Song of Contagion

Funded by the Wellcome Trust, Song of Contagion combined research, debate, discussion, workshops, and public performance. Launched in April 2016, and developed during the autumn and winter, it culminated in a week-long run of performances in June 2017 at Wilton's Music Hall in East London.

THE SHOW - how did it look on stage?
Read the synopsis here.
THE SUBJECT - how did it come about?
Read the back story here.
THE PERFORMERS - who was in the show?
Read the list here.
THE MUSIC - what did it sound like?
  I ndividual video clips here.
THE RESPONSE - what did people think?
   Audience feedback here.   Reviews here.

WHERE CAN I SEE IT? - get the video from the Grand Union shop!

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 epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani, who approached Tony Haynes with the idea after seeing Undream'd Shores at the Hackney Empire (Tony describes the background in 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). Building on these ideas, Tony Haynes went a lot further, bringing these cold statistics vividly to life in a spectacular show, dramatising them through a compelling narrative and moving human stories in powerful and emotional music, featuring musicians and singers from all East London's diverse communities.

Read how the science, music and drama fitted together in Elizabeth Pisani's programme note for the show.

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