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.
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.