Trinity Laban Top 12 of 2019

It’s that time of year again where we look back at all the amazing memories from the last 12 months. From conversations with Steve Reich to launching a brand-new programme, 2019 certainly didn’t disappoint. Here are just a few of the highlights.

1. We learnt a thing or two from Steve Reich

October was an exciting time for new music at Trinity Laban as prolific minimalist composer Steve Reich visited us at our Faculty of Music to receive an Honorary Fellowship and take part in a Q&A with our students and staff where he shared unique insight and advice:

“Write something so moving and magnetic they want to hear it. Music should absolutely rivet you so you’re just in it – if not the composer or performer has failed you.”

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The celebratory event opened with a performance of Reich’s iconic work Electric Counterpoint arranged for electric viola by our Head of Strings Nic Pendlebury.

2. We hosted the first ever London International Screen Dance Festival

Curated by Reader in Choreography at Trinity Laban Charles Linehan, and screened at the Laban Theatre, the inaugural London International Screen Dance Festival featured 24 films from 5 continents, including 5 world premieres.

The event was a celebration of the inventive and experimental integration of movement, choreography and the moving image on screen.

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3. Harp student Noelia Cotuna joined the Berliner Philharmoniker Karajan Academy

Harp student Noelia Cotuna not only won the Trinity Laban Soloists’ Competition 2019, but was also selected for the prestigious Karajan Academy, a young artist development programme giving her the incredible opportunity to play with the world-famous Berliner Philharmoiker.

4. We launched a brand-new dance science programme

In September we welcomed our flagship undergraduate cohort to our bespoke Dance Science Lab. The new BSc dance science programme, based at our Faculty of Dance, builds on our reputation as a world leader in dance science.

“I chose Trinity Laban [for dance science] because I really liked how they connect with not only the other dance science students on the masters, but also the other dance students within the school” – Rachel, First-year BSc Dance Science Student


Hear more from the students about why they chose to study on the BSc.

5. Our students performed with West End stars

During the summer Musical Theatre students shared the stage with current stars of Broadway and The West End for a spectacular night of show tunes as part of Greenwich Music Time. Students performed alongside stars including Marisha Wallace (WaitressDreamgirls), Rachel John (Hamilton) and winner of ITV All Star Musicals and much-loved Coronation Street star Daniel Brocklebank.

Our students also joined Ramin Karimloo and Celinde Schoenmaker for the debut UK concert performances of Dr Zhivago at Cadogan Hall (Lambert Jackson Productions). They received rave reviews from critics and were invited to join Ramin again this spring for the upcoming production of The Secret Garden at The London Palladium.

MT students at Greenwich Music Time

6. We travelled to Hong Kong for the British Council’s festival SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity

Ahead of CoLab 2019 – Trinity Laban’s annual festival of collaboration – Head of CoLab Joe Townsend and Director of Dance Sara Matthews travelled to Hong Kong for British Council’s festival SPARK: The Science and Art of Creativity.

Working at the cross-over of art and science, the Trinity Laban mentors collaborated with dance and music students from the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts to create CoLab Journeys, a 17-minute semi-improvised, immersive performance that combined original movement and sound.

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7. We launched an award that champions creative innovation

In 2019 we created the Trinity Laban Innovation Award to provide a unique opportunity for final-year undergraduates to access professional development support.

It forms part of our aim to help emerging artists find their voice and innovate in the cultural industries, one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK economy.

This year, the diverse and innovative proposals spanned female artistic expression, boundary-pushing genre development, and the power of the arts for positive change in the community.

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Find out more about this year’s recipients.

8. We continued our unprecedented commitment to programming work by women composers

2019 was the culmination of our Venus Blazing initiative in which music by 120 female creatives was programmed across 60 varied public performances.

We reflected on its impact at our Venus Blazing Symposium in December, an inspiring day of music and discussion, and looked ahead to future plans to help ensure a lasting legacy for underrepresented artists in the industry.


9. The Gold Medal was at Southbank Centre

We were excited to take our Gold Medal competition to Southbank Centre for the first time at the beginning of 2019, where our 7 finalists performed on the Purcell Room stage in front of a sold-out audience.

Awarding-winning trumpeter Alison Balsom OBE, who judged the competition, commented on the ‘staggeringly diverse evening’ and its ‘creative programming’ before naming violinist Elena Abad the winner.

Not only did we have a new venue, but we also had a new category to represent Musical Theatre students, and introduced an Audience Prize.

We’re looking forward to returning to Southbank for 2020.

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10. Students from the Juilliard School visited Trinity Laban to celebrate the Merce Cunningham centennial

In July we welcomed students from The Juilliard School for a one-week collaborative project in celebration of choreographer Merce Cunningham’s Centennial.

Together, Trinity Laban and The Juilliard School students performed a Cunningham repertoire-based MinEvent, staged by Robert Swinston, Director of the National Centre for Contemporary Dance in Angers, France and Trinity Laban Dance Lecturer Daniel Squire.

“This experience has had so much impact on my development as a dancer here at Laban. It challenged me beyond our normal curriculum and having the opportunity to delve deeper into the work of Merce Cunningham with the guidance of experts was so rewarding. Collaborating with the dancers from Juilliard was very inspiring.” – BA2 Trinity Laban Student Hannah Wallace


11. We hosted a new festival of creative ageing

In October 150 Lewisham residents contributed to the joyous grand finale of Age Against the Machine, the London Borough of Lewisham’s brand-new festival of creative ageing.

Hosted in our Faculty of Dance the day of free events featured pop-up performances, workshops and exhibitions and included the world premiere of Finale!, a specially-commissioned music and dance work about identity and aging created in collaboration with 90 Lewisham residents.

The day emphasised the power of creativity, championed older artists and challenged perceptions. Sydenham Singers member Andrew Rahim described the project as “a creative and nourishing endeavour that reached out to all ages.”


12. We saw awards and accolades aplenty

During 2019 our staff, students and alumni won various high-profile awards across the performing arts industry, including wins at the Jazz FM Awards, One Dance UK Awards, Ivors Composer Awards, Black British Theatre Awards, and a Mercury Prize nomination.



These are just a selection of the incredible moments and events at Trinity Laban during 2019. What a way to end the decade, we are can’t wait to see what 2020 has in store.

To keep up to date with all things Trinity Laban visit our website. Or follow us on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


5 things you didn’t know about Dance Science


Building on our reputation as a world leader in Dance Science, Trinity Laban now offers an exciting BSc programme.

In this blog written by our flagship cohort of BSc Year 1 Dance Science students, we explain five things you may not know about studying Dance Science.

1. It’s not only about injury & injury prevention

Research into helping dancers overcome or prevent injury is incredibly important, but it’s not the only reason to investigate the dancing body. Dancers who understand how their body works from a physiological and biomechanical perspective are able to work more efficiently and productively. This knowledge can support injury reduction but also allows so much more in terms of enhancing practice and performance.

2. It’s not only physical


Another thing you might assume about Dance Science is that it only looks at the body. In fact, there is more need for investigation into the psychological health of people who dance as well as how dance can contribute to wellbeing for everyone. Dance science has a holistic approach that explores the physiology and psychology of movement in a way that also supports creativity.

3. It’s not necessarily about supporting those who already dance professionally/vocationally (or at all)

Two examples of research that benefits “non-dancers” who take it up as a hobby (often at an older age) are in classes for people with Parkinson’s and Dementia. The research here shows not just that it is helpful for people of any age to dance and enjoy themselves in a healthy, social atmosphere, but that areas of brain activated while being instructed to dance helps them do things their body and mind are otherwise unable to. Dance science is bringing new knowledge to the wider population.

4. It’s new and growing

9J1A9885Dance Science has not been around for that long compared to other sciences.  For those with their own questions (even if they don’t really know what they are yet!), there is a lot of work to do towards understanding the art form from a scientific perspective so it’s exciting to be on the forefront of this new discipline.

5. It’s not all academic theory


Those who study Dance Science don’t necessarily have to become academic researchers. Understanding the body and mind through learning about anatomy, biomechanics, nutrition, motor skills and psychology, while developing your personal technical dance skills, improves your own self-awareness and helps you to relate to other dancing bodies.  This is invaluable for any career in dance. It’s also enjoyable and quite thrilling to learn, in a very practical way, how to use field tests and lab equipment that help dancers appreciate their capacities in a different light.

Submit your application for our BSc Dance Science programme on UCAS Conservatoires by WED 15 JAN, and this could be your life in September next year. Here are some handy hints and tips on writing the personal statement section.


12 Hours of Dance at Trinity Laban

danceheAs an undergraduate Contemporary Dance student at Trinity Laban, every day is full of opportunities to experience life as a dance artist in the UK’s capital. You will develop your technique while being challenged to explore your own creativity by taking risks, experimenting and pushing conventions aside.

In this blog we take you on a walk through the Laban Building to find out about just a few of the things you might get up to during a day at Trinity Laban…

8.30 Warm up for the day with a morning class


As the daylight rises over the city, you’re likely to be getting ready for the day with a technique class in Ballet or Contemporary Dance, led by one of our inspirational teaching staff. It’s a time to wake up the senses, stretch those muscles and move your body in preparation for a full day of creativity.

Who wouldn’t want to start the day in a studio like this?

10.45 Recreate a historical piece of dance


A highlight for many, second year brings with it the ‘Historical Project’, in which students spend the summer term working on re-staging historical repertoire.

This is an opportunity to work with external directors and choreographers and push your performance skills to the next level. Past students have taken on works by renowned choreographers such as Wayne McGregor, Lea Anderson, Matthew Bourne and Rudolf Laban.

Alum Jordan Lee Pirrie commented…

“My favourite performance experience has definitely been the second year Historical Project module. Over three weeks we recreated Wayne McGregor’s Polar Sequences and performed it at the Laban Theatre. It was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had in my life.”

Find out more about Dance performance opportunities.

12.00  Get a taste of life as a professional dance artist

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In your third year you will work with professional dance artists to create brand-new pieces of choreography in the ‘commissioned works’ module. This is an opportunity to experience what it’s like to be part of a professional touring company and you will have the chance to perform the works at schools and colleges around the UK.

14.30 Experiment with collaboration


Start the afternoon in true Trinity Laban style by collaborating with instrumentalists, singers, composers or musical theatre performers from the Faculty of Music.

For two weeks each year, our CoLab festival provides you with a place to take risks, be creative and experiment. This is your opportunity to revolutionise the performing arts with projects that build relationships across genres, disciplines and cultures.

You could be starring in a cabaret, dancing alongside students from Taiwan and Korea, creating choreography to the words of the famous poet Keats, or busting groovy moves inspired by the music of South Africa.

16.00 Your body is your instrument


Full-time training can be challenging for your body. Trinity Laban Health offers a range of healthcare services as well as supplementary fitness classes such as Pilates, Yoga and HIIT, which are designed to keep your body strong and healthy.

The Dance Science team also carry out fitness tests on BA1 Contemporary Dance students, which are used to create individualised goals and track progress throughout your training. Check out our Dance Science Instagram highlight to get an inside look!

18.00 It’s not all tights and dancing shoes


Alongside your physical training, you will have access to the Laban Library & Archive to help you develop your theoretical knowledge. As the UK’s largest open-access specialist dance collection, the library is the perfect place to bury your head in a book and learn more about the science and history behind contemporary dance.

This could be where you write a ground-breaking new piece of research, get stuck into your first undergraduate dissertation or learn more about the history of the artists and innovators who inspired you to pursue a career in dance.

19.30 Experience a live performance


What better way to get inspiration for your studies than seeing a live performance?

As well as being used for student performances, the incredible Laban Theatre hosts a wide range of events and shows throughout the year. This Autumn we welcomed renowned companies including BalletBoyz, Rosie Kay Dance Company (pictured above) and Deaf Men Dancing as well as hosting the first ever London International Screen Dance Festival.

But it doesn’t stop there… our varied programme of performances and events includes a range of music events which we encourage all students to experience. From full-scale orchestral performances to intimate and experimental chamber shows, why not try something new?

See What’s On this season

21.00 Time to unwind

It’s true what they say, London life is busy. The end of the day is a chance to unwind and relax. This could be at home with a good book or a riveting Netflix series… or maybe it’s the weekend and you fancy heading out for even more dancing!

Local bars and clubs such as Oliver’s Jazz Bar, The Venue, The Amersham Arms, The Job Centre and Wetherspoons are all popular choices amongst music and dance students alike.

Check out our student’s favourite South East London hangouts for more inspiration on what to do on the weekend.


Submit your application for one of our undergraduate dance programmes on UCAS Conservatoires by WED 15 JAN, and this could be your life in September next year! Here’s some handy hints and tips on writing the personal statement section.

In the meantime, register for our Undergraduate Dance Open Days on the 12, 19 & 26 NOV to gain further insight into student life at Trinity Laban. This is your opportunity to chat with current students and staff, learn more about our programmes, tour our facilities and take part in music and acting workshops.







12 Hours of Musical Theatre at Trinity Laban

dressing room door_1440x800As a Musical Theatre student at Trinity Laban, each day is full of opportunities to experience life as a performer in the vibrant UK capital.

This blog post will take you on a walk – starting at our main training site for Musical Theatre in South East London – through some of the activities our students typically get up to.

8.00 – Rise and Shine

southeaststudentsAs daylight rises over the city, grab a coffee from Arapina Bakery next to the McMillan Student Village and start making your way to class. Laurie Grove, our main base for Musical Theatre students, is a short journey from McMillan in the nearby vibrant New Cross.

8.30 – Welcome to Laurie Grove

tk_18419_692To start the day, it’s time to head to the studio and warm up. The halls are filled by the comforting sound of your classmates singing a few scales; there’s rarely a quiet moment around here!

10.00 – And all…that…jazz!

tk_18419_912_1440x800It’s time to fasten your dancing shoes for the first class of the day – Jazz.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a dance background – our students have a range of strengths and abilities in singing, dance and acting. By the end of your first year our supportive teaching staff will have you leaping, kicking and pirouetting your way on to the stage.

Our teachers are so fantastic that many are nominated for awards. Take for example Dollie Henry, who appeared in the Best Teacher of Performing Arts category in the Black British Theatre Awards this year.

11.00 – Fred Astaire who?

tk_18419_671Next up you have a Tap class. During your time here you will learn a range of dance styles to prepare you for a long and varied career. By the end of your third year at Trinity Laban, who knows, maybe you’ll be giving Astaire himself a run for his money!

12.30 – Lunch time

coffeeTap your way to lunch in South East London. Here are some hangouts our student love.

14.00 – Rehearsal for next big show

Legally Blonde_19_TK_Cast 2_4284After lunch it’s time to head back to Laurie Grove for rehearsals and workshops.

Rehearsals for shows allow you to experience all aspects of life as a performer. From long hours in the studio practising lines to working with our specialist costume department in the run up to the big night, we will prepare you for your future career.

You will take part in a number of productions throughout your training, such as this summer’s Legally Blonde which received rave reviews from critics.

15.30 – Masterclasses and workshops

tk_18419_238Give a warm welcome to Duncan Walsh Atkins of BBC Radio 4 fame.

The musical theatre maestro recently delivered a lesson to our students, which formed part of this year’s exciting schedule of guest masterclasses and workshops. These sessions enrich your training and give you new insights into the industry.

17.00 – Get to know all of Trinity Laban

TrinityLaban-junosnowdon-photography-72dpi50%-3679Whilst Laurie Grove will be your main base, you will also have some classes at the Faculty of Dance in Deptford and the Faculty of Music in Greenwich, meaning you get a truly diverse experience of Trinity Laban.

For example, each week you will make your way to the picturesque Old Royal Naval College for a one-to-one singing lesson with one of our renowned vocal staff.

18.00 – On the way to the theatre

crazy_for_you_rehearsal_18_lc_crazyforyou-50_1440x800You will perform in a range of professional venues throughout your training, from our very own Blackheath Halls to central London locations.

This time you are off to London’s West End for an agent showcase. This is your opportunity to show off your skills in front of casting agents.

19.30 – Hair, makeup, lights

tk_18419_395Back stage, you can tell it’s a full house from the sound of the audience eagerly chatting away. They swiftly quieten as the curtain goes up, announcing the start of the show. It’s time to take to the stage!

21.30 – Curtain down

MT_3rd_year_showcase_19_LC_170The crowd is roaring as you make your curtain call. In the front row you spot Head of Musical Theatre Vicki Stretton, who then meets you backstage to congratulate you and your classmates on another successful year.

22.00 – Time to unwind

Join your friends at one of Soho’s lively bars to toast a successful performance. Or with a matinee coming up tomorrow afternoon, you might prefer to head home for a good night’s sleep.

Submit your application for one of our Musical Theatre programmes on UCAS Conservatoires by WED 15 JAN, and this could be your life in September next year. Here are some handy hints and tips on writing the personal statement section.

In the meantime, register for our Musical Theatre Open Day taking place on FRI 13 DEC to gain further insight into student life at Trinity Laban. This is your opportunity to chat with current students and staff, learn more about our programmes, tour our facilities and take part in music and acting workshops.

12 Hours at Trinity Laban

As a music student at Trinity Laban, every day is ripe with possibility. Our home at King Charles Court in Greenwich provides countless opportunities to create, explore and experience life as musician in London.

08.30 – Wake up with a walk along the Thames…

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McMillan student accommodation, located on Creek Road, is a 10 minute walk from the Faculty of Music. Why not take the riverside route to class and see how many London landmarks you can spot along the way?

08.40 – But first…coffee


Your day is likely to be busy, grab a hot drink and some delicious food from at our Barista and Baker on-site cafes to kick start your morning.

10.00 – Experience world class teaching…


Time to get down to business…start your day with a one-to-one lesson or attend a masterclass with a visiting industry expert.

12.30 – Explore the local area


The vibrant communities of Greenwich, New Cross and Deptford are some of the most creative and cultural areas of London. Make the most of your lunch break by checking out some our students’ favourite South East London hangouts.

14.00 – Get creative


Use the afternoon to get in the practice room and rehearse your next big idea. You could be rehearsing with Trinity Laban Opera, jamming in the Jazz Orchestra, refining your performance for the Gold Medal Competition or pushing boundaries in the Contemporary Music Group.  Find out more about music performance opportunities.

17.00 – Say hello to the Students’ Union

Throughout the year TLSU will be helping students set up societies, providing you with spaces to relax, and putting on great events. They are also here to represent your views, concerns and aspirations, and to answer any questions you may have – be they about welfare, academic issues or anything else.

19.30 – Work hard, play hard


As sun sets over the Old Royal Naval College, it’s time to relax and enjoy the range of performances happening at our venues. Why not experience Rude Health, an experimental festival of new music and innovative performances, or soak up the sounds of the 20th century with Trinity Laban String Ensemble at Blackheath Halls?

23.00 – Good night


We think that’s a pretty great way to spend your day. If you agree, make sure you’ve submitted your UCAS Conservatoires application.

If you haven’t, don’t worry there’s still time – the deadline is TUE 1 OCT. And if you need a little extra help writing that personal statement, check out our hints and tips.






10 Reasons to join The Teaching Musician Programme

The Teaching Musician is a postgraduate programme, designed to increase your skills as a professional musician working in music education. It’s for musicians working in the UK and internationally in any genre or educational setting: from instrumental and vocal teachers in schools to musicians working in community settings.

Discover 10 reasons why The Teaching Musician is the perfect programme for you:

  1. Continue to work as you learn

The Teaching Musician is designed to be completed alongside a busy portfolio career.

  1. Make connections


Build your professional network of fellow music educators from across the UK and beyond, and engage with Trinity Laban’s highly regarded Learning & Participation team, renowned for their outstanding work and support.

  1. It’s value for money

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Achieve the complete MA programme for less than £6,000 and spread the cost over 2-4 years depending on how intensely you would like to study.

  1. Receive world class tutoring

Gain support and mentoring from expert staff actively working in the music education sector and drawn from a variety of Higher Education Institutions.

  1. Learn at home and visit us in the holidays


Much of the programme is completed online with four trips to the spectacular Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London for face-to-face training weekends during school holidays.

  1. Research and reflect

Critically reflect on and develop your practice through engagement with current theory and research which can be built into your teaching straight away.

  1. Get back to the books

Our student services and library teams are always on hand to support you in getting back into higher education and academia.

  1. Boost your employability

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The Teaching Musician alumni have gained recognition for their work as educators through getting work published, delivering training at their music hubs and presenting research findings on the programme at conferences across the UK.

  1. Get out of your comfort zone

Through the Education Placement module, work in an unfamiliar education context to diversify your practice and learn new skills with support from a placement supervisor.

  1. Refresh your teaching practice

Learn new approaches and ideas and tap into current trends in the contemporary music education sector.

Applications for the incoming cohort starting February 2020 close on FRIDAY 29th NOVEMBER 2019. For more information and details on how to apply please visit If you have any questions about the programme or application process after reading the information in the programme brochure and on our FAQs page, please contact us at


Hints and Tips for your Personal Statement

If you are applying to study at a UK conservatoire starting in September 2020, you can now make a start on your application. Here are some handy hints and tips on writing your personal statement from us.


If you want to apply to study at a conservatoire next year, it is likely that you will need to apply via UCAS Conservatoires – the UK admissions service for conservatoires.

The personal statement will probably take a bit more time and thought than the other sections, as it’s your opportunity to tell your chosen conservatoires why you would make a great student. If you’re feeling a bit daunted then don’t worry – our handy guide should help!

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Where to start

You will have roughly 500 words (4,000 characters to be exact) to write about the qualities, skills and experience that make you suitable for your chosen subject. You will use the same personal statement for each conservatoire you are applying to, so make sure you do not mention anything about a specific institution.

To get started, you might want to create a mind map using the following points/questions:

  • Why are you applying to study and train at a conservatoire?
  • What are your reasons for applying to your chosen programmes?
  • What interests you about your chosen area?
  • What is your experience within your chosen specialist area? For example, membership in youth orchestras, participation in dance productions…
  • What other skills and experiences make you suitable? Extracurricular clubs and societies, employment and/or volunteering experience are great for soft skill development such as teamwork.
  • If you are an EU/international student, you should also mention why you want to study in the UK, your English language skills (if English is not your first language) and why you want to study abroad rather than in your own country.
  • Once you have jotted down ideas using the bullet points above, it should be easier to structure the piece.

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Make sure you…

  • Have plenty of time to write it before the deadline, as it might take a few attempts until you are happy with it
  • Place more emphasis on the skills and experience that conservatoires value the most
  • Make the statement snappy and easy to read
  • Write in a natural style
  • Check spelling and grammar
  • Ask another person such as a teacher, parent or guardian to read it through if you can


  • Exaggerating the truth, as you might get caught out at audition/interview
  • Going off on a tangent, as the word count is limited
  • Sharing your personal statement with anyone else applying to a conservatoire or university, as UCAS Conservatoires has the technology to screen all personal statements to make sure they are original. Even if you wrote yours, there could be serious consequences if there is any similarity between different statements

Do not…

  • Copy any part of your statement from a website or another person, as you could get caught as above!

For more information on how to apply to Trinity Laban’s Music, Dance and Musical Theatre programmes, visit the How to Apply section of our website.

We wish you the best of luck with your application!

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Trinity Laban