The Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban Partnership project, Compass Commissions, ran from 2012 to 2018.
This strand saw 15 new productions through from concept to premiere, focusing on the creation of new works for a range of audiences.
The programme enabled innovative concepts to thrive by offering a unique set of resources: cash funds, extensive creation space, advice and production development support. Performances from the artists welcomed new and existing audiences and raised the standards of productions available for national and international touring.
The Commissions were supported by a minimum of £3,000 commission fee, rehearsal facilities at Greenwich Dance or Trinity Laban, including production time and technical support. As well as sharing and performance opportunities.
Read about the Compass Commissions:
Robert Clark: MASS
Premiere: March 2018, Building 17, Woolwich Arsenal
This immersive production featured a cast of professional dancers and participatory performers from the local community. It premiered at Building 17 in Woolwich Arsenal over two nights in March 2018. Shortly afterwards, Robert worked with CandoCo Dance Company towards developing a fully inclusive version of the work, and a bespoke version of the work sold out to audiences at Zagreb Dance Centre in November 2018. The original version will tour the UK going forward, to settings including conventional theatre spaces, Universities, festivals and arts centres. Robert will also be remaking MASS for inclusion in an international psychological study into Belief and Religious experiences that will take place in Winter 2018 in conjunction with Coventry University and Oxford Magdalen.
Rachael Young: NIGHTCLUBBING
Premiere: May 2018, Camden People's Theatre
Rachael’s critically acclaimed Compass Commission NIGHTCLUBBING was premiered at The Lowry and Camden People’s Theatre in May 2018, before touring to to many venues around the UK. Support from the Partnership had enabled Rachael to develop the work with a team of collaborators across art forms and disciplines before its premiere. Further legacy support enabled her to further explore elements of scale and design in a residency at New Art Exchange, Nottingham in November 2018 and to test models of engagement work throughout 2019.
Charlotte Spencer: Is This a Waste Land?
Premiere: October 2017, Dance Umbrella
Partnership support gave Charlotte the opportunity to 'test' her interactive commission with an audience that were bussed to Corby for the day, before the worked premiered in 2017. The work was presented in Glasgow and Corby before its London premiere as part of the Dance Umbrella festival 2017. In conjunction with partners South East Dance, The Partnership subsidised tickets for residents local to the wasteland it inhabited in Royal Docks, East London.
Julie Cunningham: Crave
Premiere: May 2018, Barbican Pit
Julie worked with a cast of 4 dancers and 4 actors across 4 weeks at the Laurie Grove Performance Lab to develop Crave, a dance and spoken word adaption of Sarah Kane’s controversial 1998 play. The work's premiere sold out across 3 nights at Barbican theatre. Julie has continued her relationship with Laban Theatre, presenting To Be Me, a double bill of her work, in November 2018.
At the time of her commission, Julie was the first Leverhulme Choreography Fellow at Rambert, an Associate Company of Rambert, a New Wave Associate at Sadler’s Wells and Associate Artist at DanceEast. In 2018 Julie was one of three New Wave artists for Sadler’s Wells, creating and presenting m/y for the main stage celebrations of its 20th anniversary celebration, Reckonings in November 2018. It is hoped that Crave will be presented on the Laban Theatre stage in 2019/20.
Laura Dannequin & Stephanie McMann: What We Whispered and What We Screamed
What We Whispered and What We Screamed is a joint work created by established makers, practitioners and performers Laura and Steph. Working closely with drummer Rachel Horwood, the pair embarked on a series of residencies across Autumn 2016 & Spring 2017 at The Point, Dance 4 and lastly Trinity Centre, where they shared ideas and material with invited guests in March 2017. The Commission was put on pause for a period of maternity leave and it is anticipated that it will premiere in 2019.
“Being offered a Compass Commission has given me greater confidence in myself, and is very much part of my wider journey towards working as an independent choreographer.”
- Laura Dannequin
Botis Seva: Woman of Sun
Premiere: November 2016, Laban Theatre
Botis and his company, Far from the Norm, worked at Laurie Grove Performance Lab in New Cross over a period of six weeks in 2016. The premiere of his commissioned work Woman of Sun took place over two nights at Laban Theatre in November 2016.
Since then, Botis has presented work at the two largest European choreographic competitions: Choreography 30 in Hannover, Germany and Copenhagen’s International Choreographic Competition, winning the 1st place in both cases. In 2017 he created Tutumucky for Scottish Dance Theatre and In 2018 Botis was one of three New Wave artists with Sadlers Wells, creating BLKDOG for the theatre’s 20th anniversary performance Reckonings. BLKDOG later earned him ‘Best New Dance Production’ at the 2019 Olivier Awards.
In 2018 Botis collaborated with Director Billy Boyd to create a short film that explored themes of love, abandonment and fatherhood. The film premiered on Channel 4 as part of its Random Acts season in November 2018. In 2019 Botis was appointed Guest Artistic Director of National Youth Dance Company.
Stephanie Schober: Tracing Gestures
Premiere: February 2017, Greenwich Dance
Stephanie presented her site-sensitive, gallery-style commission Tracing Gestures at the Borough Hall, Greenwich, in February 2017. Performers Richard Court, Stephen Moynihan and Aaron Markwell used a range of visual media to trace movements, with the intention of bringing the audience closer to the intimate negotiations and to the imagery created alongside. The work allowed for new collaborations with visual artist Juan Guerra, lighting designer Jackie Shemesh, and experimentation with audience interaction.
More recently, Stephanie has been working on a new development of Tracing Gestures, presenting a work in progress sharing at small festival curated by Gary Lambert Andernach/ Burg Namedy in Germany in November 2018. Plans for the further development of the work will evolve throughout 2019.
Tom Roden & Anna Williams: The Buildy-Uppy Dance Show
Premiere April 2017, Greenwich Dance
Tom and Anna (Anatomical) created this unique dance and storytelling event for families as a sequel to their incredibly successful Doodle Dance Show in 2016/17, using the Borough Hall to develop and test the work with small groups of children and to work with a dramaturg and hundreds of cardboard boxes! The Buildy-Uppy Dance Show was previewed in April 2017 at Greenwich Dance and went on to tour widely, to venues including The Lowry, Pavilion Dance South West, Gulbenkian Theatre, Attenborough Arts Centre and The Victoria and Albert Museum.
Dan Daw: BEAST
Premiere: November 2015, Greenwich Dance
Dan developed his solo work BEAST to explore the intersection of 'normal' and 'abnormal' through the lens of his ‘otherness'. Working with innovative choreographer Martin Forsberg, designer Jenny Nordberg and lighting designer Guy Hoare, and inspired by the confronting images of photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, disabled performer Dan created an intimate and hyper-theatrical spectacle that was previewed in Malmo, Sweden and at Brighton Dome before premiering over two nights in November 2016 at the Borough Halls. The work was presented at the Sydney Fringe Festival in January 2017 and in Berlin in 2018.
Sarah Dowling & Kath Duggan: Us then
Premiere: November 2015, Laban Theatre
Sarah Dowling and Kath Duggan, who met creating with Punchdrunk, joined forces for the first time to create and perform Compass Commission Us Then in 2015. The two artists came together with a common desire to combine theatrical realism with the more poetic and visceral stuff of dance and Us Then took inspiration from Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot. Beckett, when asked what his play was about, said 'It's all symbiosis.' Us Then took this idea of symbiosis and the landscape of Godot to spark the creation of a new dance theatre work.
Tara D’Arquian: In Situ
Premiere: September 2013, Asylum Chapel
Of her original commission in 2013, Tara says: “The piece I made through Compass Commission was the first professional work of my career. It was a big challenge and I had to learn everything on the spot. I had to “wing it” as you say. From bringing a collaborative team together, to designing the piece and all the production aspect of it all. It couldn’t have been a more benevolent environment to learn these skills. It allowed me to be bold and challenge myself and my collaborators. One of the best processes ever.”
Tara’s Compass Commission was the beginning of a sustained relationship with both Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban, who independently commissioned the second and third parts of her trilogy. In Situ; Quests, a site-specific performance designed for the Borough Hall was presented at Greenwich Dance in November 2016 and Bad Faith premiered at Laban Theatre in March 18, returning in Autumn 18.
Robin Dingemans & Nick Bryson: The Point at Which It Last Made Sense
Premiere: March 2014, Laban Theatre
Robin and Nick developed their work at the Laban Building, Creekside and Laurie Grove Performance Lab over the course of five weeks, following an R&D residency in Ireland. The work was devised in conjunction with dancers Rosa Vreeling and James O’Shea, a paralympian with no legs. It premiered at Laban Theatre in March 2014 and was presented at Sadler’s Wells Lilian Baylis Theatre in October 2015.
Premiere: April 2014, Greenwich Dance
One of the first tranche of Compass Commission artists, Mimbre are a London based, female-led company specialising in the creation of acrobatic theatre. The company developed Bench throughout 2013 and 2014, premiering it as part of the Partnership’s Crossing the Creek event in Spring ’14, a family-oriented dance weekend that featured a host of performances, activities and workshops for all ages across The Borough Hall, Greenwich and Laban Building, Deptford. The work went on to tour widely to festivals and platforms across Europe over the course of the next three years.
Compass Commissions Gallery
- 1 - Dan Daw: BEAST (image Prudence Upton)
- 2 - Robin Dingemans & Nick Bryson: The Point at Which It Last Made Sense
- 3 - Charlotte Spencer: Is This Waste Land? (image Pari Naderi)
- 4 - Rachael Young: NIGHTCLUBBING (image Marcus Hessenberg)
- 5 - Tara D’Arquian: In Situ (image Chris Nash)