30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 1

30 years in pictures | 13 September 2023

Compass Commissions Part 1

Compass Commissions was the Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership’s flagship commissioning programme which supported a number of UK-based artists throughout the process of creation. The artists each received a bespoke package of support, including a commission fee, rehearsal facilities at Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban and the Partnership’s Performance Lab at Laurie Grove, technical and production support and sharing and performance opportunities. 

30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 1. Two dancers jump up while cardboard boxes fall from the sky behind them

The Buildy-uppy Dance Show. Photo by Chris Nash

The Buildy-uppy Dance Show

I think we only got a couple of goes at this, because it took so long to build the wall of boxes each time…” 

Chris Nash  

Created and performed by Anatomical – Anna Williams and Tom Roden, The Buildy-uppy Dance Show was a Compass Commission for Greenwich Dance and Trinity Laban, produced by New Art Club, co-produced by Nottingham Lakeside Arts. Supported by Arts Council England, DanceEast and Cambridge Junction. In association with The Spark Arts for Children.

We benefitted from having the run of the old Borough Hall to make these shows. The Buildy-uppy Show featured hundreds of cardboard boxes. We’d have to shift them out if there was an event over the weekend. Everyone on the whole staff would leave their desks to get involved in a chain passing them down the line and up the stairs to the storage space. A perfect example of a team coming together to make things happen.” 

Tom Roden   

30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 1. A group of dancers are scribbling on the floor

Doodle Dance. Photo by Chris Nash

The Doodle Dance Show

Shot looking down onto the floor of the main hall from the balcony seating area, a deceptively simple looking shot that was actually very complicated to put together, both on the day and in post production.”

Chris Nash

Doodle Dance is an interactive story-show which gets the whole family drawing and moving, doodling and imagining together. In a world populated by crazy birds, dancing pirates, strange underwater creatures and maybe more – the most fun you can have with your family and a giant piece of paper! 

30 years in pictures: Compass Commissions Part 1. A woman is sat on a park bench and six performers leap from the bench all around her

Mimbre's Bench. Photo by Chris Nash

Mimbre – Bench 

I think (Artistic Director) Lina suggested the idea of the central stationary person surrounded by blurred, moving figures…” Chris Nash 

A woman sits on a bench and watches the world pass by… Bench is a small and beautiful acrobatic performance about the everyday theatre and dance of life. Loneliness and happiness, bag-ladies and runaway brides, spell-binding moments mixed with the comic and ordinary – a reflection on who we are and how we connect with others. 

Bench is still one of our favourite shows and thanks to the generous commissioning and support from Greenwich Dance Agency and Laban Theatre, this production went on to tour for three years, including several international performances. Bench is greatly loved by audiences for the simplicity and humour in its physical reflections on public life.” 

Lissy Lovett, Mimbre

Other artists supported through the scheme included 

Nick Bryson and Robin Dingemans, Tara D’Arquian, Dan Daw, Sarah Dowling and Kath Duggan, Mimbre, Wendy Houstoun, Tom Roden and Anna Williams, Botis Seva, Stephanie Schober, Rahel Vonmoos, Laura Dannequin, Stephanie McMann, Charlotte Spencer and Julie Cunningham, Robert Mass, Rachael Young. 

The Greenwich Dance & Trinity Laban Partnership together generated innovative projects designed to support dance artists, inspire new audiences and create outstanding dance opportunities for young people. The Partnership attracted National Portfolio funding from Arts Council England, 2015-2018.

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