About Trinity Laban

Trinity Laban has a long and illustrious history. Trinity College of Music was founded in 1872 and was housed near the Wigmore Hall in Central London for more than 100 years, while Laban was first established in 1948 as The Art of Movement Studio, under the leadership of dance artist Rudolf Laban. 

Trinity College of Music premises in Mandeville Place

Trinity College of Music relocated to Greenwich in 2001, and in 2002 the Laban Centre moved to Deptford.

The location of two leading institutions within close proximity in South East London, together with shared ambitions for innovations in music and contemporary dance, led to a merger in 2005 to form Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.



1879: Rudolf Laban born in Austria-Hungary.

1938: Rudolf Laban flees from Germany, joining his students Kurt Jooss and Lisa Ullmann in the UK.

1948: Laban begins its life as the Art of Movement Studio in Manchester.

Laban dancers performing outside

1953: The studio moves to Addlestone in Surrey due to expansion.

1958: Rudolf Laban dies.

1973: On the retirement of Lisa Ullman, Marion North becomes Head of School (Principal and Director).

1974: Bonnie Bird, Artistic Director, joins the Art of Movement Studio. The three year vocational Diploma in Dance Theatre Course (now known as the BA(Hons) Contemporary Dance) is founded and The One Year Course in Dance Studies (now known as the Graduate Diploma in Dance Studies) is established.

1975: The Art of Movement Studio is renamed Laban Centre for Movement and Dance, and moves to new premises in New Cross, South East London.

1976: First BA (Hons) Degree is presented at the Centre. The Studio Theatre is built at Laurie Grove.

1977: The three-year BA Hons Dance Theatre degree course is validated.

1980: Laban offers the first MA in Dance Studies. Research Degrees are validated.

1981: The Community Dance and Movement Course (now known as the Professional Diploma in Community Dance Studies) takes its first students.

1982: Transitions Dance Company (Graduate Diploma in Performance) is established.Laban’s academic publication, Dance Theatre Journal, is founded.

1989: MA Dance Movement Therapy is validated in collaboration with Hahnemann University Philadelphia. The Laban complex is completed, and is formally opened by Sir John Drummond, the then controller of BBC Radio 3.

1992: Validation of the BA, MA and Research Degree programmes (City University).

1997: New visual identity and change of name to Laban Centre London.

1998: MA Dance Management & Development is validated.

1999: MA Scenography Dance is established, and Undergraduate Diploma Dance Theatre and Professional Diploma in Community Dance Studies are validated by City University. Laban is successful in its bid for capital lottery funding for a new building to open in 2002.

2000: Dr Marion North is awarded an OBE (Officer of the British Empire) in the New Year Honours list in recognition of her outstanding contribution to dance.

2002: New building in Deptford opens. Graduate programmes are extended to include Choreography, European Dance Theatre Practice, Dance Performance and Dance Science courses.Discourses in Dance journal is founded.

2003: Laban building is awarded RIBA Building of the Year.

2004: Anthony Bowne becomes Director of Laban following the retirement of Dr Marion North.

2005: Laban merges with Trinity College of Music to form Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance - the first conservatoire for music and dance in the UK.


Trinity College of Music

1872: Father Bonavia Hunt, Fellow of Royal Society of Edinburgh and author of A Concise History of Music, and Sir Frederick A. Gore Ousley, Professor of Music, Oxford University, establish the Church Choral Society and College of Church Music, London which was established “for the purpose of Teaching, Practicing and Testing”, later to become Trinity College of Music.

1873: Public examinations for choirmasters and teachers of music held four times a year.

1875: Trinity College London incorporated under Companies Act 1862 consisting of two divisions, Academic and Choral.

1876: Music Degrees established with London University. Faculty of Music Examination Centres are established in major cities around the UK.

1880: Trinity College London transfers to 13 Mandeville Place.

1904: Trinity College London changes its name to Trinity College of Music London.

1906: Saturday Junior Department called Junior Trinity opens and is the first Conservatoire Junior Saturday School in the UK.

Trinity College of Music staff in 1920

Trinity College of Music personnel, 1920

1922: Architect J.O. Cheadle consolidates 11 and 13 Mandeville Place.

1970: Sir Yehudi Menuhin becomes President of Trinity College of Music.

1983: Board approves draft of Deed for Trinity College of Music Trust (TCM Trust) which would be the 'vehicle' to receive any legacies or donations.

1984: TCM Trust established and first gifts received.

1993: Trinity College London Ltd becomes a legally separate entity from Trinity College of Music, charged with delivery and administering of the external examinations and publications of the College.

1994: BMus (TCM) validated.

1998: MMus in Performance Studies validated.

2000: Sir Charles Mackerras becomes President of Trinity College of Music.

2001: Relocation of Trinity College of Music from Mandeville Place in Marylebone to Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich. Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts formed, with inclusion of Mander and Mitchenson Theatre Collection.

2003: Acquisition of Blackheath Halls concert venue.

2005: Merger with Laban creates Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. Trinity College of Music name is initially retained for College of Music and Laban for Dance.

2012: The two departments, previously Trinity College of Music (for music) and Laban (for dance) become the Faculty of Music and Faculty of Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.

Rudolf Laban

Rudolf Laban

Dancer, choreographer and movement theoretician Rudolf Laban (1879-1958)

Bonnie Bird

Bonnie Bird teaching students

Bonnie Bird (1914-1995), Director of Dance Theatre at Laban from 1974 until her death, and an original member of the Martha Graham Dance Company.

Marion North

Marion North (1925-2012), dance educator, movement researcher and arts leader and head of the Laban Centre from 1973-2004

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