Roll up to Dalston's own operatic big top later this month as the Arcola Theatre host their Grimeborn Festival in the Arcola Tent.
The annual festival began mostly as a showcase for short contemporary music theatre pieces. Though you still won't find a full orchestra there - the space (and the budget) are simply too small - its remit has gradually expanded to include more conventional fare, which this year comprises the bulk of the programme. The Marriage of Figaro (3 and 4 Sep) and Rigoletto (5 and 6 Sep) are the most familiar names.
A crop of one act-ers draws on some less well-known work. Il Tabarro is dredged up on 21 and 22 August. Mozart's juvenile Bastien and Bastienne is paired with Wolf-Ferrari's Susanna's Secret on 27 and 28 August. A new pastiche of Handel arias, Handel Furioso, is followed by a repeat of last year's highly-praised The Emperor of Atlantis on 29 and 30 August.
That doesn't leave a great deal of space for modern work, which seems to be under assault from all corners at the moment. But there's a UK premiere for Philip Glass's 2003 chamber opera The Sound of a Voice on 23 and 25 August, and a new musical about the Cuban missile crisis, Thirteen Days - The Musical, on 7 and 8 September. An intriguing triple bill on 31 August and 1 September puts together Poulenc's La voix humaine, an excerpt from a new opera-in-progress, Tonsheisha, and Unleashed, "an anti-opera about maleness", "told from the perspective of men who want to have really hard sex with each other".
Finally, there's a Hansel and Gretel matinee for children on 24 August.
There isn't a huge amount of detail on the Arcola website about artists and musicians, but the singers are often excellent, and the venue's small size means that all voices should project easily. Music may be restricted to a piano - the website is particularly sketchy in this area.
Seats are a very reasonable £7-£18, and as spartan as you'd expect for the price - see below.