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Guide to CoLab 2020

Our annual two-week cross-faculty Festival of Creativity is back for 10 – 21 February 2020.

Head of CoLab Joe Townsend comments –

“CoLab is a time of imagination, experimentation and risk where students are empowered to take control of their creative learning. By working together across disciplines students develop core skills needed to flourish in the competitive and varied arts industry. Through initiatives like CoLab, Trinity Laban is driving a revolution in learning and performance that is recognised across the world.”

Over 1000 students, staff and visiting artists will join forces for CoLab 2020 to create, develop and rehearse 115 diverse projects in response to the theme of ‘what I care about’. 

The result is a series of informal sharings that give the audience a chance to see what goes on under our roof, culminating in a Valentine’s Day event across our faculty sites (14 Feb) and the CoLab Proms at Blackheath Halls (21 Feb).

Now in its ninth year, CoLab’s unique approach to learning and teaching has attracted international attention and acclaim. For 2020, we look forward to welcoming students and leading educators from international institutions across the globe including National Taiwan University of Arts, University of Southern California, University of Music and Performing Arts (Graz), University of Michigan, Codarts (Rotterdam), Utrecht Conservatorium, and Liszt Academy (Hungary) who will be participating in CoLab projects alongside Trinity Laban.

In collaboration with Liszt Academy (Hungary) and University of Music and Performing Arts (Graz), we have the privilege of hosting a Gala Concert dedicated to the Blackfoot First Nations people of Canada (18 Feb ORNC Chapel). Conducted by Head of Strings Nic Pendlebury with viola soloists Rivka Golani and Péter Bársony, the special performance sees the world premieres of 10 new compositions written by distinguished composers from around the globe: Luis Caballeria Barrera, Quim Miracle, David Jaeger, Na’ama Tamir Kaplan, Charles Heller, Benjamin Ellin, Oded Zehavi, Máté Balogh, Máté Hollós, and Adam Kondor. Trinity Laban professor, Rivka Golani has been made a sister of Blackfoot First Nations people of Canada, the culmination of a relationship stretching back two decades.

All female collective Mass Hysteria presents THE GAME (18 Feb, TATE Modern), a day of exploring the themes of female power. Drawing on the embodied experience of womxn and femmes, the audience is invited to observe and take part in activities surrounding image, technology, hierarchies, and the body. There will also be a discussion hosted by Independent Dance’s co-director, Gitta Wigro. Founded in 2017 by 11 dance artists, Mass Hysteria is a recipient of the Trinity Laban Innovation Award which provides a unique opportunity for emerging artists to access professional development support as they establish themselves within one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy.

We also have an exciting selection of visiting industry experts leading projects this year:

  • Led by a director, composer and vocal director from award-winning performance arts charity Streetwise Opera, students collaborate with people affected by homelessness on a newly devised work. (21 Feb, Blackheath Halls)
  • Trinity Laban join forces with Brighton Youth Orchestra and Sir John Tomlinson for side-by-side performances and recordings including the world premiere of Salamanca 1936 by Peter Copley and Ekstasis by Sir John Tavener. (20 Feb, ORNC Chapel)
  • Acclaimed international artist, composer and researcher Hyelim Kim promotes an exchange with a wide variety of musical cultures by leading Singing with Nature: Intercultural Improvisation Ensemble (21 Feb, Blackheath Halls), an improvisation on Korean instruments using their natural materials as inspiration.
  • Poet Andrew Mitchell leads Voyage with Charles Darwin (21 Feb, Laurie Grove), a project that follows Darwin’s encounters with different places and cultures and shows how his ideas change on his journey.
  • Nigerian-British keyboard player Dele Sosimi – arguably the most influential artist working in today’s afrobeat scene in London, leads Fela the King, where students learn, play, dance and perform Afrobeat music (21 Feb, Blackheath Halls).

In the spirit of exchange, we are once again taking CoLab beyond South East London.

  • Codarts Exchange is an opportunity for our students to collaborate with students from Codarts in Rotterdam. The two-week project takes place in London (17-21 Feb) and then Rotterdam (23-27 March) where they will create a cross-disciplinary performance, involving jazz, dance, circus, musical theatre, new and classical music. It is part of the Incubator Programme run by Codarts Head of Production Jan Kuhr.
  • Continuing to build our links with Juilliard, our Trombone Choir will have an intensive rehearsal period to prepare British and American works ahead of their visit to New York later in the year.
  • Worker’s Union at Tate Exchange, TATE Modern (19 & 20 Feb) sees over 40 dancers and a musical ensemble respond to this seminal work by Louis Andriessen.
  • Music in hospital sees students collaborate with experienced arts and health music leader Jez Wiles and clinical and admin teams at Lewisham Hospital to explore the potential for creative and dynamic music performance in hospitals with patients and staff.

Renowned for its spirit of experimentation and collaboration, CoLab encompasses numerous styles, formats and settings. This year, several projects focus on activism and identity:

  • Deeds & Words (14 Feb, Laban Building), led by composer Diedre Gribbin, aims to create a compilation of short pieces exploring the themes that flow through the waves of Feminism, showing the similarities between Suffragettes and modern day.
  • Climate Crisis (14 Feb, Laban Building) asks what the role of the arts is in current climate activism and how can we create a cultural democracy that supports this through discussion, debate and creative connection across generations in collaboration with our Voices in Motion programme for older people.
  • Adventure in Discretion (21 Feb, Laurie Grove) is a new workshop musical, portraying the views of the people and touching on the UK’s most controversial issue of the moment: Brexit.
  • Trinity Laban Fulbright Scholar Garrett Snedeker leads musicians and dancers in an exploration of what identity means by performing new music and movement inspired by a Beethoven piano sonata, binary constructions, and creative responses to one another(Beethoven + Identity, 21 Feb, Blackheath Halls).

Ever evolving, CoLab is a hotbed for new work and innovation:

  • In advance of our Trinity Laban Opera’s world-premiere production of Syllable in December 2020, composer Edward Jessen leads an exploration of the opera’s characters, their singing, their actions and interplay with Syllable Opera characters and characteristics (14 Feb, KCC).
  • Trillium (21 Feb, Blackheath Halls) is a creative exploration of the connection between humans and plants and how they impact on each other and utilises technology which translates plant frequencies into sound.

Further highlights of this year’s collaborative festival include:

  • 80’s Symphonic Orchestra who will play some of the iconic decade’s best Pop, Rock, Funk and Film music. (21 Feb, Blackheath Halls)
  • A focus on Hugh Masekela, one of South Africa’s greatest jazz musicians and composers (South African Jazz, 21 Feb, Blackheath Halls)

The institutional-wide interdisciplinary event of exchange and discovery kicks off on Monday 10 February.

For more information on all the projects and how to get tickets please visit our CoLab page.


Image credit JK Photography

Vocal alum performs with LA Philharmonic

Young dramatic soprano Madeleine Bradbury Rance joins the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra and a host of international operatic stars at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in LA, California on Thursday 13 February.

Conducted by the innovative Esa-Pekka Salonen, the Weimar Nightfall concert presents darkly satirical musical-theatre works from the heyday of German Expressionism and is supported by an Edgerton Foundation grant and the Kurt Weill Foundation for Music, Inc., New York, NY.

Madeleine will sing the main female role in Paul Hindemith’s one-act opera Mörder, Hoffnung Der Frauen, sharing the stage for the evening with one of Opera News’ 25 “Rising Stars” American baritone Jarrett Ott, celebrated British tenor Peter Hoare, leading baritone Christopher Purves and genre-defying Amsterdam-based soprano Nora Fischer, among others.

Former Trinity Laban Masters Student Madeleine has won particular acclaim for her portrayals of strong women including the title role in Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica, Abigaille in Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco and Lady Billows in Benjamin Britten’s Albert Herring.

She was a semi-finalist in the International Elizabeth Connell Prize 2018 and won the 2018 Schubert Song Prize at the London Song Festival.

The soprano comments –

“Working with Esa-Pekka Salonen and an orchestra like the LA Phil feels like a dream come true. It’s very much thanks to Trinity Laban’s Head of Vocal Studies Jennifer Hamilton, who recommended me for workshops with the director Simon McBurney for his upcoming performance of Wozzeck at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, that I was cast in this production, and for that and all her support I am immensely grateful. 

I am currently taking in the experience of singing in the staggeringly beautiful Walt-Disney Concert Hall, rehearsing in a warehouse in the Fashion District, and walking in the Hollywood Hills in my time off.”

To find out more about studying voice at Trinity Laban, visit our study pages


Competition-winning alum earns chance to work with English National Opera

2017 vocal graduate Lucy Elston has won in the Opera category of Wilton’s Music Hall’s Music4All competition for emerging artists, impressing adjudicators with her powerful interpretation of Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante from Carmen.

As an award-winner, Lucy will receive mentoring from the prestigious English National Opera (ENO), supporting her development as a professional opera singer. A trailblazer in the performing arts for nearly 90 years, ENO continues to present critically acclaimed opera productions both classic and contemporary.

Lucy comments –

“I am looking forward to continuing my journey towards achieving strength, elegance and vibrancy on stage… and to introduce myself to people from the industry and benefit from their expertise and mentoring”.

Lucy will showcase the results of her mentoring at Wilton’s Music Hall’s inaugural Music 4All Festival in May, where she will perform alongside other talented young artists. Excited by this prospect, Lucy says –

“I feel this will be a fantastic opportunity to meet other young artists of all different kinds, across different genres”.

A recipient of the Kathleen Roberts Scholarship Award, Lucy studied for an MMus in Vocal Performance at Trinity Laban, graduating with Distinction. Alongside fellow students, Lucy founded opera company Opera in the Meantime for which she has directed and produced three successful shows so far. Speaking of her Trinity Laban experience, Lucy says –

“I am so grateful for the time I spent at Trinity Laban. I had a wonderful singing teacher, Alison Wells, studied in a beautiful setting and worked with some of the world’s most talented coaches and musicians. The atmosphere at Trinity was really special. I made many lifelong friends and felt it to be a nurturing environment in which talent has a chance to grow and develop”.

Since graduating, Lucy has also been a finalist of the Douglas Rees Memorial Young Opera Singer of the Year 2019 and was awarded with an honorary mention by the panel of the Kyrenia Opera Competition 2019.

The young soprano joins a number of our alumni who have had the opportunity to work closely with ENO. Currently, alumni Nardus Williams and Keel Watson are performing the roles of Micaëla and Zuniga in the 2020 production of Carmen.

To find out more about our vocal programmes, visit our study pages.

Image credit: Claire Shovelton

First alumni performance platform of 2020

Dance artists Elise Phillips, Daisy Farris, Kate Brown, and Aline Derderian will present work at the third Bite Size Pieces sharing

Bite Size Pieces is our performance platform for dance alumni supporting creative practice. It offers the opportunity to showcase new work with professional tech support and receive peer feedback.

The scheme, which launched in March 2019, continues with a quartet of alumni sharing work in the Laban Building’s Studio Theatre on Saturday 22 February 2020.

The programme features:

  • Kate Brown’s What’s up Buttercup? – an experiment in film, choice and chance including projected video footage and live dancing
  • Aline Derderian’s The Prophetess (A tribute) – a reimagining of revolutionary dance maker Anna Halprin’s first solo (1947), influenced by the ritualistic whirling of Sufi Dervishes
  • Daisy FarrisWhitehall 9400 – a short excerpt of the choreographer’s first solo work inspired by her grandparents’ long-distance relationship during World War 2, using physical theatre to reimagine the life of an ordinary woman in an extraordinary situation
  • Elise PhillipsWaterbodies – an aesthetic and non-narrative work of dance and film highlighting the patterns, detail and grandeur of nature that invites people to notice and connect to their local environment in new ways

As part of the evening the artists will receive feedback from Lizzi Kew Ross (Artistic Director of Lizzi Kew Ross & Co and Lecturer in Choreography at Trinity Laban) and Charles Linehan (previously Choreographer in Residence at The Place, now Reader in Choreography at Trinity Laban).

The evening’s performance will be followed by a free drinks reception, giving both the audience and the artists a chance to socialise and engage in further discussions about the works.

On taking part, Kate Brown comments –

“Bite Size Pieces offers me a perfect opportunity to use film with choreographed live performance and to work with other dancers.”

Fellow Alum Aline Derderian adds –

“Coming back to perform at Trinity Laban represents an exciting opportunity for me to share with current students, staff members and other audiences the impact my training continues to have on my creative process and career.”

On presenting her first solo work, Daisy Farris explains –

“I am excited and terrified all at once, as this is a new challenge for me. It is a pleasure to be bringing the first draft of this work to Trinity Laban, as this is where it all started. This platform is the perfect place for myself, and my fellow artists, to share our work in progress. It is a unique opportunity for audiences to see work in its early stages and give feedback on how it might develop.”

Elise comments –

“Since graduating I’ve been mainly producing so am more used to presenting other people’s work. It feels entirely different to share my own creation – like I’m baring a piece of my soul – especially when it was such an exploratory process. I’m really looking forward to hearing what other people see in the film, there’s plenty of space for people to read their own meanings into it.”

Bite Size Pieces
18.30| SAT 22 FEB | Studio Theatre, Laban Building, SE8 3DZ
Admission Free, RSVP to

Future alumni performance opportunities are anticipated in the next academic year. To register interest or apply, please email Lucy Nicholson (Communications and Alumni Relations Manager) at

Trinity Laban is London’s Creative Conservatoire: an internationally celebrated centre of excellence, transforming those with potential into resourceful, enterprising and adaptable artistic leaders.

To find out more, visit our study pages.

Image L-R: Kate Brown, Daisy Farris, Aline Derderian

Kate Brown

London-based choreographer, dancer and improviser Kate has worked independently for over 30 years, making over 30 dance pieces and dancing for numerous other choreographers and companies including Dog Kennel Hill Project 2018. She has been a member of several improvisation performance collectives including Group 5 and The Friday Club, and she set up and ran London Improvisation in Performance (LIP) with Rebecca Skelton from 2001 to 2008. An experience teacher, Kate currently works with London Contact Improvisation, Independent Dance and Morley College. She completed her MA in Creative Practice with Trinity Laban, Independent Dance and Siobhan Davies Dance in 2018. Since graduating she has continued to experiment with making short films inspired in part by the module “Dance and the Moving Image”.

Aline Derderian

Aline studied her BA (hons) Performance Design & Practice at Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design before becoming a Leverhume scholar for the Arts in 2016, which enabled her to complete her MFA in Choreography at Trinity Laban.  She is a visiting associate lecturer and design tutor on the Design for Dance and Central Saint Martins, uniting designers with choreography and performance students from Rambert School, Central School of Ballet and London Studio Centre. Currently undertaking a PhD thesis at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Aline is exploring innovative ways to envision a feminist historiography of dance, inherited from American postmodern choreographers and seventies activist performers.

Daisy Farris

London-based dancer, choreographer and teacher Daisy danced with Trinity Laban’s professional company Transitions from 2012-13, gaining her MA in Dance Performance and is the Artistic Director of Daisy Farris Dance Collective. She works in a range of different settings and is passionate about making work that is accessible for a wide range of audiences, both in terms of its content and settings. As a choreographer, she frequently collaborates with musicians, visual artists, cinematographers, photographers and technicians and has worked in partnerships with museums, galleries, schools, youth centres to bring contemporary dance work to new audiences. Her most recent work, The Great Thames Disaster (2017-18), toured the Thames from London to the Isle Of Sheppey, performed in site-specific locations in each town, including on board a light vessel ship moored in Gravesend. As a dancer, Daisy has worked with companies such as Loop Dance Company, The Urban Playground Team and Clarisse Roud Works. She is a lecturer in Contemporary Technique at Bird College and teaches across the Learning and Participation programmes at Trinity Laban.

Elise Phillips

Producer and Dance Artist Elise creates opportunities for people to experience the joy and challenge of dancing and making dance. With over 10 years experience as a dance artist and community arts facilitator, and over 15 as a producer and manager in a range of industries, Elise is a champion for female-led projects and work that has a strong social agenda. Elise is interested in applying contemporary choreographic frameworks to folk dance forms and experimenting with fusing dance vocabularies. She has danced for Rosemary Lee, Hiccup Project & Tony Thatcher and has worked for companies including Vincent Dance Theatre, Stopgap Dance Company, South East Dance & Tilted Productions. She completed her Postgraduate Diploma Community Dance at Trinity Laban in 2012.

Theo Perry holding the Trinity Laban Gold Medal 2020

Theo Perry wins Trinity Laban Gold Medal 2020

Our Patron HRH The Duke of Kent presented baritone Theo Perry with this year’s prestigious Gold Medal award following a sell-out showcase at Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room on 27 January.

The Gold Medal Showcase 2020 saw seven students and recent alumni compete for the prestigious Prize while demonstrating the diversity of musical talent at Trinity Laban with a thrilling and eclectic mix of classical and contemporary music, jazz and musical theatre.

To adjudicate this year’s competition, our Director of Music Havilland Willshire was joined by Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE, Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the Chineke! Foundation and Honorary Fellow and Visiting Professor of Double Bass at Trinity Laban, and Rebecca Allen, President of Decca Records UK, Trinity Laban alum and Governor.

We were honoured to welcome Trinity Laban’s Patron HRH The Duke of Kent to present the Gold Medal.

In an evening filled with creativity and musicianship, post-graduate vocal student Theo Perry won over the judges with his lyricism, storytelling and elegance to claim the sought-after Award.

Explaining what made Theo a worthy winner Chi-chi commented –

“You had a vulnerability – just you, the music and us – and for that I thank you.”

His eclectic programme of song saw him perform the charming ‘Die Taubenpost’ from Franz Schubert’s Schwanengesang, D957, the poignant ‘The Lads in their Hundreds’ and ‘Is My Team Ploughing?’ fromGeorge Butterworth’s Six Songs from a A Shropshire Lad, the atmospheric ‘”C”’ from Francis Poulenc’s Deux Poemes de Louis Aragon, and Charles Ives’ dramatic General William Booth Enters into Heaven.

On winning Theo commented –

“I am delighted to have been awarded the Trinity Laban Gold Medal this year, and would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all those who have guided me since I started studying at Trinity Laban, but especially to my superb duo partner Guy Murgatroyd.”

Theo is a Kathleen Creed Scholar and the 2019/20 recipient of the Elliot Rosenblatt Memorial Scholarship, and last year received the Drapers’ De Turckheim scholarship. He made his operatic debut in Trinity Laban Opera’s production of Thea Musgrave’s A Christmas Carol and recently sung the title role in Don Giovanni with Rogue Opera on a UK tour. This April, Theo will perform the role of Guglielmo in Cosi Fan Tutte with Hurn Court Opera.

For a second year running, the Audience Prize was awarded following a public vote. This year Olivia Fraser received the accolade for her stunning performance of Edwin Roxburgh’s technically demanding Study 1 for Solo Oboe and the romantic Omaggio a Bellini for Cor Anglai by Antonio Pasculli with harpist Lucy Wakeford.

Since graduating with an MA in Oboe from Trinity Laban in 2019, Olivia has since played with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and London Mozart Players.

Also in attendance at the were the Representative Deputy Lieutenant for the London Borough of Southwark Colonel Simon Duckworth, the Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Greenwich Councillor Mick Hayes and Mrs Gillian Hayes, The Speaker of Lewisham Council Councillor Jacq Paschoud.

Speaking at the ceremony, Havilland Willshire said –

“What a wonderful evening. Each finalist presented their work with such conviction and individuality.”

Chi-chi continued –

“What we’ve heard this evening has proven that the arts are the most important subjects to teach. I felt spoilt, inspired and entertained in every way.”

Baritone Theo Perry joins an illustrious list of recent Gold Medal winners, many of whom are already enjoying great success.

Last year’s winner Elena Abad, who stunned both the adjudicators and the audience with her arrangement of Freddie Mercury’s Bohemian Rhapsody for solo violin, has since performed with the Parallax Orchestra on ‘Bring Me The Horizons’ new album amo which reached no.1 album the UK.

2018 winner pianist Iyad Sughayer released his debut album for BIS records, 2017 winner baritone James Newby is a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, and 2015 winner soprano Nardus Williams recently made her debut as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen with English National Opera.

The annual Gold Medal Showcase celebrates outstanding young Trinity Laban musicians. Competitors are nominated by the Heads of each of Departments within Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music for their exceptional musical flair and professionalism, and all receive a Trinity Laban Director’s Prize for Achievement in recognition of this.

The 2020 finalists performing alongside Theo and Olivia were Florence Russell (Musical Theatre), Christos Fountos (Piano), Wilmien Janse van Rensburg (Violin), Olly Chalk (Jazz), and Ben Leigh Grossart (Composition).

To find out more about studying music at Trinity Laban, visit our study pages

Image L-R: Theo Perry, HRH Duke of Kent, Olivia Fraser (credit Tas Kyprianou)

Leading dance makers to collaborate with “multifaceted, dynamic and adaptable” company of young performers

Didy Veldman, Dog Kennel Hill Project, and Rahel Vonmoos will create a triple-bill of new works in collaboration with Transitions Dance Company 2020/21

Highly sought-after choreographer Didy Veldman has created 45 works for 27 international companies including Rambert, Northern Ballet and Scottish Dance Theatre. In 2019 she created a new work, collaborating with composer Gabriel Prokofiev, the grandson of Sergei Prokofiev, for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s inaugural ‘Ballet Now’ programme. Didy is a former dancer of Rambert, one of the UK’s leading dance companies, and founded her own London-based dance company Humanoove in 2016. The company has already toured nationally and internationally with two production and is working on their third, titled @Home.

Dog Kennel Hill Project (DKHP) is a UK-based collective of three artists: Ben Ash, Henrietta Hale and Rachel Lopez de la Nieta, who have collaborated for 15 years. Their socially engaging, interdisciplinary projects often take place in unconventional sites (such as a forest, a library, a canal boat) and span a range of forms including performance, sculptural instillation and text. Most recently the collective were commissioned for a 2-month retrospective solo exhibition at the new CCA Gallery in Brighton, 2019. Other partnerships have included Modern Art Oxford, Scottish Dance Theatre, Whitechapel Gallery, Dance4, and Candoco. DKHP have presented work nationally and internationally, including at British Council Edinburgh Festival Showcase, Barbican, Brighton Festival, Aerowaves Festival, Springdance Utrecht, OperaEstate Festival Veneto, Italy, and Dance Umbrella. Currently, DKHP is re-exploring the complexity of the relationship of audience and performer, looking at questions of ethics, risk, intimacy, tension and care, and is particularly interested in addressing the absurd politics that underpin culture.

Swiss-British independent dance maker Rahel Vonmoos has created a substantial body of work for theatres, galleries, festivals and site-specific venues nationally and internationally, including the Hayward Gallery and Dance Umbrella. She has also worked collaboratively with dancer/choreographer Wally Cardona and filmmaker Ruth Schlaepfer amongst others, and has performed works by Rosemary Butcher, Iztok Kovac (for film), Philippe Gehmacher, Charles Linehan, Cie Pool, and Philippe Saire. She has been commissioned by Tanzhaus Zurich, Switzerland and Joyce SoHo, United States. Rahel was a Compass Commission recipient in 2014/15 for ’to find a place’ which was performed in UK and abroad.

The creators will work with the 2020/21 Company to devise original performance pieces that showcase the next generation of contemporary dance performers, sharing a wealth of knowledge of contemporary dance in practise and experience of collaborative performance art before the company embarks on an international tour of the triple-bill in spring 2021.

“Working with Transitions Dance Company gives me the opportunity to explore new ideas, challenge all involved and collaborate with the students, creating a unique and exciting work.” – Didy Veldman

 “Why do we perform dancing? It’s such a weird thing to do. This is a recurring question over our 15 years of making work. We are really excited to re-open it with a group of young curious people, find out what drives them, what frustrates them and how their perception can expand. We hope to see what exquisite and strange beings they are becoming.” – Dog Kennel Hill Project

“I am curious and excited to collaborate with this multifaceted, dynamic and adaptable company of young performers who are transitioning from student to professional work life; to explore specific ideas and tasks which I will bring into the space and to get to know and understand their way of thinking and investigating.” – Rahel Vonmoos

By allowing company members to gain practical experience of life in a touring dance company, whilst simultaneously completing their MA/MFA in Dance Performance at Trinity Laban, the programme bridges the gap between training and a professional performance career.

This year’s company is currently touring Europe with a dynamic and varied programme by award-winning Scandinavian choreographer/performer duo H2DANCE, New Zealand-born, London-based choreographer, dance artist and movement director Cameron McMillan, and Italian choreographer and dance educator Elisa Pagani, the founder and Artistic Director of DNA. Tour dates for the 2020 Tour can be found on the Transitions website:

Applications are open for 2020/21 entry to the MA programme, with first-round UK auditions taking place on 27 February 2020 and 5 March in London with a recall on 6 March. 

For more information on the course and how to join Transitions, please visit

Images L-R: Didy Veldman (credit: Chris Nash), Dog Kennel Hill Project (credit: Cécilia Jardemar), Rahel Vonmoos (credit: Roger Wooldridge) 

First year jazz student joins new creative ensemble

Emile Hinton is an inaugural member of the newly launched NYJO Jazz Exchange

Keyboard player Emile Hinton, who is in his first year of study in the Conservatoire’s Jazz Department, is one of ten emerging artists with outstanding potential to be selected for new creative ensemble National Youth Jazz Orchestra(NYJO) Jazz Exchange.

The focus of the NYJO Jazz Exchange is on creativity and sharing of musical ideas, encouraging the musicians to take charge of their artistic voice and ownership of their progression.

As part of the exciting and progressive two-year programme Emile will receive world-class mentorship and enjoy regular rehearsals, paid performances and wider professional development opportunities designed to kick-start his career.

Emile commented –

“It’s a real privilege to have this unique opportunity. I’m very much looking forward to be working with other musicians from all over the country, who all have their own exciting backgrounds”

Award-winning instrumentalist Orphy Robinson MBE, who will coach the ensemble, commented –

“This exciting new project will provide progressive professional opportunities to those who don’t identify with traditional musical education routes. As a young player, I would have benefited enormously from this scheme. The jazz scene is constantly changing, and it’s important that NYJO does too.”

From synths to cello, the ensemble is far from a traditional jazz big band and promises to deliver exciting original music, bringing new sounds to NYJO and the UK jazz scene.

Stay tuned for upcoming tour dates starting in Autumn 2020.

To find out more about Jazz at Trinity Laban, visit our study pages.

Image: NYJO Jazz Exchange (credit Thomas Terminet)

A new season of music for a new decade

Our Spring Season of Music features two festivals, three high-profile competitions, eight masterclasses, copious new music, and a rich programme of concerts.


To celebrate the 250th anniversary of Ludwig van Beethoven’s birth, we are delighted to launch our Beethoven + Series this spring. Spearheaded by the Keyboard and Piano Department, the festival features eight events that explore varying aspects of the composer’s output, contextualise his work alongside that of his contemporaries, and venture beyond the traditional canon with original compositions and refreshing ways of understanding Beethoven’s oeuvre (9 Mar – 12 May). The festival opens with international pianist Martino Tirimo’s performance of Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations,Op.120. Martino, who is a professor of piano at Trinity Laban, recently released his recording of Beethoven: Complete Piano Works with the Hänssler Classic label. Rounding off our Series, Trinity Laban Fulbright Scholar Garrett Snedeker presents a lecture recital on gender connotation in Beethoven’s themes as part of Tradition and Revolution II (12 May).        

CoLab, Trinity Laban’s Festival of Creativity, returns in February with a fortnight of experimentation and innovation across artforms (6 – 21 Feb). The result is a series of events and happenings that gives the audience a chance to see what goes on under our roof, culminating in the Grand Finale (21 Feb).

This year we have the privilege of hosting a Gala Concert as part of CoLab, dedicated to the Blackfoot First Nations people of Canada. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with Liszt Academy (Hungary) and University of Music and Performing Arts (Graz). Conducted by Nic Pendlebury with viola soloists Rivka Golani and Péter Bársony, the special performance sees the world premieres of 10 new compositions written by distinguished composers from around the globe: Luis Caballeria Barrera, Quim Miracle, David Jaeger, Richard Mascall, Charles Heller, Benjamin Ellin, Oded Zehavi, Balogh Máté, Hollós Máté, Kondor Adam. Trinity Laban professor, Rivka Golani has been made a sister of Blackfoot First Nations people of Canada, the culmination of a relationship stretching back two decades.

Another highlight of CoLab 2020 will be a project in collaboration with John Tomlinson and Brighton Youth Orchestra featuring musicians from both Trinity Laban and Junior Trinity (20 Jan).


Seven outstanding finalists will take to the Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room stage to compete for the coveted Gold Medal (27 Jan). A highlight of the musical calendar, the prestigious competition will be judged by leading figures from the music industry Chi-chi Nwanoku OBE (Founder, Artistic and Executive Director of the Chineke! Foundation) and Rebecca Allen (President of Decca Records UK) and will be attended by our patron HRH Duke of Kent.

The finalists are rising-star jazz pianist and composer Olly Chalk, described by London Jazz News as “sparkling” and by Head of Jazz Hans Koller as “one of the most gifted players of his generation”; baritone Theo Perry, who recently sung the title role in Don Giovanni with Rogue Opera on a UK tour; dynamic South African violinist Wilmien Janse van Rensburg; Musical theatre graduate Florence Russell, hailed as triple threat by Stage Review and described as ‘charming’ by Chris Omaweng of LondonTheatre1; up and coming composer Ben Leigh-Grossart; Cypriot pianist and master’s student Christos Fountos; and oboist Olivia Fraser, who has already played with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, English National Opera, and the London Mozart Players. This is a premiere opportunity to see the rising stars of our Faculty of Music.

At the beginning of February, musicians showcase their skills in the popular and prestigious Soloists’ Competition Final at Blackheath Halls. The finalists perform a concerto, or selection of songs and arias, as they compete for the chance to perform as a soloist with one of Trinity Laban’s full orchestras in our summer season (5 Feb).

Later in the season we move to Plumcroft Primary School, Woolwich’s spectacular space – a venue that has been used for recordings and launch events – for the Daryl Runswick Competition where Trinity Laban Contemporary Music Group perform new works by composition students to win the coveted Prize (26 Mar).


This season, the beautiful Blackheath Halls plays host to a quartet of large ensemble concerts. Conducted by Andrew Dunn, the Trinity Laban Symphonic Winds present repertoire including Leonard Bernstein’s Candide Overture, Petro Iturralde’s Pequeña Czarda, and works by Sally Lamb McCune, Kathryn Salfelder and Guy Woolfenden (7 Feb).

Directed by Nic Pendlebury, Trinity Laban String Ensemble perform Felix Mendelssohn’s String Symphony No. 2 alongside Anna Clyne’s Within Her Arms, Igor Stravinsky’s Concerto in D and Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 95 ‘Serioso‘ arranged for String Ensemble (6 Mar).

At the end of March, Holly Mathieson conducts Trinity Laban Shapeshifter Ensemble for Franz Schreker’s The Birthday of the Infanta, Johannes Brahms’ Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68. and a new work by a Trinity Laban composer (27 Mar).

After Easter, Trinity Laban Symphony Orchestra present the first act of Giuseppe Verdi’s tragic masterpiece La Traviata, side by side with Welsh National Opera.

For more information on all performances, visit our What’s On page.

Image credit JK Photography

Top dance talent comes to South East London this Spring

From fresh new dance works to returning classics, the Laban Theatre’s first season of 2020 has something for everyone.

This spring we welcome five high-profile professional dance companies to the Laban Theatre stage, bringing a variety of top talent to south-east London’s doorstep. 

Opening the season is the sleek and athletic Company Wayne McGregor, who return to us with Autobiography (2017) on 23 and 24 January. Choreographed by the multi-award-winning Wayne McGregor, Professor of Choreography and Trinity Laban, the work is derived from McGregor’s own genome sequencing. This is a fantastic chance to see this “mind-boggling mix of science and sorcery” (Guardian) up close.

On 28 and 29 February, world-leading Candoco Dance Company brings two radical works to Trinity Laban performed by seven disabled and non-disabled dancers. Face In by Israeli choreographer Yasmeen Godder is a sensual and disturbing ode to intimacy and imagination, expressed through striking images interwoven with daring and uninhibited dance and Set to an urban indie score.  Hot Mess by internationally renowned choreographer and designer Theo Clinkard is an unpredictable and anarchic performance set to an eclectic score by the award-winning Joe Newman of Alt-J. This is the first time Joe Newman of alt-J has written music for the stage.

In four highly personal short works curated by Freddie Opoku-Addaie for Dance Umbrella 2019, artists THĒO INARTBecky NamgaudsFfion Campbell-Davies/ tyroneisaacstuart and hip hop theatre legend Jonzi D turn their gaze on society in a powerful combination of physicality, lyricism, surreal visuals and experimental sound. Catch the SystemsLAB Mixed Bill on 12 and 13 March. 

Also in March, Jane Mason with David Williams perform their duet Night Flying (17 and 18 March). Drawing on ideas related to deep time, the night sky and landscapes of being, the work combines movement, music, text, and objects to create images that unfold fluidly like dreams and exploring a constellation of associations related to memory, change and wonder. Seated on-stage rather than in the auditorium, audience members will inhabit the same space as the dancer, making this a truly intimate experience.

Rounding off an incredible season of visiting companies, BalletBoyz are back on 20 March with Deluxe – a feast of mesmerising and sublime dance cleverly fused with the Company’s trademark use of film and behind the scenes footage. This brand-new show celebrates their 20th anniversary and just happens to be an amazing collaboration between some of Trinity Laban’s most exciting and innovative alumni including former Transitions Dance Company member Maxine Doyle (now of Punchdrunk) and composition graduate Cassie Kinoshi of the Mercury-nominated SEED Ensemble.

We’re also delighted to be celebrating Lin Hwai-min this season. One of the world’s pre-eminent choreographers, he is the founder of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan as well as an alum of Trinity Laban. He’ll be sharing thoughts on his life as a maker of dance, in conversation with prominent dance writer Judith Mackrell, in a special event on 20 February.

The season wouldn’t be complete without exciting opportunities to see tomorrow’s dance stars as well as today’s. Our alumni performance platform Bite Size Pieces gives graduates the space to showcase new work in development in a safe and constructive environment (22 February), whilst our final year dance students get a taste of working at the vanguard of the industry as they present an exciting programme of new works in their Mixed Bill on 25 February.

For more information on all performances, please visit our What’s On page

Image: Candoco Dance Company – Face In by Yasmeen Godder (credit Hugo Glendinning)

Students premiere colossal new work

In November, vocal and percussion students took part in the first ever performance of The Fish that became the Sun at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//).

Despite being written three decades ago, Frank Denyer’s epic work is such an elaborate undertaking that it had never before been performed in its entirety.

The premiere at Huddersfield Town Hall on 23 November 2019 required the combined forces of Trinity Laban’s contemporary vocal ensemble RubyThroat and percussion students alongside the renowned Octandre Ensemble, Consortium5 and male vocalists from New London Chamber Choir, led by conductors Jon Hargreaves and Holly Mathieson.

The “hour-long extravaganza” is scored for 80 existing, “found” and invented instruments – including a broom, wine glasses, a fishing rod, and marbles – requiring all 37 musicians to play multiple parts.

Anna Marmion, a vocal student on our master’s programme, described how demanding and multi-faceted her involvement was, explaining that singers had to use extended vocal techniques and add sound effects in the form of claps and stamps, whilst wearing tap-shoes.

The students worked closely with London-born composer Frank Denyer in the lead up to the performance.

On taking part in the unique performance Anna continued – 

“Being involved in the world premiere was an exhilarating and inspiring experience.  I loved working in such a high-level environment with an array of talented musicians who instilled the whole process with legitimacy and integrity. Combining the incredible imagination and creativity of Frank Denyer with the skill and professionalism of conductor Jon Hargreaves took the work off the page and made it a hugely rewarding achievement. I would absolutely do a project like this again. It has increased my confidence and broadened my perspectives in terms of contemporary music.”

Music blog 5against4 described the impact of the sold-out performance –

“.. I’m not sure anything has rendered me so speechless, so overwhelmed and so enraptured as this piece. … this work somehow made me feel connected, not only to it but to those around me – the players, the audience and the wider world – and made me appreciate in a new way how music can act as a profound force for unity.” 

The Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival celebrates new music and related contemporary art forms. In 2017 it saw the world premiere of Harmonic Canon, the award-winning two-part work by Trinity Laban’s Head of Composition Dominic Murcott in collaboration with American virtuosic percussionists arx duo.

For more info, visit

Find out more about studying Trinity Laban on our music pages

Image credit: Brian Slater

Alumni Round-Up November & December 2019

Our round-up of some of the successes of Trinity Laban alumni.

The last couple of months have been full of great achievements and exciting new projects for Trinity Laban’s alumni.

The EFG London Jazz Festival 2019 saw a whole host of alumni performing, including Cherise Adams-Burnett, Emma Jean Thackray, Camilla George, Cassie Kinoshi’s SEED ensemble, Laura Jurd, Jake Long, Rosie Turton, Emilia Mårtensson, Ms MAURICE, Daniel Casimir, Samuel Eagles, Peter Edwards, Shane Forbes and Mark Kavuma. Faculty staff and celebrated jazz artist Cleveland Watkiss celebrated his 60th birthday at the festival with a performance featuring alumni including Sahra Gure and Ayanna Witter-Johnson. Saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi led the performance project ‘She Is Jazz’, celebrating performers who identify as female or non-binary.

Alumni have continued to be celebrated for their talents and achievements. Hollywood film composer John Powell has been nominated and won multiple awards for his score for How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, including a Hollywood Music in Media Award and a World Soundtrack Award.

Sir Matthew Bourne and Shelley Maxwell were both recognised at the BroadwayWorld Awards, with Sir Matthew winning for Outstanding Achievement in a New Dance Production for Romeo + Juliet. Shelley Maxwell was also celebrated at the Black British Theatre Awards, winning Best Choreography for her work on Equus.

The One Dance UK Awards also celebrated many Trinity Laban alumni successes. Dance faculty member and alum Khyle Eccles was named the Inspirational Lecturer at College, University or Conservatoire and Professor Emma Redding was decorated for excellence in Dance Science. Alum Jody Morgan won the Dance Healthcare Practitioner Award while Sanjoy Roy won the Dance Writing Award.

The British Jazz Awards celebrated tenor saxophonist Leo Richardson and featured Ezra Collective in the Best Small Group category. They are currently touring the USA with their new album, You Can’t Steal My Joy.

Work from Laura Jurd and Mark Lockheart was recognised at the Ivors Composers Awards and the Paul Hamlyn Awards, with Laura winning alongside fellow alum Dai Fujikura at the Ivors Composers Awards.

Award-winning international concert pianist Iyad Sughayer became one of six musicians named as the City Music Foundation (CMF) Artists 2019. At the beginning of November, BIS Records released Iyad’s debut album, featuring Khachaturian’s solo piano works.

The Guardian listed its Top Ten Dance Shows of 2019, featuring Oona Doherty’s Hard to Be Soft – A Belfast Prayer at number 1, a glowing review of Matthew Bourne’s Romeo + Juliet and other alumni who performed in the top ten dance shows include Dylan Crossman (Pam Tanowitz’s ‘Four Quartets’) and Elly Braund (Night of 100 Solos).

A number of alumni have recently joined dance companies. Mirabelle Gremaud embarked on a UK tour of a dance theatre adaptation of Enid Blyton’s classic Malory Towers. After dancing for Polski Teatr Tańca (Polish Dance Theatre) for many years, Maciej Kuźmiński returned to the company to choreograph new work Fabula Rasa, pushing the boundaries of physicality and composition.

Sir Matthew Bourne’s iconic and subversive adaptation of Swan Lake travelled to LA, with alumni Jack Parry and Cameron Everitt among the cast. Also from New Adventures, The Red Shoes has been enjoying a sell-out run at Sadler’s Wells before it continues on its UK tour on 28 Jan 2020.

Jazz alum Moses Boyd announced an upcoming album release for February 2020, accompanied by an international tour including several UK dates. Sahra Gure released her EP Love Me With Me alongside a launch gig at Tileyard Studios. Jazz septet Nérija, featuring alumni Cassie Kinoshi, Sheila Maurice-Grey, Rosie Turton, Nubya Garcia and Lizy Exell, have also released their album Blume.

Soumik Datta launched his new album Jangal at Oslo Hackney earlier this month. Read about the album and his influences in his interview in India’s The Sunday Guardian.

Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds: The Immersive Experience won the Outstanding Achievement award for ‘Connected Immersive’ at the Thea Awards, along with Best Innovation at the British Youth Travel Awards. Check out Metro’s review.

November saw the return of Bite Size Pieces at Trinity Laban, a platform for alumni to share and receive feedback on dance works in progress. Presenting their work at this session were Liwia Bargiel, Antigone Gyra, Panayiotis Tofi and Laure Fauser.

Malik Nashad-Sharpe recently choreographed for the new production Fairview. The play, currently at the Young Vic, comes to London after a sell-out run in New York.

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein Dance brought their production of The Little Prince to The Place this December and will continue with a UK tour in the New Year.

Luke Walsh joined the cast of Chess for its Tokyo production, running until 9 February 2020.

The Swallowsfeet Collective, consisting of alumni Jessica Miller, Sivan Rubenstein, Jessica Lea Haener, Rosa Firbank and Gordon Raeburn, presented an evening of work at the Biscuit Factory, Bermondsey.

Claudia Palazzo recently finished her year-long dance residency at Grow Tottenham with her performance event, This Foreign Mansion.

Empirical, a jazz ensemble which includes alumni Shane Forbes and Lewis Wright will be Wiltshire Music Centre’s Nimmo Artist in Residence for 2020. Empirical, who were Trinity Laban Golubovich Ensemble in Residence 2011, will bring their unique pop-up jazz lounge to Bath and work on new music to be premiered at the end of the residency.

Created by classical guitar alum Francesco Rocco, Lilium SoundArt conducted a project involving musicians performing in historical venues in Padova, Italy, exploring the venues’ 14th Century artwork through music. Zephyros, the ensemble with which Francesco plays, have released recordings and videos of their work on the project.

Transitions Dance alum Takeshi Matsumoto was selected by South East Dance as part of their new initiative Little Big Dance, pioneering dance with and for under 5 year olds in Suffolk and Norfolk.

John Savournin’s new production The Nativity Panto opened at the King’s Head Theatre, London at the end of November. The show will run until 11 Jan 2020 – find out more on Charles Court Opera’s website.

Musical theatre alum Shobna Gulati will reprise the role of Ray in the Everybody’s Talking About Jamie 2020 UK tour following her performance in the West End production earlier this year.

Soho Cinders, currently featuring alumni Lewis Asquith, Natalie Harman and Thomas Ball, has announced that its run at the Charing Cross theatre will be extended until 11 Jan 2020. A modern retelling of classic fairy-tale, Cinderella, the pantomime has been met with high praise from critics. Read this great review of Soho Cinders.

Also on this season’s pantomime scene, Kate Hume has been starring as Maid Marion in Robin Hood at the Camberley Theatre, Surrey, which ran from 13 to 31 December. Gary Hind has been Musical Supervisor and Orchestrator at the London Palladium production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, which continues until 12 January.

Close-harmony vocal trio The Puppini Sisters performed at Christmas in Leicester Square, singing jazzy reinventions of pop hits as well as their own original songs.

Distinguished trumpeter Mike Lovatt performed jazz standards and holiday favourites with the San Francisco Symphony at the Davies Symphony Hall alongside writer, actor and singer Seth MacFarlane on New Years Eve.


Don’t miss

Resolution will be at The Place between Thurs 9 Jan and Fri 21 Feb 2020 and will feature a whole host of Trinity Laban alumni. Performers and choreographers will include Mass Hysteria, Shivaangee Agrawal, Monika Blaszczak, Rebecca Piersanti, Darren Payne, Jacob Elliot Roberts, Luke Birch, Bakani Pick-Up, Greta Gauhe, Dylan Poirot Canton, Matthew Harding, Petronella Weihahn, Clara Cowen, Rachel Laird, Julia Costa, Yanaëlle Thiran, Vanessa Abreu, Jessica Walker, Marcus Alessandrini, Diamanto Hadjizacharia, Marlen Pflueger, Willa Faulkner and Vasiliki Papapostolou. Read the full programme and find out more about the performances.

Sadler’s Wells 2020 season features many familiar Trinity Laban names including Eleanor Perry (Thick and Tight), Alexandrina Hemsley (Project O) and Matthew Sandiford (Ballet Boyz). Find out more about Sadler’s Wells’ upcoming shows.

Moses Boyd will embark on an international tour beginning in Copenhagen on 24 Feb and arriving in the UK on Weds 4 March for several performances across the country. Read about Moses’ music and get your concert tickets here.

If you’re in Belgium this month don’t miss SEED ensemble with Cassie Kinoshi and Nubya Garcia on Sat 18 Jan 2020 in Ixelles. Visit Cassie Kinoshi’s website for SEED’s full performance schedule.

Cassie Kinoshi will also provide the music for Inua Ellams’ adaptation of The Little Prince from Fuel Theatre, opening at Stratford Circus Arts Centre on Sat 17 Jan 2020. Read more about Fuel’s adaptation of this classic tale here.

The Puppini Sisters and Reuben James will be at the Hastings International Piano Festival 2020 alongside artists and composers such as RufusWainwright and RachelPortman. See the Hastings International Piano Festival website for the full festival line-up.