Performers from across West End theatre and the Royal Ballet have come together to make a new original song and accompanying dance film. Entitled Hush, the piece aims to highlight the importance of positive mental health during the coronavirus pandemic and to raise awareness of the brilliance of the UK’s performing arts at a time of mounting concern for the sector.
The pandemic has created incredible challenges for society at large, causing an increase in anxiety and sharp rise in people reporting mental health issues. Hush intends to draw attention to the need for many to seek out peace and calm against a backdrop of ongoing uncertainty and noise.
Hush was written by musical theatre composer/lyricist Kath Haling with additional musical arrangement by Harry Haden-Brown, and vocals provided by West End performer Leo Miles (Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables). Choreographed by Erico Montes, former First Artist of the Royal Ballet, the film features dancers from the Royal Ballet including Benjamin Ella, Harry Churches and Giacomo Rovero, who perform together for the first time since lockdown began.
Hush songwriter Kath Haling commented, “2020 has been an extremely chaotic and challenging year with many people feeling anxious about factors beyond their control. Add to this the noise from social media and pressure of so-called ‘toxic-productivity’, there is little respite from what can all-too-often feel like a tsunami of pressure and negativity. The idea for ‘Hush’ came from a need to find peace and quiet in amongst the overwhelming ‘noise’ felt by many during lockdown.”
“We wanted to help people remember that no matter how chaotic and overwhelming things can feel, we have the power within ourselves to take a moment, sit still and breathe. ‘Hush’ is about the understanding that finding that sense of peace is never out of our reach.”
The UK is a creative and cultural powerhouse, with British theatre, film and music a vital part of the nation’s soft power. However, the coronavirus pandemic has had a catastrophic effect on the performing arts sector, which is on the brink of collapse due to the extended closure of venues and performers isolated from each other. ‘Hush’ provided an opportunity for the team involved to be united and perform together once more.
Choreographer Erico Montes commented, “After months of doing ballet classes alone in my living room, it was very special to work again with fellow dancers and performers. I was inspired by Kath’s lyrics which talk about a yearning for space as well as physical and mental freedom – something we can all relate to, most especially during lockdown.”
With this work, the team behind Hush would like to support Acting for Others, an organisation who provide financial and emotional support to industry workers in times of need, through 14 member charities. Those who feel able to do so, can donate here: www.actingforothers.co.uk.