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The six Innovation Award winners sit on the floor in a row.

Announcing our 2024 Innovation Award winners

A huge congratulations to the winners of our 2024 Innovation Award: Hope O’Brien, Caitlin Howe, Harshita Parekh, Alessandra Felci, Kornélia Nemcová, and Shannon Hill.

The Innovation Award is an exciting opportunity for final-year undergraduates to pitch an idea for an original project. We support successful candidates to turn their idea into a reality by providing funding, mentoring from Trinity Laban alumni, and expert guidance from industry professionals.

Launched in 2019 and open to all final-year undergraduate students at Trinity Laban, the competition 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. Made possible by The Higher Education Innovation Fund (HEIF), each winning project receives an award of up to £4,000 to use on development, and will benefit from a specially tailored mentorship programme.

Find out more about the winners, their projects, and their mentors below.


Hope O’Brien and Caitlin Howe (Eye to Eye)

Hope O’Brien and Caitlin Howe are in their final year of the BA in Contemporary Dance and have formed the collective Eye to Eye. It aims to create interdisciplinary art, derived from research around social issues, particularly through a queer feminist lens. Working across dance, textiles, fine art and poetry, the collective believes a multimedia approach can build informative projects that speak to the complexity of human experiences. They want to utilise this range of skills to create safe spaces and open up conversations about challenging topics. Eye to Eye will be utilising the Trinity Laban Innovation Award to build a multimedia collection of research about consent.

Hope and Caitlin say: “We are excited to begin creating our Consent Event, this work is very necessary, and we are incredibly proud to have the support of Trinity Laban to make it happen.”

Harshita Parekh

Harshita Parekh, a British- Indian classical pianist, started her musical journey at the age of 8, under the guidance of Yuriy Chubarenko and is currently under the tutelage of Alexander Ardakov. Harshita is the founder of BM Piano & Music Theory Lessons, a practice which has been running for almost five years. Coming from a background where studying music is not common practice, she continues to introduce students to the journey of piano playing.

Alongside her studies, Harshita’s work focuses on exploring connections between classical piano and Bollywood music. Her project, ‘Bollywood at the Piano’ – Bach, Beethoven and Bollywood!, aims to explore how Bollywood music can be performed in classical settings and provide a new perspective on the piano.

Harshita says: “I feel very honoured and privileged to receive this year’s Innovation Award in a project which has been a vision for many years. I am grateful and excited to receive mentorship and recognition to start this new journey.”

Alessandra Felci

Alessandra Felci is an Italian-Swiss dancer and artist who discovered her passion for dance at the age of 7. She had the opportunity to train at the Accademia Ucraina di Balletto in Milan and later at the Ashkenazy Ballet Centre in Switzerland, where she passionately performed in ballet performances and international competitions. In addition to her dance journey, she also attended the linguistic high school and graduated with top marks. She continued her dance studies at Trinity Laban, where she received a scholarship for admission. Here, she developed and is still developing my technical ability, performance skills, and choreography, and she has begun to grow her artistic voice. In the last three years, she has had the opportunity to share her own creative work and perform on a variety of occasions. Finally, starting in September 2024, she is very enthusiastic about joining the company MA Emergence for which she has been selected. Her project is called Dance Has No Age.

Alessandra says: “Winning the Innovation Award fills me with immense pride and excitement. As a creative, I feel grateful for this opportunity and for the people who believe in me and will help me bring my project to life. This recognition energizes me to continue striving for excellence and pushing for more creativity.”

Kornélia Nemcová

Kornélia Nemcová is a London-based composer and musician from Slovakia. Her work often involves multidisciplinary collaborations, while aiming to bring about awareness of social issues and groups who are otherwise overlooked. The Stories of the Silent Voices project series will highlight music and art for social change, incorporating direct journalism and research from subject matter experts. The first one is premiering soon: A Woman’s War is a performance about the untold stories of Ukrainian women who had to flee Ukraine after the full-scale invasion of 2022, that directly incorporates spoken accounts acquired from interviews.

Kornélia says: “The transition into industry after university is tough for any artist. The Innovation Award smoothens that transition, while allowing me to tackle more ambitious, professional and impactful projects.”

Shannon Hill

Shannon Mairead Hill is a multidisciplinary artist. She has a strong passion for dance, circus, and bringing about constructive change in the larger creative industry. The project Atypical Creative has a specific interest in bridging the gap in the transition, from student to professional life. The main objective will be to help students become more confident, experienced, and educated about the evolving creative industries. While also providing them with the chance to interact in person, exchange knowledge and first-hand experience with one another. She plans to use the innovation award to host multiple events aimed at encouraging students in building their careers whilst still in education.

Shannon says: “I consider myself incredibly blessed to have this opportunity and to provide something that I think will help future generations of creatives. I am very excited, huge thanks to Trinity Laban for your support!”


Becky Dell 

Becky Dell is the Conductor and Co-Founder of the Citizens of the World Choir, the UK’s leading refugees and allies choir. The choir has performed at Glastonbury Festival, regularly on the BBC, at Buckingham Palace for the Platinum Party at the Palace (winning a BAFTA for Best Live Event), The Royal Opera House and on the Great British Bake Off. She also runs a Music Academy in Blackheath and Greenwich and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Kate Scanlan

Kate is a Creative Producer working in the cultural sector since 1998. She has a track record of producing pioneering projects and curating transformative events with artists, young people and communities.

She is the Founder of Scanners’ Inc, a creative non-profit that creates connection in public spaces through culture, retail partnerships and the arts. Events like The Bridge, Popin’ Pete’s Pop Shop, Sofa Sessions and Fit Street bring people together and create joy. In a time when we’re lonelier than ever, this work boost mental health, provides positive intergenerational activity and makes a positive economic impact.

Kate is joint Creative Director/CEO of East London Dance with Tia Hassan, and together they have been Creative Directors for MOVE IT for nine years. She has also producer for Breakin’ Convention, Fuel, Sadler’s Wells, Battersea Power Station, Studio Wayne McGregor: Random Dance, EcoWorld London, Rambert, Lendlease Elephant Park, Croydon Council, English National Opera and others. Kate is a Clore Fellow and gives guest lectures at a range of organisations including Goldsmiths, Ravensbourne, UEL, Swindon Dance, Matthew Bournes’ Re:Bourne and for Shechter II.

Roswitha Chesher

Roswitha is an award winning director and film maker and has had many films and installations screened extensively both nationally and internationally, at various venues and film festivals. Her most recent collaboration with choreographer Rosemary Lee, a seven screen installation ‘Orchard Portraits’, was recently on show at Limerick City Art Gallery.

Originally trained as a dancer and choreographer, she enjoys bringing that knowledge to her work in all aspects of film making. Looking, watching and giving contributors time and space, capturing, editing and framing their presence. Roswitha has had the wonderful opportunity of collaborating with a really diverse mix of contributors and artists and enjoys the richness that this brings to her work.

Luke Birch

Luke began training at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and completed his BA Hons degree at Trinity Laban. In 2009, he joined post graduate dance company Edge at London Contemporary Dance School. Professionally, he has performed for a variety of companies (Punchdrunk, Flexer and Sandiland, Janine Harrington) internationally alongside working with visual artists performing in galleries (Tate, Hayward Gallery). His choreographic work has been shown at Canterbury Festival, Saddlers Wells (Damn Fine Dance at Elixir Festival), The Place, Siobhan Davies Studios, Move it 2016 and Arts Depot. His most recent work commissioned by Loop Dance Company is currently touring the UK. Luke also has a passion for teaching and has delivered classes and workshops with Greenwich Dance, The Place, Independent Dance, Laban, London Studio Centre, Salzburg Academy of Experimental Dance, Shobana Jeyasingh and Candoco.

Sir Wayne McGregor CBE receives a Knighthood for pioneering contributions to dance

Trinity Laban proudly celebrates Sir Wayne McGregor CBE, who has been awarded a Knighthood in this year’s Birthday Honours List for his outstanding services to the field of dance.

His Majesty the King has awarded a Knighthood to world-renowned choreographer and director Wayne McGregor in recognition of his trailblazing innovations in performance that have radically redefined the world of contemporary dance. His work continues to inspire and challenge, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the creative arts. Wayne joined the staff of Trinity Laban in September 2013 as a development of the partnership with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance. The Academic Board has conferred the title of Professor in recognition of his status as an eminent artist researcher of international distinction.

Wayne McGregor said in a statement: “I am very honoured to be offered a knighthood and grateful to all of the incredible people who have nurtured me for over 33 years in the art form I love – dance. Building a career in the arts, creative thinkers make a vital and significant contribution to public life and to the nation’s economy whilst experimenting, risk-taking and challenging convention. Recognising that the arts matter, this honour reminds us that every young person given access to culture and creative expression has the opportunity to fly.”

Wayne McGregor has directed and choreographed over 160 works throughout his 30 year career, including over forty works for Company Wayne McGregor, which he founded in 1993, and more than twenty works for The Royal Ballet where he has been Resident Choreographer since 2006. He also choreographed the revolutionary avatar concert ABBA Voyage in 2022.

More about Sir Wayne McGregor CBE

Wayne McGregor is a multi-award-winning British choreographer and director, internationally renowned for his physically testing choreography and groundbreaking collaborations across dance, film, music, visual art, technology and science. He is Artistic Director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Resident Company at Sadlerʼs Wells, and Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet.

McGregor has created new works for Paris Opera Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet, New York City Ballet, Australian Ballet, English National Ballet, NDT1, Rambert Dance Company among others. His works are also in the repertories of the leading ballet companies in the world including the Royal Danish Ballet, National Ballet of Canada, the Bolshoi, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and the Mariinsky Ballet. He has directed movement for theatre and film including Harry Potter And The Goblet of Fire, and has choreographed music videos including the Grammy-nominated Lotus Flower video for Radiohead, and Ingenue for Atoms for Peace. He has also directed opera for La Scala, Milan and the Royal Opera House, London, and choreographed for plays, musicals, fashion shows and art galleries including site specific installations at the Hayward Gallery, Saatchi Gallery, National Gallery, Canary Wharf, Glastonbury, the Pompidou Centre and for Secret Cinema. In July 2012, he created a large-scale public dance work with 1000 performers, Big Dance Trafalgar Square, part of London 2012 Festival in celebration of the London Olympic Games.

McGregor’s work has earned him three Critics’ Circle Awards, two Time Out Awards, two South Bank Show Awards, two Olivier Awards, two prix Benois de la Danse and a Critics’ Prize at the Golden Mask Awards. In January 2011, McGregor was awarded a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) for Services to Dance.

In 2017, he founded Studio Wayne McGregor at Here East, the first legacy arts building in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The same year, he was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of the British Science Association. He became an Arts Foundation Ambassador in 2019, was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Prix de Lausanne in 2021, and received an honorary doctorate from the Royal College of Art in 2023. He is Professor of Choreography at Trinity Laban, President of Elmhurst Ballet School, Vice-President of The Roundhouse, and is part of the Circle of Cultural Fellow at King’s College London. Since 2021, he has also been Director of Dance for the prestigious Venice Biennale.

Beijing Dance Academy at Trinity Laban

In late March, Principal Anthony Bowne welcomed the Beijing Dance Academy to Trinity Laban to meet with senior colleagues, view work from our current dance and musical theatre students, and sign a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions.

The Beijing Dance Academy attended our Master’s Dance Performance, featuring a piece by Wayne McGregor which included music from Head of Strings Nic Pendlebury and musician John Marc. They also watched the BA3 Musical Theatre showcase at Laban Theatre and observed a Dance Science Lab demo, where a BSc Dance Science student, Julie (Chung-Yi Lo) ran a presentation on her current project.

The main areas of cooperation between the two institutions include:

  1. Developing joint dance programme collaborations at both Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels.
  2. Developing a mutually beneficial cooperation in teaching and research to further the advancement and dissemination of learning.
  3. Establishing an academic exchange, including short-term educational programmes, student exchanges, and mutual visits of faculty and school members to pursue research and to deliver masterclasses, workshops and lectures.
  4. Trinity Laban will participate in World Dance Education Alliance which organised by BDA and joined by art institutions across the world.

“I am so glad to welcome Beijing Dance Academy to our campus in London. We have known each other for more than 20 years and we both hope to deepen partnership relationships between us. We believe it’s vital for both leading artistic institutions to connect across the globe, to create, collaborate and enhance our teaching, research and performance excellence.” says Li Yu, our Student Recruitment and International Relations Manager.

Holly Waddington wins Oscar and BAFTA for Best Costume Design

A huge congratulations to Trinity Laban alum Holly Waddington (MA Scenography – Dance) for winning this year’s Academy Award and BAFTA Award for Best Costume Design for Poor Things!

Holly Waddington was the costume designer on Yorgos Lanthimos’s 2023 film Poor Things, starring Emma Stone (who won the BAFTA Award and Academy Award for Best Actress), Willem Dafoe, Ramy Youseff, and Mark Ruffalo. She stated that the director “opened the whole thing up for my interpretation” – he did not want the style of a period drama nor science-fiction. Holly has previously expressed that she too “often found it frustrating when periods are recreated exactly as they were” and she is “more interested in the scope to play with ideas”. Poor Things tells the tale of young Bella Baxter who is brought back to life by scientist Dr Godwin Baxter. The captivating costumes trace the evolution of the protagonist and complement the film’s brilliant narrative.

Holly Waddington attended the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford and began her career working for Angels the Costumiers in London as a ladies’ period costume designer. Following her MA in Scenography at Trinity Laban, she was a finalist in the 2007 Linbury Prize for Theatre Design. Holly previously worked as a film costume designer for Lady Macbeth by William Oldroyd, Ginger and Rosa by Sally Potter, and Departure by Andrew Steggall. As an assistant costume designer, Holly has collaborated on War Horse and Lincoln by Steven Spielberg, Happy-Go-Lucky and Another Year by Mike Leigh, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. by Guy Ritchie. She has designed costumes, sets and installations for productions at The Gate Theatre, The Young Vic, The Almeida, The Royal Court, Scottish Dance Theatre, Sadler’s Wells, Handspring UK and Complicité.

The Barbican hosted an exhibition from December to January presenting the costumes designed by Holly Waddington in collaboration with director Yorgos Lanthimos, as worn in the film by Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe.

We are all immensely proud of Holly and pass on our congratulations!

Image Credit: Arturo Holmes/Getty Images

Celebrating the success of CoLab 2024

Each year, CoLab marks the perfect opportunity for our Dance, Music, and Musical Theatre students to unite in celebration of creativity and innovation in all its many art forms, culminating in two magnificent showcases. 900 students from our faculties come together with staff and visiting artists from around the world to create works rooted in imagination and innovation. 79 projects took place over two weeks in February, including 35 student-proposed projects, four international co-creative projects, and three visiting companies.

This year’s theme ‘Journey to the Heart’ prompted experimentation, risk-taking, and creativity, emphasising that collaboration in the arts is more important than ever. The fortnight-long festival saw students, colleagues, and guests explore and play outside of their comfort zone to reach new artistic heights.

International highlights included students working with musicians from Slovakia for the project Variations in Roma and Slovak Traditional Music, led by TL alum Zoltan Gayas, creating arrangements through improvisation and exploration. Singapore’s contemporary dance group, The Presence Project, led by TL alumnus and Honorary Fellow Peter Gn (PhD), collaborated with TL students to create the project No Detour at the Intersections. This multidisciplinary movement experience guided dancers and non-dancers through fun, in-the-moment contemporary dance routines and improvisations. TL also worked closely with the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, based in Los Angeles, to bring together four separate projects inspired by the year’s theme – a true testament to the creative strength of our community.

Trinity Laban students also thrived working with UK-based companies, including Clod Ensemble, an internationally renowned performance company delivering an award-winning artistic programme with public engagement at its heart. Artistic Directors Suzy Wilson and Paul Clark joined forces with students on a project exploring the ensemble’s unique approach to interdisciplinary collaboration. During the festival, they journeyed into the heart of 27-years of performance making, delving into archive materials to foster connections and creating opportunities to find a shared language.

Showcases of the students’ work took place at Laban Building and Blackheath Halls – each a resounding success and reminder of the beauty of artistic collaboration.

Kirsty Purnell joins Moving Stories as Dance Artist

2020 Community Dance alum Kirsty Purnell will be one of four Dance Artists working with us for Moving Stories: embedding dance and drama in SEND teacher practice.

Recent alum Kirsty Purnell has joined Moving Stories, a two-year Paul Hamlyn Teacher Development Fund project, as a Dance Artist. Trinity Laban and its partners were successful in a bid of support from the PHF Teacher Development Fund – Moving Stories was one of eight UK-wide projects chosen for support.

Kirsty will be working with two of the six Lewisham-based schools involved in the project: Watergate and the Resource Base at Athelney Primary. In her role as a Dance Artist, she will collaborate with Drama Practitioners from Peoplescape Theatre, and School Teachers to develop and embed drama and dance in their setting, with the goal to improve the communication skills of young people facing high levels of disadvantage. Communication skills are the key to unlocking young peoples’ ability to thrive as active, engaged and connected members of their communities. Teachers and Artists will learn from each other, developing new pedagogical approaches, and spread good practice to colleagues, ensuring disabled young people have access to a rich and exciting arts curriculum which supports their life skills.

On being appointed the role of Dance Artist, Kirsty Purnell comments: “I am really excited to be one of the Dance Artists on the Moving Stories project in collaboration with Trinity Laban and Peoplescape Theatre. It feels particularly special to be on a project that is two years long and will allow time and space to build relationships and see the longer term impact of creative practices in SEND settings. I’m really looking forward to working on a project that’s so collaborative in nature and excited to see how working closely with drama practitioners and SEND teachers impacts and expands my own community dance practice. The learning and connections I made during my time at Trinity Laban on the Community Dance Postgrad have been invaluable in shaping my work in different dancing communities and Moving Stories is a wonderful example of this!”

More about Kirsty

An experienced facilitator, Kirsty works in a variety of settings including primary, secondary, SEN schools and community centres. She is particularly interested in how movement can be used to create, communicate and collaborate in the spirit of collective joy.

​She regularly leads projects for Rambert, The Royal Academy of Dance, Trinity Laban and Sadler’s Wells Learning and Engagement Programme with sharings at Sadler’s Wells Theatre and The Yard Theatre, Hackney Wick. She has also worked for SLiDE, Hackney Children’s Theatre, Trinity Laban and run workshops for F.A.T Studio and London College of Communication.

​Initially studying English Literature and Philosophy at Glasgow University and then completing her PGCE, she went on to receive a scholarship to study Community Dance at Trinity Laban. Kirsty is a professional member of People Dancing and an accredited teacher of Rambert Grades Creative Dance for Early Years and Grade 1-4 contemporary technique.

Resolution 2024

This year, Resolution 2024 returns to The Place between 17 January and 9 February. Across 18 nights, 54 artists and companies from London and beyond perform bold new contemporary dance work. We are incredibly proud to have many alumni and students taking part in Resolution 2024.

Several Desperate Attempts explores the concept of fame, questioning the lengths that people are willing to go to for the rich and successful life. This contemporary dance-theatre has been inspired by pop culture controversiality and phenomena, such as Lady Gaga’s meat dress and Britney Spears shaving her head, to name a few. Several Desperate Attempts was choreographed by Jack Trotter and features TL Alum Ben Yorke-Griffiths. (Thu 18 Jan)

Sylvie Holder’s Sweet England delves into the undocumented realities of peasantry within Western Europe in the Middle Ages. It explores the untold history of the people of serfdom and unfolds on stage as an organic anthology of happenings, a series of proposed experiences and features TL Alumni Ben Yorke-Griffiths and Lucy Rutter. (Fri 19 Jan)

Trinity Laban Alum Francesca Matthys performs a new solo work, Stap (St-AH-p), which is informed by her South African lineage, spiritual and artistic practice. Known as the ‘Stepping in Situ’ practice, Francesca is in conversation with original adaptations of the Nama Stap Rite of Passage Dance. This practice acknowledges the pelvis as a site of wisdom, intuition and identity of ancestral significance. (Wed 24 Jan)

Choreographed by Trinity Laban alum and Innovation Award Winner Chiara Halter, 33 RPM combines set design, contemporary movement language and opera, as a response to the ongoing growth in socio-economic segregation. Chiara and fellow alum Alessia Tomassi Marinangeli, work to embrace the evolution of cultural heritage, and serve the reminder that we are nothing but the product of our environment. Chiara and Alessia will be joined by singer Paula Günther. (Thu 25 Jan)

On The Other Side, choreographed by TL Alum Yee Kei Yuki Chung, has been through 5 stages of research and development. It explores the emotional impact on people who have experienced the death of others, imaginary death, and the imaginary contact between the dead and the living. This project features TL Alumni Mac Daniel Villanueva Palima and composer Mikey Parsons. This project is generously supported by the Thea Barnes Legacy. (Tue 30 Jan)

Choreographed by Trinity Alum Innovation Award winner Aimee Ruhinda, A Good Scare is a Wonderful Aphrodisiac explores the witch archetype as a reborn feminist symbol. This piece explores the Butoh ideology, saturating the raw real to become surreal. ‘The coven’ portrays your deepest fears as a method to better understand them, reclaiming your true self. It will be performed by six Trinity Laban alumni dancers Alessia Tomassi Marinangeli, Ana Noakes, Chiara Halter, Ellie Broom, Kiera O’Reilly and Zuzanna Wasiak. (Wed 31 Jan)

TL Alum Emma Skyum has choreographed LEUCA, a dance dedicated to the passing of time, self-realisation and acceptance. Stimulated by the nature of personal growth this work evolves cohesively with the dancer as she develops her own movement language. LEUCA is an abstract portrayal of ‘relive, retrieve, recover’ from lived experiences of the self in which the stimulus is solely one’s own truth. (Wed 31 Jan)

Resurrection is a dance that explores how one might rebuild their sense of self and purpose when a major part of their life falls apart. Themes of internalised relationships are explored and contrasted with colourful, psychedelic visuals and set to an eclectic soundtrack. Trinity Alum Antonia Latz is one of four dancers in this piece by Samantha Harding. (Thur 1 Feb)

In his solo performance Souvenir, dance artist Fabio Pronesti reconsiders what we kept close. A body seeks procedures of pouring memories in the space whilst getting confused by what is familiar: the smell of a smoke, a way of capturing each other’s hands, some desires rooted out yesterday. Within the landscape crafted in collaboration with sound engineer Beatrice Balagna, Fabio brings to light lived spaces, currents in which he immersed himself and some precious relics: other beliefs that were real. (Sat 3 Feb)

There are few bodies as impressive in its range of movement and ability to navigate space than the octopus. In fact, in the nineteenth century the octopus was the most demonised creature for this very reason and was coined the ‘devil fish’. Devil Fish, by Silver-Tongue Studios, questions what it means to be called ‘a monster’ and features TL Alum Antonia Latz. (Wed 7 Feb)

I Am. Am I is a human story that questions labelling theory and raises awareness of social inequality using a multitude of different means. This is a work in progress and TL Alum Louiseanne Pui Chi Wong investigates their struggle with social norms, displacement, and unlearning how they were ‘conditioned’ in Hong Kong. (Thur 8 Feb)

Magnetoreception is a dance of passion and pain, narrated by the mesmerising choreography of magnets in motion. TL Alum Sarah Hirsch and her colleague Phillip McDermott established Odyl Creations in 2023, which recently culminated in a forty-minute production at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. (Fri 9 Feb)

Image Credit: Production image from A Good Scare is a Wonderful Aphrodisiac by Aimee Ruhinda / The Place

Welcoming TL’s newest Honorary Fellows

During our graduation ceremonies last week, we were delighted to award a number of Honorary Fellowships to outstanding industry professionals and members of the TL community: celebrated Artistic Director Shobana Jeyasingh CBE, TCM alum and President of EMI Records, Rebecca Allen, and Julian Joseph OBE, one of the finest musicians in contemporary British Jazz. TL’s Vice Chair, Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE, was awarded an Honorary Companionship, and a moving posthumous award was made to our former Director of Dance, Mirella Bartrip OBE, received by her husband.

The Honorary Fellows were nominated for outstanding achievements and contributions to the arts throughout their careers. Shobana Jeyasingh CBE founded her dance company in 1989 and has created over 60 critically acclaimed works for stage, screen, and outside and indoor sites, ranging from Palladian monasteries in Venice to contemporary fountains in London. Her works are noted for both their intellectual rigour and visceral physicality, remaining rooted in her experience as a female postcolonial citizen of the world. Many of them form part of the National Curriculum for Dance in the UK. A multi-award winning creative, Shobana was named Asian Woman of Achievement in Art and Culture in 2008 and was awarded the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the WOW Women in Creative Industries Awards in 2017. Serving on panels such as Arts Council England and the Royal Opera House, she is also patron of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. Her distinguished artistic career extends to working as a researcher and scriptwriter for two pioneering programmes on British Asian Arts for Channel Four. A founding member and research fellow of ResCen at Middlesex University, she was invited to take on the role of Knowledge Producer by the Cultural Institute at Kings College London in 2014 which led to Translocations, a series of films where choreographic narratives met a range of academic disciplines. More recently, Shobana was a judge for BBC Young Dancer in both 2017 and 2019.

Rebecca Allen is one of the most powerful and influential executives in the British music industry today. As President of EMI Records, Rebecca oversees a roster of artists that comprises home-grown talent signed directly to the label, and international superstars who have chosen to make EMI their UK home, ranging from Taylor Swift to Paul McCartney and Metallica. A former student at Trinity College of Music, Rebecca began her career with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and then the BBC Proms. Her tenacity, warmth and eye for a great story quickly saw her get snapped up by Universal Music Group, where she enjoyed a meteoric rise through the legendary Decca label. She started as a press assistant in the Classics and Jazz Division, then as Director of Media, rising to General Manager, then Managing Director, before becoming President of Decca in 2017: the youngest person – and the first woman in its long and distinguished 90-year history – ever to hold this role. Rebecca put UK country music in the spotlight, helped bring jazz to a much wider audience, championed young classical stars, and collaborated with artists including Nicola Benedetti and Rod Stewart. A multi-award winning executive, she was recognised as Businesswoman of the Year at Music Week’s Women in Music Awards in 2017 in addition to being named as one of US Publication Billboard’s Women in Music Awards Power Players. In the same year, she became a board member at Trinity Laban. As Co-Chair of the Classic BRIT Awards, she led the award show to be nominated for a BAFTA for the first time in its history in 2021.

Reflecting on her time at Trinity Laban, Rebecca stated: “I look back at the years I spent studying at Trinity as some of the most important and formative years of my life. It was an incredibly fulfilling experience and helped me discover the characteristics about myself that I could then utilise to start a career within music. Being a professional musician wasn’t something I ever wanted to do but fortunately Trinity understood the bigger picture and helped me focus on other incredibly important areas with music and arts management. Their ethos was so refreshing!”.

Acclaimed as one of today’s finest jazz musicians, Julian Joseph OBE has dedicated his career to championing jazz across the UK and worldwide. He has forged a reputation beyond his formidable skills as a composer and performer, and is universally recognised as a highly knowledgeable and engaging broadcaster, musical ambassador, educator, and cultural advocate. Over the past 35 years, Julian has made ground-breaking advances for jazz in the UK. He was the first Black British jazz musician to host a series at London’s Wigmore Hall, and the first to headline a late-night concert at the BBC Proms with his All Star Big Band. As a composer, Julian has written original works for symphony orchestra, big band and chamber ensemble, and received major commissions from the BBC, the Hackney Music Development Trust, the City of London Festival and the London Jazz Festival. His operas and dance works – Bridgetower, Shadowball, The Brown Bomber, Othello21  – have not only brought key moments in Black history into sharp focus, but given children a rare opportunity to perform in and discover both classical and jazz music. Founding his own Jazz Academy in 2013, it stands as the single most important player for TL’s jazz practice and vision, alongside Tomorrow’s Warriors. Joseph has six albums, one single, and one soundtrack to his credit, and his work has been recognised by multiple major cultural organisations. He published his debut jazz book, Music of Initiative, in 2018.

TL’s Vice Chair, Dr Geoffrey Copland CBE, served as Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of Westminster until 2007, following a series of university posts engaged in research, lecturing in physics, and as a senior manager. He has held several positions in prestigious higher education organisations, including Vice-President of Universities UK and Chair of its England and Northern Ireland Council, as well as Chair of the Universities and Colleges Employers Association. Geoffrey has been a TL governor since 2008, becoming Vice-Chair in 2013, and Chair since September 2019. He has also been a trustee of Trinity College London since 2012, vice-chair from 2016 and chair in 2019-2020. Other notable positions include chairman of Thomas Wall Trust, president of ASET (the Work Based and Placement Learning Association) and a trustee of the Quintin Hogg Trust and Quintin Hogg Memorial Fund. He has a strong interest in helping young people to achieve to their full potential, by overcoming barriers to progression wherever possible. Since retirement, he has undertaken a number of consultancy projects for higher education including some on university governance.

Mirella Bartrip OBE started her distinguished career at Trinity Laban as a lecturer, teaching classical ballet, dance technique theory, and teaching studies. In 1984, she became Programme Leader for the undergraduate dance programme. Over a period of 20 years, she led a series of reviews that refined and shaped the programme into what is recognised internationally as one of the world’s most prestigious dance degrees. As the first Vice Principal (Academic) and then Deputy Director & Dean of Studies, she oversaw the creation and development of a series of flagship Masters programmes, including the UK’s first Masters programme in Dance Science. She was also an important figure in the merger with Trinity College of Music, leading to the formation of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. In 2010, Mirella became Director of Dance at Trinity Laban. Her numerous achievements have included being part of the team that saw Trinity Laban gain its own Taught Degree Awarding Powers, and successfully enter the Research Excellence Framework for the first time. Mirella gained an international reputation as a dance educator, and was regularly invited to judge competitions and assess dance work across the globe. Having passed away in 2021, she leaves a magnificent creative legacy behind her and her posthumous award in honour of her exceptional service to Trinity Laban was received by her husband.

Leo Geyer restores music composed at Auschwitz

Fragments of music scores found at Auschwitz were played for the first time two weeks ago after being restored by Junior Trinity alum, conductor, and tutor Leo Geyer.

On 27 November, Leo Geyer’s organisation Constella Music celebrated its tenth anniversary and relaunch with a special concert at Sadler’s Wells, featuring several new premieres and an exceptional team of performers. The concert included four restored pieces from Geyer’s new opera-ballet, The Orchestras of Auschwitz – a project that pays tribute to musicians murdered in Auschwitz and highlights the music written in concentration camps.

Back in 2015, Leo was commissioned to compose a musical score in memory of British historian and holocaust expert Martin Gilbert, who had died earlier that year. To deepen his understanding of the historian’s work, Leo visited Auschwitz and met with an archivist at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum. It was here that he discovered remnants of musical scores arranged and played by orchestras at the camp: 210 pieces of varying completion – original compositions, arrangements, printed music.

“The music had been mostly destroyed so what remains is almost like a broken jigsaw puzzle, except there are several and they are all mixed in together,” said Leo when discussing the subject with CNN. Returning multiple times to Auschwitz, Leo Geyer also carried out extensive research into testimonies from the camp and its history of music. “There were, at one point, as many as six orchestras at Auschwitz and they were all very much sanctioned by the SS and in some cases commissioned by the SS,” Leo explained – often the instrument combinations were small and unconventional. For years, the women’s orchestra of Birkenau had no cellist until Anita Lasker-Wallfisch arrived – a survivor of the holocaust who still lives in Britain today. Her grandson, Simon Wallfisch, a baritone, took part in Constella’s performance.

In an online interview with the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Lasker-Wallfisch recalled: “That I survived nearly one year in Auschwitz is without any doubt due to the fact that I became a member of the camp orchestra. As long as the Germans wanted an orchestra, it would have been counter-productive to kill us. Our task consisted of playing every morning and every evening at the gate of the camp so that the outgoing and incoming work commandos would march neatly in step to the marches we played. We also had to be available at all times to play to individual SS staff who would come into our block and wanted to hear some music after sending thousands of people to their death.”

The orchestras sometimes played in private or for prisoners in secret, and rebelled in musical cryptograms, sending messages through music. Leo cites the weaving of the Polish national anthem into marching music as a good example of this. Having gone unnoticed for 80 years, the scores are now being brought back by Leo’s historic project – an important homage to the victims of Auschwitz.

The Orchestras of Auschwitz Research & Development week is taking place at the Laban Studio from Monday 11 – Friday 15 December, and will involve nine students from the TL Music faculty and four from the TL Dance faculty. Reflecting on his time at Trinity Laban, Leo says: “I attended Junior Trinity as a student many moons again, and this was when I first collaborated with dance. It was a lifechanging experience and in addition to teaching [composition and musicianship] at Junior Trinity, I have continued to work in dance ever since, securing my first job as a conductor with The Royal Ballet. It is therefore most fitting to be developing my most significant dance work with Trinity Laban.”

A composer, conductor, presenter, founder and artistic director, Leo Geyer holds a diverse career spanning across opera, dance, film, and concert music. He has established a reputation for his reimaginings, which creatively engage with music of the past, and is currently studying for a doctorate in opera-ballet composition as the Senior Music Scholar at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. His music has been described by The Times as “imaginative and beautifully shaped”, and has received performances by ensembles including the English Chamber Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Rambert Dance Company and Opera North.

The choreographers and LPO composers photographed together as a group.

TL choreographers collaborate with LPO Composers for Debut Sounds 2024

We are thrilled to announce our collaboration with the London Philharmonic Orchestra for Debut Sounds 2024. Eight Trinity Laban choreographers will work closely with the LPO Young Composers this season, mentored by LPO composer-in-residence Tania León. They will create choreography for five brand new pieces by the Young Composers, to be performed at the LPO’s Debut Sounds concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre in June 2024.

On 26 October, TL choreographers joined forces with Tania León and the LPO Young Composers for the first time, launching the start of their creative discussions. One of the five LPO Young Composers is our alum Eliana Echeverry, one of the most versatile composers and arrangers in Colombia, who previously completed an MMus in Composition at Trinity Laban!

Tania set the session in motion by introducing the brief and discussing the collaboration in more detail. Each composer and choreographer split into their teams to discuss and develop their artistic ideas, with different directions being explored: in-depth discussion, online research and drawing to unlock creativity. The groups then reunited – the perfect opportunity to get to know each other better and come together as part of a creative community. The composers and choreographers will continue to meet throughout the season, before their works are performed in June by Trinity Laban dancers, members of the LPO, and musicians from the LPO’s Foyle Future Firsts scheme. Read on to learn more about the brilliant TL choreographers who are taking part in the project…

Dr Irene Fiordilino is a London-based choreographer and researcher. She is the director of the emerging Scirocco Dance Theatre Company and Associate Director of the London International Screen Dance Festival. Irene’s original artistic methodology – Transitory Architecture – sits in the space between choreography and architecture: the intention is to bring the relation between bodies and space to the fore, questioning the aesthetics and the politics of cohabitation. Irene completed her PhD in Creative Practice at Trinity Laban where she occasionally works as a lecturer. Both her papers and choreographic work have been presented at international conferences and festivals in Europe, India, the UAE and the United States.

Sarah do Carmo Santos is Brazilian and relocated to England to pursue her MA in Choreography at Trinity Laban. She graduated with a BA in Dance from the University of Campinas in Brazil, where she trained in ballet, contemporary dance, and Brazilian dances. She is a dancer/choreographer interested in exploring movement through touch and text, combined with practices of mindfulness and body awareness.

Nina Murphy is a creative artist who works in the mediums of movement/dance, choreography, and film. She is currently living and working in London. Preceding her time in London, Nina resided in Helena, Montana as a dance instructor/choreographer at two established dance studios. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance from the University of Wyoming as well as an MFA in Creative Practice from Trinity Laban. Nina has had the honour of working with artists such as Daniel Charon, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Charmaine Hunter, André Megerdichian, and Jesse Obremski. She also had the opportunity to perform as a soloist and ensemble in works choreographed by José Limón and Colin Connor. She has training in ballet, modern (Limón and Graham technique experience), jazz, tap, and vertical dance. Nina’s choreographic experience spans from small black box works and dance films to site-specific and studio recitals. During her time in London, Nina has had the pleasure to dance in several dance films by artists around the world as well as take part in the historic event of The Platinum Jubilee Pageant for the late Queen of England. She also had the honour of presenting her dance film Unapologetically Herself in an art exhibition where she explored the use of the female figure as art.

Yun Cheng is a choreographer based in London. Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Yun began her dance journey in creative dance lessons, and trained in ballet, contemporary and Chinese dance. She studied at Taipei University of the Arts and London Contemporary Dance School with a focus on choreography. Yun explores the delicate connection between human beings and introspection in her choreographic works in collaboration with dancers, musicians, new media artists, and filmmakers. She is currently conducting her PhD research – Nurturing the process: a Feldenkrais-informed choreographic practice at Trinity Laban. Her previous choreographic works include Closer: Five Portraits of Dancers (Dance film) (London, 2020) and The Quake Within (The Place London, 2020), among several others.

Franziska Boehm is a multidisciplinary artist, performer, and lecturer whose work is grounded in embodied awareness and phenomenological research. She believes in artistic expression as a transformational tool for finding language on seemingly inexplicable topics such as grief, loss and love. She holds two degrees (BA, MA) in Music (Flute, Voice, Music Education) from the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, and an MFA in Creative Practice: Dance Professional from Trinity Laban. Currently in her last year of a practice-based PhD at Trinity Laban, she continues to explore the lived experience of the “vocalic self” in performance and practice. As a lecturer, she worked in the field of music and dance at different conservatoires in Germany and the UK, taught as a course presenter in China, and has been involved in artist-in-school programs, developing choreography with children and youth. Performances, exhibitions and workshops include: feel soft at ASC Croydon (collaborative exhibition with Mira Hirtz, London 2023), a revealed study at Resolutions Contemporary Dance Festival (London 2022), and for expressions sake (a performative installation at Laban Theatre, 2022), among several others. As a performer, she works with creatives such as Lizzy Le Quesne, Mira Hirtz, Kate Wilson, and Joachim Hamou. She also has a creative long-term partnership with artist S. Ruth, making work together since 2021.

Sofia Pomeroy is a dancer and choreographer who was born and raised in Madrid, but is half English. After finishing her studies in Psychology, she went on a gap year to New York and this ignited her desire to start a career in dance. Encouraged by her peers, she went to Germany and studied Dance and Pedagogy at Iwanson International School of Contemporary Dance in Munich. During her studies, she focused on Contemporary Dance and developed a strong passion for choreography, taking every opportunity to make a new creation. In her final year at Iwanson, she took part in the festival Hier=Jetzt with her choreography Stuck/unstuck. Immediately after her graduation, Sofia received state funding to create a dance performance of her own and in the following month, she premiered a two-day performance called Suit-cased at PLATFORM gallery in Munich. The day after the performance, she flew to London and started an MA in Choreography at Trinity Laban.

In my practice, I research questions related to social matters and I am intrigued about all topics related to psychology. I enjoy including floorwork and partnering in my choreographic practice as tools to communicate the message of the work.

Valentina Vidal Streitwieser is a London-based dancer and choreographer from Uruguay. She has trained extensively in ballet and contemporary dance, and has acquired a Bachelor (Hons.) in Dance Studies from the University of Malta. During her early training years, Valentina had the opportunity to work with several renowned ballet masters in Uruguay, and to attend intensive courses at the Cia de Ballet do Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and the University of North Carolina School of The Arts (United States).  As an undergraduate student in Malta, Valentina performed in works by local and international choreographers, spent a semester on an Erasmus+ program at Middlesex University in the UK, and performed with Maltese companies and festivals, including the Malta International Arts Festival and the APS Summer Festival. In the last two years, Valentina’s choreographic work has been performed in events in Uruguay and Malta, and she has developed a teaching practice that combines technical training with creative improvisation tools. Valentina relocated to London in September 2022 to study at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, supported by the Arts Scholarship of the Leverhulme Trust and the Janatha Stubbs Foundation.  During her postgraduate studies Valentina enjoyed immersing herself in the diverse London dance scene, participating in as many professional classes, workshops, and performances as she could fit in her schedule. During this time she has also created four new works researching the possibilities if interpreting poetry in movement for her Masters project titled Dance Ekphrasis as Intersemiotic Translation. Valentina’s choreographic practice is grounded on a highly physical contemporary language that oscillates between balletic lines, floor work, and intricate gestural movement. Her interest in literature is reflected in the intermedia collaborations and theatrical aspects of her work, something that she wishes to push further in her future artistic explorations.

James Adamson is a graduate from Brigham Young University with a BFA in dance and is currently studying for his MFA in choreography at Trinity Laban. He has performed with and choreographed for Open Arms Dance Company and Atlas Dance Collective, among others. He has presented works at Red Rock Dance Festival, Boise State University Dance Intensive and American Collegiate Dance Association Conference. Currently dancing in London, James has worked with choreographers such as Gary Lambert, Zoi Dimitriou, and Vanio Papadelli. Originally from Idaho, he has been awarded the Leverhulme scholarship, Fulbright grant for experiential, and BYU’s Chorographic Excellence scholarship. James specializes in contemporary movement and somatic practices exploring the physical dimensions of emotions and how they can be used in the chorographic processes.

Carolyn Bolton is pictured in black and white. She is wearing a black turtleneck, the neck of which she is pulling up to her chin.

Carolyn Bolton appointed Creative Director of ENBYouthCo

Second year MFA in Dance Leadership and Community Practice student, Carolyn Bolton, has been appointed Creative Director of ENBYouthCo.

Born in Columbia, South Carolina, Carolyn Bolton began her pre-professional training at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities before completing her Bachelor of Arts in Dance Performance and Choreography at the University of South Carolina. She received a full scholarship to the Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance in New York and trained with Béjart Ballet Lausanne before joining Ballet Rambert in 2013. She has since had the pleasure of working with Julie Cunningham and Company and L’Opera National du Rhin and has been featured in film and television work with Marvel Studios, Apple TV, and HBO Max.

Carolyn has presented two site-specific solo works for the Operaestate Festival in Bassano Del Grappa, Italy and has been an Artist-in-Residence for both the Operaestate Festival and for The Place’s Choreodrome in London. Her choreography has been performed nationally and internationally, most notably at Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, National Theatre’s River Stage, Rich Mix, Rambert’s In The Making, The Place’s Resolution, The Lowry, South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities and Youth America Grand Prix.

Carolyn has worked with the Centre for Advanced Training at Trinity Laban since 2019. In 2022, she was nominated for a Black British Theatre Award in the Achievement Category for Best Teacher. Carolyn has been invited as an academic tutor, guest instructor and lecturer in both ballet and contemporary styles for numerous schools including London Contemporary Dance School, Trinity Laban, Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, Mountview, Shockout Arts, The Dang and Bird College.

In 2023, Carolyn was one of nine artists/companies selected by The Place for their commissioned community projects. The proposed intergenerational work Seeking the Unseen explored the body as an archive and received excellent reception from those involved in the process. She is proud to be working with the Royal Opera House on both the Chance to Dance and Create and Dance programmes.

More about ENBYouthCo

Launched in 2012, English National ballet’s youth dance company ENBYouthCo promotes personal creativity, commitment and innovation and offers young talented artists aged 14 – 19 an opportunity to fulfil their potential and progress their dance journey.

ENBYouthCo focuses on both ballet and contemporary dance technique, reflecting the varied and diverse styles seen in English National Ballet’s repertoire. The programme offers high profile performance and creative development opportunities, including a main stage performance in London during the Company’s season, and access to a wide range of professional artists, international choreographers and creatives.