Wilton's

An alliance of music and science

13th June to 17th June . 7:30 evenings; 2:30 Saturday family show . 2 hours 10 minutes including interval
Full Price £10 to £17.50; Concessions £7.50 to £15

Saturday 17th June 2:30 Family show
60 minutes without interval
Prices: £12.50 adults, £7.50 children. Family offer £30 for 4 tickets (must include 1 adult and 1 child)

Ever wondered what would happen if you teamed up a distinguished scientist with internationally-acclaimed jazz and world musicians? The answer is Song of Contagion, the brainchild of composer Tony Haynes and epidemiologist Elizabeth Pisani, which explores the mismatch between areas where diseases are suffered and those where the money is spent, bringing cold statistics vividly to life on stage.

It begins in the East End, round the corner from Wilton’s, where cholera raged in Victorian times; eradicated in London by building the sewers, it continues rampant in Kolkata today. A moving series of songs tells the stories of combatants and civilians affected by shell-shock, for which treatment is still scarce.  Exuberant dance rhythms describe how dengue and Zika spread unnoticed across Africa and the Caribbean until Zika hit the headlines, threatening to spoil the Rio Olympics. A big-band piece celebrates the activism that brought HIV/AIDS to public attention and an old music hall song dramatises the danger of heart disease posed by the junk food industry.  

Song of Contagion features thirty of Grand Union’s finest musicians and singers from musical traditions worldwide, who add immense impact and authenticity to the performance – Indian musicians evoking Kolkata past and present; brilliant jazz soloists giving voice to the trauma of soldiers and refugees; hi-life, merengue, soca and samba beats dramatising the spread of Zika.

Music by Tony Haynes
Lyrics by Sara Clifford, Saikat Ahamed, Andrew Wilson and David Bradford

For more about Song of Contagion, visit the Grand Union Orchestra and Song of Contagion websites

See the Grand Union Orchestra in action in this 2-minute video snapshot of its last spectacular show



Thursday 15th June 6.00pm, free
Pre-show presentation 
Sam Johnson and students from Community Music describe their contribution to the project with audio illustrations

Friday 16th June 9:30pm, free
Post-show discussion led by Elizabeth Pisani
Turning health statistics into music and song

Saturday 17th June 2:30pm – Family Matinee
Sample the infectious music-making of the Grand Union Orchestra, meet the musicians and their instruments

Saturday 17th June 4:15pm
King Cholera and the Great Metropolis Walk
Two-hour tour with guide Sophie Campbell exploring cholera in London’s East End
More details and booking here




  • HLF 2
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