THE HIVE is an opera based in the world of forensic psychiatry.

The libretto was conceived and written by Carole Hayman, inspired by research she had done as a Fellow at Kings College London - a study of women who commit serial murder. This became a 4-screen video installation of verbatim interviews with those intimately connected to killings. Funded by The Wellcome Trust the work was shown at Fabrica Gallery during the 2008 Brighton Festival.

Carole returned to the project a few years later with a workshop at Out of Joint Theatre Company. From that came The Hive libretto - the title from a forensic psychiatrist who said in an interview, 'Women kill close to the hive'.

Shortly afterwards, Carole enticed Harvey Brough, a musician and composer whose work she loved, to write the score. The Hive words and music aim to address some of human nature's darkest depths, yet move rather than horrify, while keeping us emotionally charged. Quite the challenge!

A workshop showing of part one was seen last summer at Arcola Theatre's Grimeborn Festival, funded by Tete a Tete and directed by Bill Bankes-Jones, where it was very well received. With financial assistance from ACE, a draft of the second act was completed and a half hour extract directed by Susannah Waters was mounted in August 2017 at the Tete a Tete festival at RADA.


The Hive would like to thank Bill Bankes-Jones, Anna Gregg and everyone at Tete a Tete for their encouragement and support, and for mounting Act 1 at the Arcola and giving us space to mount Act 2 at RADA.

Below you will find videos of both extracts, and at the bottom of the page a video of the post-show discussion at RADA with Rosemary West's solicitor, his wife, and the production team.

Act 1

Act 1 takes place at a Forensic Psychiatry Conference on 'The Nature / Nurture of Evil'.
The timetable for the conference is: