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TL 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 the Conservatoire, 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 £3,000 to use on development, and will benefit from a specially tailored mentorship programme.


Meet the 2020 Recipients…

Gabriel Askew

Gabriel Askew

Performer and arranger Gabriel  is  from a brass playing family and has experience playing trumpet in a variety of settings and genres from jazz bands to orchestras. During his first year at Trinity Laban he and four friends formed Big Smoke Brass UK and over the last three years they have worked on a host of exciting and innovative projects.  

 Gabriel aims to expand his work with Big Smoke Brass UK by creating a series of professionally produced online music videos. These cross-discipline videos will be made in collaboration with different artists including dancers and choreographers. The new content will elevate the ensemble’s brand profile and help Big Smoke Brass UK reach new audiences. 

“Being at this conservatoire has involved a whole lot more for me than simply attaining a high level of skill on my instrument. Trinity Laban has allowed me to nurture my multiple interests and I am delighted to be receiving this support for my latest project.” 

Hayley Huggett innovation award

Hayley Huggett

Musical Theatre student Hayley has a passion for working with children. During her second year at Trinity Laban she organised a Cabaret Musical Theatre concert and ran the London Marathon, raising £2600 for Make A Wish UK. 

She has written interactive musical  Dotty’s Dilemma  with fellow student James  Dodd,  a show  specifically designed to  accommodate  Special Educational Needs  and be performed in non-traditional settings such as children’s  hospices.  Based on a short-story Hayley wrote when she was seven, the show is about discovering self-worth and celebrating individuality.  

“I applied for the Innovation Award  because  I  want  to  bring theatre to children who may not normally get access to it. The Award means I can turn something I have been working on for years into a reality.  I am so grateful to have been provided with the opportunity and am so excited to develop my show.” 

ben leigh grosart

ben leigh grosart  

During his undergraduate degree studies, musician Ben has built a portfolio of skills in composing, performing, producing, improvising, arranging, audio engineering, and videography. His most recent achievements include being a Trinity Laban Gold Medal finalist, performing in and producing a selection of  large-scale  pieces with National Youth Choir of  Great  Britain, and  having his videography featured by Classic FM.  

Relying exclusively on walking, running and cycling, ben will travel from the northernmost point of  England  to the southernmost to record collaborative album root. This unifying project will bring together different artists from a wide range of places and backgrounds to reflect the current sound and feel of England. By undertaking the journey by human-powered means, ben will also be advocating for sustainability and healthy living. 

“this award is enabling me to undertake a project  i’ve  been planning for close to five years. it’s an amazing feeling to be supported by a scheme such as this and to be given so much freedom to pursue my artistic vision. 

Jess Price innovation award

Jess Price 

Double bassist Jess Price  enjoys combining  her love of orchestral  playing  with alternative projects such as  playing the string parts for hard rock bands.  Alongside her classical music  training,  Jess  is a circus artist who has performed  fire breathing at the UK’s biggest metal festivals as part of pyrotechnic performance group Black Magma.  Outside of music, Jess focuses on  fitness and para-powerlifting which has helped  her  over come  the challenges of  her  chronic  illness Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.  

Eruptionis an  event  series  that will feature  alternative performers with classical backgrounds  and widen listening horizons.  Drawing on classical  practises and themes to produce new music and dance work,  the series  will be a  platform  to showcase the benefits of classical training within  non-traditional  contexts. 

“I am extremely excited to have been selected for the Innovation award as it means I can provide a creative space for a fusion of alternative and classical music with  performance, as well as kickstarting my dream career of running an events and promotions company.” 

Laura Rønning Engholm innovation award

Laura Rønning Engholm  

Danish dance artist and emerging choreographer Laura has worked with Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company and premiered her debut work at  Zhichri  Theatre in Israel. Moving to England three years ago  and experiencing  the over whelming number of homeless people and the extent of their exclusion, she became motivated to start an inclusive dance practice that could  empower these people and articulate their stories. 

The  Homeground  Project  aims to challenge social barriers and provide opportunities for inclusivity, helping homeless participants and their local communities build connections and understanding. By introducing dance and movement as a means of communication, the project will give voice to people who are not often given the chance to express their emotions and stories. 

“I feel extremely proud and honoured that Trinity Laban is trusting the value of my work and artistic vision. The  support from the  Innovation  Award will enable me to share my dance practice with those who are particularly challenged in these critical times.” 

Hannah Wallace innovation award

Hannah Wallace  

During her training at Trinity Laban, contemporary dance artist Hannah has worked with choreographers including Tara  D’Arquian, performed repertoire by Merce Cunningham, and presented her own work  Fruit Speaks of Other Longings  at Laban Theatre.  A highlight of her training was going on an Erasmus exchange to Valencia, Spain in her second year.   

In partnership with the London  Wildlife  Trust, Groundmarks  will be a series of performances and events that consider our relationship with nature spaces in urban environments and explore issues around climate change. This an opportunity for people who might not normally connect with nature to come together and celebrate its importance. 

“I  am grateful to have this  financial support as well as excellent mentorship  that will help me to develop new  work and  contribute to the wider discussion surrounding climate change through the medium of dance.” 

Meet the mentors…

The mentors for 2020 are:

Innovation Award 2019

Catch up with the 2019 recipients