RISE Behind-The-Dance: Robby Graham, Choreographer

6 January 2020

RISE is the opening event for Brent's year as the London Borough of Culture 2020.

It is an outdoor spectacular telling the story of Brent through dance, film and an amazing soundtrack with a community cast of hundreds. We caught up with Robby Graham, the director and Choreographer of RISE...

What is the vision behind RISE?
I was struck by how unique the borough was with the waves of migration and cultural offerings. I see my job as a facilitator; it’s about trying to make something that people can be happy about and feel involved and included. It’s an amazing production on the power of community and a celebration of everything within Brent.

Were there any specific inspirations that helped you choreograph RISE?
Many scenes in the production are inspired by stories in the borough and are linked to different communities in the borough. Historically, there are so many different things to explore – amazing people, poets, athletes, thinkers from Brent.

How does RISE fit in with the Brent 2020 programme?
It’s going to be a spectacular year; we’re only one small part of that. We just want to make the community feel that it’s their year. The message is to give it a go and take part.

What has it been like to work with a community cast?
Every session I meet someone new and every conversation I have with them inform all these different elements in our show. We’re reacting to these community conversations to help grow and build the script.

What feeling are you hoping that audiences will take away from watching RISE?
Empathy and empowerment. One thing I’ve learnt about the borough is that people have always stood up for what they believe in. I want people to connect with others and see the similarities and embrace the differences. There’s a really important message that culture is essential and vital within society.

Saturday 18 January 2020
Performance at 7pm, Wembley Park.

For more information on RISE, please visit www.brent2020.co.uk/programmes/RISE