Notes On Loving – Meet The Artists

Notes On Loving – Meet The Artists!

Notes On Loving is based on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It explores the ways in which we overcomplicate, misunderstand, and mishandle romantic love. This contemporary piece is set to music by 20th Century composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold and contemporary composer Jacob Fitzgerald. Four live musicians accompany dancers Gabriella Engdahl and Emily Pahlawan Collinson. They take us through the many ages, stages, and guises of romance. Meet the artists from Notes On Loving and learn more about the piece…


Our piece is inspired by Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. It works as a kind of dance ‘essay’ of Shakespeare’s presentation of love in the play. We follow the story of the two main couples – Beatrice and Benedick, and Hero and Claudio. In our version, however, we’ve merged these two parallel narratives into one. We wanted to show that both couples represent two sides of the same coin and both reveal common pit-falls in romantic love. On the one hand; pride, egoism, and self-preservation. On the other; sickly-sweet romanticism, idealism, fantasy, and superficial obsession. Our production takes the audience through one couple’s story. We present these various stages of loving, noting their mistakes and their learnings along the way.

It’s a piece that is both abstract but intelligible, evocative but funny, and where hopefully we see something of ourselves in our protagonists. There’s no need to have any prior knowledge of the play, but we hope that Shakespeare fans will also be able to recognise his work in ours!


We have live music performed by a wonderful quartet of viola, bassoon, cello, and piano throughout. Our composer, Jacob Fitzgerald has arranged Erich Korngold’s Much Ado About Nothing suite for our ensemble. He has also written his own music to intersperse these movements with contemporary sound. Something that can appeal to both classical and contemporary music lovers.


We are a cast of four musicians and two dancers/actors, all under 26 years old and we’ve been working together throughout 2022 to create a collaborative piece of dance-theatre. We all come from a variety of backgrounds, with our ensemble of musicians either having already trained at or are currently studying in some of the best music conservatoires in the world. Our two protagonists – Emily Pahlawan Collinson and Gabriella Engdahl –  trained in theatre, and dance respectively.


Because all of our musicians are new to working with movement and theatre, a lot of our rehearsals have been about equipping them with new skills and confidence to perform in a theatrical setting. In rehearsals we’ve been exploring how to incorporate the music into the drama of the piece, and as a result you’ll see the musicians speaking, moving, and playing their instruments in unconventional ways (look out for our cellist playing lying on the floor!).


While we have all been key in making the piece together, the three people behind the artistic direction of the show are Emily Pahlawan Collinson, Gabriella Engdahl, and Jacob Fitzgerald. Here’s a little more on them:

Emily Pahlawan Collinson

Emily Pahlawan Collinson is half British and half Iraqi. Her work involves creating spaces in which artists from different disciplines are able to learn from each others’ practice. Her experience in leading cross-arts collaborations has seen her work closely with a broad range of performers – from musicians to circus artists and dancers. In particular, Emily devises and performs in work that bridges classical and contemporary music, and dance-theatre. This year she founded the collective ‘Sol Pont’ with mezzo-soprano and composer Anna Semple to explore these connections further. Most recently she has been working in the UK and Europe to perform in projects that rework and stage music by Korngold, Haydn, and Handel. She enjoys creating and performing in pieces that are theatrical, bold, and evocative. Emily also regularly works as a facilitator in community and educational contexts, most notably with the East-London based organisation, ‘Drum Works’.

Gabriella Engdahl

Gabriella Engdahl is a playful, interdisciplinary choreographer from Sweden, based in London. She studied at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and Central Saint Martins. Her work is strongly influenced by storytelling and design – with a distinctive movement expression. She is interested in combining movements, text, and design and work in a way where no expression is above the other.

Read more about Gabriella Engdahl on her website

Jacob Fitzgerald

Jacob Fitzgerald is a British composer of experimental, classical and electronic based in Cambridge and Hereford. Starting his musical life as a chorister at Jesus College, Cambridge, since then Jacob has gone on to study composition and violin at Aldeburgh Young Musicians in Suffolk and Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester. Writing for a wide variety of settings, Jacob has had his work performed and commissioned by ensembles including the Ligeti Quartet, the Brodsky Quartet, the Phaedra EnsembleDr K Sextet, and Prime Brass in venues ranging from St John’s Smith Square, London, to a disused pump station in Suffolk. Recent performances include a multimedia graphic score Letter of Request for Reconnection of Service, performed by The Hermes Experiment and Gesualdo Six as part of the London Sound Gallery, and murmuration which was broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in November 2021, performed by the Palisander recorder quartet. This score is also in the process of being prepared for publication with Peacock Press.

Read more about Jacob Fitzgerald on his website

You can follow more about the work (including some snaps and clips from rehearsal) on our insta page:


Book tickets to see Notes On Loving here