Verity Standen


Verity Standen is a composer, performer and musical director based in Bristol. Her work focuses primarily on the intricacies of the human voice and explores the context and relationship between the audience and the voice.  In addition to her solo work and running her choir ‘Utterance’, Verity regularly collaborates with a range of artists and companies creating compositions for her own and other companies including Bristol Old Vic, Living Structures and Tobacco Factory Theatres.  As an experienced vocal coach, Verity teaches her music to a broad range of singers from varied musical backgrounds and runs a number of projects with inter-generational arts charity Magic Me. 

HUG starts with blindfolded audience members seated on chairs positioned randomly around the performance space; and a swell of sound building as a choir enters the room. Unable to visually gauge their surroundings, participants experience the performance through sound, breath and the vibrations of the body of individual singers who embrace them as the choir of voices deliver the song around them. To recreate the piece, Standen travels with a core team of professional singers who then teach the music to a larger choir of local community singers.


In the press

"Song erupts around you… it’s startling, moving and genuinely immersive"
Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

"The most immediate, visceral experience of music… like an antenna to heaven" Andrzej Lukowski, TimeOut

Production details

  • Writer

    Verity Standen
  • Director

    Verity Standen
  • Number of people on stage

    7-30 (all singers, dependent on numbers)
  • Number of people in touring company

    8 (Verity Standen, producer Tom Spencer plus 6 professional singers)
  • Freight

    No freight necessary
  • Touring Availability

    Spring 2016 onwards
  • Scale of venue

    Small-scale (capacity up to 400),
    Unconventional Space
  • Minimum performance space

    A dark room with enough space for approx. 25 chairs
  • Text-based

    Light (very little or no text)
  • Also contains:

    Interactivity, Live Music

In Edinburgh

  • Venue

    Forest Fringe at South Leith Parish Church Hall, 6 Henderson Street, EH6 6BS
  • Production dates

    24-28 AUGUST
  • Production times

    1530-1555; 1615-1640 and 1700-1725 each day
  • Duration

    25 MINS (no interval)
  • Audience capacity




HUG requires a direct collaboration with the venue to recruit a choir (or new group of individual singers) to join the piece. Verity and her ensemble of 6 professional singers will teach the piece to these community performers across 3-4 days; this has proved itself to be a fulfilling participation project as well as artistically exciting for the piece.  

Verity Standen is an experienced vocal coach and choir leader. In additional to leading and teaching HUG, she has musically directed several choral and a cappella shows, taught young companies and adult ensembles and run a number of music projects for inter-generational charity Magic Me. Around the schedule of shows, Verity is available to run sessions for the wider singing community, using her 6-piece ensemble as co-facilitators.

Additional productions

Mmm Hmmm