 44)  to create this unique song, and enjoy singing (or making noise!) in this wonderful acoustic.

Formal Workshops run at 1pm & 2pm daily in the Chapel Royal – limited places, sign up on arrival  (included in castle admission price).

Suitable for ages 5+. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Join us in the Great Hall for performances of the song each day. Times tba.

Read more about our projects at Aberdeen Art Gallery and New Lanark last year