Created as part of Trinity Laban CoLab 2013, King Charles Court, Greenwich
Paper cuts, paper sculpture, collage and manipulated musical scores
Greenwich’s rich maritime history is evident throughout much of my typical working week at Trinity. I often enjoy walking to college in the morning via the river, and I pass the Cutty Sark every time I come to college. The clipper’s structure provides a never-ending source of wonderment for me. The college of course is housed in the Old Royal Naval College, and as a ORNC Chapel scholar, I am reminded of this strong connection to the sea every time I sing there. I felt that it would be an interesting concept to make reference to the history of the building that Trinity is housed in, while combining a musical narrative. Thus, I decided that a paper model based on the Cutty Sark, fabricated from old music would form the centrepiece of the final installation. The manipulated book and much of the ship uses an old score of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore.
The space where the work was installed in is also known as the ‘Dora Labbette’ Room, and is named after the English operatic soprano Dora Labbette (1898—1984). There are several pictures of her in full costume on the walls of this room and I thought it would be interesting to reference this operatic connection in the final work. I already had the Pinafore score, and I thought that in addition to this, I could incorporate some opera with a nautical theme into the piece. As 2013 is the centenary of the composer Benjamin Britten’s birth, I thought it would be highly appropriate to reference his operas. I settled on two: Billy Budd (1951) which is set aboard the battleship HMS ‘Indomitable’, and Peter Grimes (1945), which takes place in a fishing village on the east coast of England.