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October Alumni Roundup

Mon 2 November 2020

Our roundup of some of the news, projects and achievements of Trinity Laban alumni this month.

October saw the celebration of Black History Month. Tomorrow’s Warriors celebrated with the premiere of new commissions created for the Soon Come Ensemble by alumni Camilla George and Cherise Adams Burnett. The evening featured work by alum Femi Koleoso, and Mark Kavuma at Camden’s Jazz Café. Tower Hamlets Black History Month Photo-Open Exhibition displayed photos featuring dance artist and alum Sweets or Sour Tonny A.

Alumni have been recognised for a range of stellar awards and achievements across many creative disciplines this October. Charlotte Pook was appointed the new Rehearsal Director for National Dance Company Wales. Check out the playlist she has put together for NDC Wales on Spotify.

Mercury-nominated drummer Moses Boyd (Innovation Award), Tromponist and composer Rosie Turton (Breakthrough Act of the Year), Composer and Saxopohonist Cassie Kinoshi’s SEED Ensemble (PRS For Music UK Jazz Act of The Year and Album of the Year, for Driftglass), Trumpeter Mark Kavuma (Instrumentalist of the Year), and Keyboardist, composer and arranger Joe Armon-Jones (PRS For Music UK Jazz Act of the Year) were all nominated at this year’s Jazz FM Awards.

Sir Matthew Bourne broke records winning his 9th Olivier Award in October, becoming the individual with the most awards following a win for “Best Theatre Choreographer” for Mary Poppins – The Musical (which he shares with Co-Choreographer, Stephen Mear).

TL Honorary Fellow, Choreographer and Artistic Director Siobhan Davies received a Damehood in this year’s Queens’ Birthday Honours. Also recognised was Paul Philbert (Principal Timpani of Royal Scottish National Orchestra) who received an MBE for his services to music in recognition of his international performance career and dedicated interest in inclusive music education.

Alumni have continued to create and perform in a rich variety of projects, festivals and collaborations both online and in person across the UK and abroad. Cellist Stjepan Hauser performed a stunning version of Hans Zimmer’s ’Now We Are Free’ from Gladiator, surrounded by equally stunning scenery, while Bastard Assignments premiered Browsing, Idling, Investigating, Dreaming was streamed live for the Artistic Research Autumn Forum 2020, presented by DIKU, and Francesco Rocco dedicated an arrangement of Pat Matheny’s ‘Letter From Home’ to those unable to be with loved ones in the past months.

Following the release of her critically-acclaimed album SOURCE, Nubya Garcia performed at the Barbican. The composer and saxophonist shares insights into her life as a musician, including inspirations, bandmates and new album in a behind-the-scenes documentary.

Shelly Maxwell, who was nominated for the Best Choreography Award at the Black British Theatre Awards again this year, joined a virtual panel for a discussion exploring issues and experiences of parenthood and womanhood within the dance and creative industry as part of East London Dance’s Mesa Festival. Alumni Kim Chi Le, Hattie Harding, Alison Thomas, Tillie Ridge and Kajsa Sundström were all involved in producing this interactive multi-arts festival.

Musical Theatre alum Elliot Coombe joined the cast of Agatha Christie’s ‘The Mousetrap’ as understudy Christopher Wren. The landmark production reopened on 23 October at St Martin’s theatre.

Tommy Cattin’s EREM dance presented their first original performance ‘SOIR HB’ in Delémont, Switzerland at the Forum Saint-Georges on 30 October. An exploration self-discovery and the emotional and physical imprints left on us by Beauty, the short piece was part of the Tanzfaktor 2020 concert co-hosted by the CCRD and Reso – Réseau Danse Suisse.

Joumana Mourad and her company IJAD Dance Company  launched Open Online Theatre, a specialist platform and training programme to support performing artists to bring their work into the digital space and build sustainable careers. Find out more.

Alumni Associate Artist Theo TJ Lowe featured alongside the likes of Danny Boyle and Misty Copeland in The Silent Burn Project, a three-hour collection of films and interviews created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Akram Khan’s dance company. Read Lyndsey Winship’s review for the Guardian.

The Siobhan Davies Next Choreography Festival was led by choreographer and alum Alexandrina Hemsley and featured work from Renée Bellamy and Alison Thomas for Siobhan Davies Dance Explore Flesh and Frame created by alum Alison Thomas in collaboration with Zoe Tankard.

Suzannah Dessau and Erin McNulty co-directed, choreographed and performed in their first collaboration Floodstream. Exploring the toxicity of giving and taking beyond the limits of equilibrium, the dance film premiered last month at the Shawna Shea Film Festival and featured original music by Boston-based experimental violinist Josh Knowles. Watch in full.

October saw a section of new releases from alumni: James Layton released his stunning new album ‘Into the Ocean’ a collection of experimental works for solo viola by emerging British and American composers; Panayotis Archontides released Elements of London, a new album featuring piano duets by contemporary classical composers Hugh Shrapnel and John E. Lewis, and Stelios Kyriakidis wrote and performed Optica, a new collection of solo guitar works. Listen to ‘Prelude in D’.

Several alumni featured in the press this month. Oscar Jerome spoke to Clash Magazine about his career and the release of his long overdue debut album, Moses Boyd was featured on Mr Porter, and double bass tutor Leon Bosch’s opinion piece about masterclasses featured in October’s issue of The Strad.

Alum Heather Main spoke to  The Spectator about how, following a successful singing career, she now trains race horses and regularly sings to them: ‘Well, the lazy ones do tend to get a bit of Rossini. A little coloratura helps.’

Joseph Housel explores the history of dance in Mongolia from folk dance, to ballet and Buddhist ritual dance. Read the article. Alum Elly Braund appear in stunning images of Richard Alston’s dance company in a recent Guardian article. John Savournin returned to the stage at Alexandra Palace in ENO’s La bohème, the first drive-in opera production in Europe. Read The Stage article to find out more.

Phil Meadows talked to Jazzwise about Musicians’ Movement: “a UK-based organisation here to discuss, plan, and implement vital change within our industry’s infrastructure”. Recently they published an open letter to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport demanding urgent action to support the arts and freelance musicians.

October saw several alumni involved in new education initiatives. Dance alum Joseph Houseal’s organisation Core of Culture hosted a new four-part lecture series on ‘Mudra and the Diamond Spheres’, the organisation’s four-year initiative assisting the preservation of Buddhist ritual heritage in dance and movement. Piano alum Geénia released an online tutorial course for students: ’Transform Your Practice: A Complete 11 Stage Guide’. Christopher Russell released Notes on the Piano. A distillation of many years of teaching the piano, the book is now available to buy as an e-book or paperback.  Ear Opener’s new series of videos on composition from top industry professionals, including the Mercury-nominated Cassie Kinoshi, demonstrate how to arrange music, write to a brief and create balance.

The TL community is deeply saddened by the passing of Dave Toole OBE, a founding member of Candoco Dance Company, who sadly passed away aged 56 on Friday 16 October 2020. Our thoughts are with his family.


  • Studio Will Dutta’s immersive Autumn/Winter 2020 programme celebrates the connectivity of digital whilst maintaining the power and intimacy of live performance and is being broadcast from their new home in East Kent. More info.
  • Multiple alumni are taking part in the EFG London Jazz Festival including Daniel Casimir, Laura Jurd‘s Dinosaur, Cassie Kinoshi‘s SEED Ensemble, Ayanna Witter-Johnson, Emma-Jean Thackray, Rosie Turton, Samuel Eagles, Moses Boyd, KOKOROKO, Nubya Garcia and Ezra Collective.Book now.
  • Online festival series London Sound Gallery curated by The Gesualdo Six is designed to raise money for artists, helping to recover some of their COVID-19 losses. It highlights some of the UK’s finest young talent including Helen Charlston, Fieri Consort (Hannah Ely) and The Hermes Experiment (Heloise Werner). Get tickets.
  • Join composer Adam Saunders in conversation with musical facilitator James Moriarty and singer Natasha Lohan in the Press Play Webinar Series on Nov 18 to find out more about community music leading. Tickets at £5 per webinar, with concessions for TL alumni. Current students and 2020 graduates go free. Get tickets.
  • Catch Ayanna Witter-Johnson and Camilla George performing at The Jazz Café on 17 November and 19 November