Song of Contagion

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, Song of Contagion is a very substantial project combining debate, discussion, workshops, and public performance. Launched in April 2016, and developed through workshops during the autumn and winter, it culminates in a week-long run of events in June 2017 at Wilton's Music Hall.

THE SHOW - what will it look like on stage?
Read the scenario  here.
THE SUBJECT - how did it come about?
Read the back story  here.
THE PERFORMERS - who's in the show?
Read the list  here.
THE MUSIC - what will it sound like?
Playlist here.   Individual clips here.

Why do some diseases around the world attract media attention and generous funding for effective treatment, while others equally devastating are virtually ignored? Is it because they are only found in distant parts of the world, or affect mainly poor or marginalised groups? How can this be expressed in musical and dramatic form?

The project was suggested by distinguished epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani, who approached Tony Haynes with the idea after seeing Undream'd Shores at the Hackney Empire (Tony describes the background on his blog here). Why not team up to provide an answer to the challenge of how the general public could be made aware of this inequality in our approach to health?

To do this through music, her idea was that statistics relating to various factors in the profiling of diseases could be matched to musical elements (melody, rhythm, tempo and so on). Then, with the help of the Grand Union Orchestra and other performers from East London’s diverse communities, these cold statistics could be brought vividly and emotionally to life on stage in a  spectacular show.

A launch workshop in spring 2016 was followed by two inaugural music workshops and a comprehensive development programme throughout the year. Full details of performances at Wilton's Music Hall in June are on our Events page.

For fascinating information on the scientific background of this extraordinary project, go to the Song of Contagion website.

Latest News

Huge success of Song of Contagion!

Fantastic audience responses to the recent shows Wilton's Music Hall

New BBC interview

Director Tony Haynes talks to Jimoke Fashola about this week's premiere of Song of Contagion. Skip to 02.52.04 to listen.

Song of Contagion promo video released

Featuring a taste of the music you will hear in our spectacular new show and interviews from the musicians involved

Booking opens for Song of Contagion!

Wilton's Music Hall, June 13th to 17th: tickets now on sale for our spectacular new show

Dates announced for 2017 Summer School

Our fourth annual Summer School runs from July 31st to August 3rd, Goldsmiths College, South London.

Exciting plans unveiled for 2017!

GUO's programme for the new year includes a brand new show at Wilton's Music Hall and a return to Portugal.

Remembering Cable Street

Video of The Beast is Back by Tony Haynes, recorded at the GUO commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street in October

High praise for GUO music education project

Read about Music Untamed at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon, supported by the Mayor's Music Fund

Band Off The Wall

Inspired by the Peace Mural at Dalston Junction, Grand Union has launched a new street band for Hackney

GUO tracks are now available online...

Grand Union CDs and individual numbers can now be streamed from Spotify or bought from iTunes

Full-length DVD of Undream'd Shores

A DVD of the acclaimed Hackney Empire production is now available from the GUO online shop.

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