New Music Biennial 2014
Discover new music all over the UK

Jez ColborneJez Colborne



A gift arrives. What’s inside? Curious? Follow talented learning-disabled composer Jez Colborne on a musical odyssey to discover what it means to be gifted. Accompany Jez to the very heart of music-making within a shipping container. Guaranteed to make your senses tingle.

'I am thrilled to be part of this amazing opportunity! I like the trickery behind the Trojan Horse story – ‘Gift’ will take twists and turns, sounding sometimes ancient, then modern and funky. The audience will travel in, out and around the shipping container and be plunged into the experience!' - Jez Colborne

'Mind the Gap is delighted that Jez has the chance to develop his unique talents through the New Music Biennial. We collaborated with him to create ‘Irresistible’ for London 2012, inspired by his fascination with warning sirens. This sister piece will explore how “gifts” are not always what they seem!' - Tim Wheeler (Artistic Director of Mind the Gap, commissioning organisation)


About Jez Colborne

Jez Colborne (41) is a uniquely talented composer and musician who can hear music where everyone else hears noise.

He has a rare condition called Williams syndrome. He has acutely sensitive hearing and perfect pitch. He’s a “musical punk” … creating work using warning sirens, industrial and everyday objects, as well as conventional instruments!

In 2010, Jez was one of the first 10 disabled artists to be commissioned by ACE/LOCOG to create an original work for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad. Jez used warning sirens as musical instruments in the creation of this original piece, Irresistible. Irresistible was performed in Yorkshire, and as part of London 2012 Festival at National Theatre's Watch This Space and the Southbank Centre Royal Festival Hall. Songs from the show were performed at the Olympic Park.

Jez has composed numerous pieces for his own gigs and performances. He’s jammed with Johnny Dankworth, gigged with Van de Graff Generator and featured on a number of albums. In 2003, he won the European Song Contest for Learning Disabled Artists, receiving his award in Hamburg, Germany.

Jez has a long freelance association with Mind the Gap, a theatre company based in Bradford. His national touring credits with Mind the Gap include: George in ‘Of Mice and Men’, the lead in ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’, Henry Higgins in ‘Pygmalion’, Don Quixote in ‘Don Quixote’, Cyrano in ‘Cyrano’, and a one man show, ‘On The Verge’ written by Mike Kenny and based on Jez’s adventures down Route 66 in America with Mind the Gap.

Jez has toured across the UK, performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and in China, Canada, Hong Kong, Switzerland and USA.


Mind the GapAbout Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap is England’s largest learning disability theatre company that creates work for UK and international audiences.

It was formed in 1988 by current Artistic Director Tim Wheeler and Susan Brown and is based in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The company exists to make great theatre that makes audiences think differently.

Mind the Gap brings together learning disabled and non-disabled artists so that they can share and exchange ideas, skills and experience. The talents of learning disabled artists are nurtured through formal training and live work experience. Through a partnership approach it creates work for different audiences that is exciting, refreshing, sometimes a bit cheeky, and always original.

By ‘theatre’ it doesn’t just mean shows that you can see in arts and theatre venues, but also performances and events in different spaces and places. Its work includes adaptations of classic texts like Of Mice & Men and Treasure Island, unique work like Jez Colborne’s Irresistible, and unusual events for outside spaces like Immovable.


The press says:

Gift by Jez Colborne, […] required audience members to be locked in a darkened shipping container under Hungerford Bridge while dancers jumped on the roof until you feared it would fall. […] exuberant, rhythmic music blasted out, sending vibrations though your body.’ The Observer

‘[…] the crowd-pulling performance outside the venue of Jez Colborne’s Gift – a funky stomp set both on and in a full-size shipping container, proved so much of an oddity that the curious by-passers were tempted inside for more of the unexpected.’ The Scotsman


DBBC Radio 3ue to circumstances out of our control we are unable to release Gift on NMC.



(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.
(If you're a human, don't change the following field)
Your first name.

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a><p><span><div><h1><h2><h3><h4><h5><h6><img><map><area><hr><br><br /><ul><ol><li><dl><dt><dd><table><tr><td><em><b><u><i><strong><font><del><ins><sub><sup><quote><blockquote><pre><address><code><cite><embed><object><param><strike><caption>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.