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Guide to CoLab 2019

Mon 11 February 2019

Trinity Laban’s annual two-week cross-faculty festival is back for 11 – 22 February 2019.

Over 900 students, staff and visiting artists will join forces for CoLab 2019 to create, develop and rehearse 85 diverse projects in response to the theme of ‘journeys’.

Renowned for its spirit of experimentation and collaboration, CoLab encompasses numerous styles, formats and settings. This year, several projects focus on challenging or augmenting the traditional audience experience through technology, immersion and improvisation.

Dutch jazz piano trio Tin Men and the Telephone is in residence for the first week of CoLab, bringing a cutting-edge, social media-driven aesthetic. Expect a unique experience as virtuosic jazz meets the smartphone.

Through dance, soundscapes and live music, outdoor project Mudlark responds to and connects with the local environment of Deptford Creek, creating a vibrant gift for audiences and passers-by alike.

Inspired by tropes of mass political demonstrations, seven musicians and seven dancers unite to create semi-improvised, politically-engaged protest pieces with members of the general public at Tate Modern for Protest Choir. The project is part of the Tate Exchange programme, which connects students with people in the wider community.

Continuing a rebellious theme, unconventional project The Pretty Vacant Orchestra takes audiences on a journey to gritty 1970s London for a medley of punk anthems arranged for full orchestra, challenging conventions of how and what classical instruments should play.

Ever evolving, CoLab 2019 also sees the inaugural CoLab Proms at the newly renovated Blackheath Halls, celebrating movement, music and creativity.

Other highlights of this year’s collaborative festival include biographical projects. As this year marks the bicentenary of Romantic poet John Keats, CoLab 2019 welcomes acclaimed poet Andrew Mitchell for Written in Water. Alongside Director of Dance Sara Matthews and composer Deirdre Gribbin, Mitchell guides students in reimagining Keats’ life and death through song, dance, gesture and spoken word. Taking over local Deptford pub The Duke, Byron Wallen and Gene Calderazzo lead musicians in Pharoah’s Impulse!, a project centred on American jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. As part of Trinity Laban’s year-long initiative Venus Blazing, North-East Hauntings: The Music of Janet Graham brings attention to the work of this hitherto neglected English composer in a first ever ‘portrait concert’.

Now in its eighth year, CoLab’s unique approach to learning and teaching has attracted international attention and acclaim. For 2019, we look forward to welcoming students and leading educators from international institutions across the globe who will be participating in CoLab projects alongside Trinity Laban.

For the Chamber Twist project The Polish Connection, violin professor Diana Cummings offers an intensive immersion in the world of twentieth-century Polish composer Lutosławski as musicians explore both conventional and more experimental techniques to curate material.

The Brexchange Ensemble returns to bring students from across Europe to live, play and work together. Led by Dave Morecroft, founder of the Match&Fuse Festival, participants draw on personal, cultural and physical experiences to challenge assumptions, clichés and expectation.

Taiwan Journeys marks the third CoLab project in Trinity Laban’s ongoing collaborative partnership with National Taiwan University of Arts. It sees visiting students work with Trinity Laban for an intercultural exploration. The resulting piece will be taken to Taiwan in Autumn 2019.

In the spirit of exchange, we are once again taking CoLab beyond South East London as Trinity Laban brass quintet Meshd Brass travels to Denmark to play and perform in the Aarhus Royal Academy of Music.

Head of CoLab Joe Townsend commented –

“CoLab is about creativity, imagination and hard work. It provides an opportunity to explore creating and performing in many different ways as both an individual and shared experience. Through initiatives like CoLab, Trinity Laban is driving a revolution in learning and performance that is being noticed around the world.”

The institutional-wide interdisciplinary event of exchange and discovery kicks off today, Monday 11 February.

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


(Image credit: JK Photography)

North-East Hauntings: The Music of Janet Graham St Alfege |Thurs 14 Feb |13.05-14.00h

The Polish Connection KCC Mini Fest | Fri 15 Feb | 13.00-17.00h

Written in Water KCC Mini Fest | Fri 15 Feb | 13.00-17.00h

Pharoah’s Impulse The Duke, Deptford |Fri 15 Feb 22.00h – late

Mudlark Open Space @ Creekside | Fri 15 Feb | 19.15-21.30h

The Brexchange Ensemble Open Space @ Creekside | Fri 15 Feb | 19.15-21.30h

Protest Choir Tate Modern | Thurs 21 & Fri 22 Feb | 14.30-15.00h & 17.00-17.30h / 15.15-15.45h

Taiwan Journeys Blackheath Halls| Fri 22 Feb | 19.30-22.30h

The Pretty Vacant Orchestra Blackheath Halls| Fri 22 Feb | 19.30-22.30h