Dance and the Frankenstein

By Alan Taylor
Founder, Herne Hill Music Festival


The two most ambitious projects in this years Herne Hill Music Festival came about through collaborations, in one case between composers, choreographers and players, and in the other between a composer and a story writer.

Dance With The Winds on Wednesday 11th Oct is a must for any dance fans, or parents of aspiring dancers and their youngsters. High quality choreography and dance come to Herne Hill for the first time, in a show of seven new pieces created by composer-choreographer teams, and performed by a team of dancers and the London Consorts of Winds. The venue for all of this is the splendid new hall at Herne Hill School, the Festival’s main sponsor. 

The seven new pieces created by composer-choreographer teams are:

Janet Oates and Irene Fiordilino - Dryads
Zillah Myers and Alistair Wroe - The Sea Witch
Angela Slater and Sara Røisland Torsvik - The Glaciate Falls
David Bentley and Justyna Sochaj - Invisible Cities
John Holland and Alice Weber - Grasp
Martin Humphries and Yeonsoo Do - Kukolnost
Alan Taylor and Mari Frogner - Adrift

'Adrift' is one of these seven pieces and it's one which I have written and was performed on its own by brilliant Norwegian choreographer/dancer Mari Frogner (pictured with me, above) with the Consort, at St Saviour's Hall on Herne Hill Road earlier this year.  It will be performed again on Wednesday with a different dancer, although Mari participated in rehearsals.

The London Consorts of Winds (pictured at St Saviour's just above and right, and in Herne Hill School rehearsal photos at the top) is comprised of amateur brass and woodwind players based in South London playing in three separate ensembles – the Ancient and Modern, Classical and Clarinet Consorts. These work across a wide range of repertoire, from arrangements of early music, to cutting edge contemporary compositions. By the way, the Classical Consort has a vacancy for bassoon - please contact us if you can help!


Two years ago the Festival was approached by prolific composer and music educator Simon Speare ( with a proposal for a junior school musical worked out with story-writer Tony Bradman, perhaps best known for his Dilly the Dinosaur children’s books. In this case, they had Tony’s book The Frankenstein Teacher in mind.


The Frankenstein Teacher tells of how a class are scared of their ugly new teacher but, due to the intervention of the class hamster, come to love him. After a couple of false starts, the Festival found an enthusiastic partner in St Jude’s School, won Arts Council and Herne Hill Society funding, and will be performing the musical, appropriately, on Friday 13th.

We recently ran the whole musical in a rehearsal and we can promise that it will be great fun.

Hope to see you at one or both of these Festival family productions coming up this week! See our website for more information - for ‘Dance With The Winds’ go to For ‘The Frankenstein Teacher’ it’s

To hear Alan Taylor and Naomi Sullivan, Festival Committee Members, discuss these productions and others in the week on BBC Radio London, go to