Excerpts of the following shows will be presented:
|#50Days by Thabo Stuck tells the story of the period that led up to an outbreak of the 17th century British Civil Wars. Set to a Grime score, the show gives audiences a chance to interpret the narrative of a time when this country was politically fraught, in the shadow of a plague, and felt well and truly divided. Does this sound familiar?
Creative: Thabo Stuck
Performers: Katie Allen, Kyran Julius
|Becoming Nigella is a new two-character chamber musical by Emily Rose Simons. The two characters are Anna, a work-obsessed Soho-dweller, and Nigella Lawson who is, well, Nigella Lawson (played by Tanya Truman). The musical begins when Anna inherits Lawson’s seminal cookbook, How to Eat, from her estranged mother and, along with the book, the spirit of Nigella Lawson who strongly nudges Anna into the joy of living, learning and, most importantly, eating one recipe at a time. Expect laughter, tears, roast chickens and mee-cro-wa-veys galore through song, food and very imperfect cooking demonstrations.
Creatives: Emily Rose Simons, David Merriman, Martin French, Grace Taylor
Creative/Performer: Tanya Truman
Performers: Natasha Karp
|Benny and the Greycats written by Suzanne Gorman, Mike Gorman and Riz Maslen of MAYA Productions tells the story of an Anglo-Indian family of railway workers and musicians who swap playing in the popular Madras Jazz Group for a new life in the industrial city of Sheffield. We meet the family in Sheffield at a social club in 1964. The audience are guests at matriarch Mabel’s 50th birthday party. The entertainment is provided by the new family band, The Greycats. As we eagerly wait with Mabel for her special guest of honour, we are taken on a migration journey that explores themes of cultural heritage, identity and the legacy of colonialism.
Creatives: Suzanne Gordan, Mike Gorman, Riz Maslen, Paul Sireet, Matthew Bugg
Performers: Jason Patel, Natasha Lewis, Sasha
|The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean In An Armchair is written and composed by Jordan Li-Smith, based on the novel by Lara Williamson. It tells the story of Becket, whose life is turned upside down when he, his brother and his Dad are running away from home in the middle of the night, leaving behind their almost-mum Pearl without saying goodbye. Whilst coming to terms with the fact that his real mum died before he had a chance to say goodbye to her too, he arms himself with an armchair of stories and one thousand paper cranes, determined to bring his family back together again.
Creative: Jordan Li-Smith, Ben Ferguson, Ben Cox, Suzie Curran
Performers: Clare Shaw, Verity Simmonds, Matt Whittington, Dan Giles, Adam Stickler, Ayesha Patel, Emma Harvey, James Evans Jones, Lottie Power, Max Alexander Taylor, Olivia Hallett, Zola Magwood, Scott McClure, Yasmin Yeaden, Robert Meriam, Ralph Warman, James Breen, Sam Carter
|Chosen is written by Dominic Varney and Taiyo Yoshida. Imagine accidentally killing Harry Potter, Luke Skywalker, or Jesus, and having to take their place. Sue, an IT Support Technician, wakes from a coma to discover a meteor has hit the Earth, turning half the population into zombies. After accidentally killing the zombies’ prophesied ‘Chosen One’, Sue must save humanity herself. Thrust into the spotlight of being a messiah, Sue is forced to confront her own insecurities around being ‘special’. A pop-rock book musical, Chosen is an absurdist comedy exploring what it means to be ‘enough’ and understanding that we are the things we do.
Creatives: Taiyo Yoshida, Dominic Varney
Performers: Olivia Hallet
|CLIFFS is a musical about the disappearance of young girl, Teddy Thomas, and the lasting effect this has on fictional seaside town, Boocastle Bay. Written by Elan Butler, CLIFFS is an actor-musician show that fuses folk music with hip hop so Once meets London Road meets…Step Up. CLIFFS isn’t a sink into your seat naturalistic drama, it’s a raw, gutsy, fresh take on British musical theatre that tackles issues such as grief and fragile relationships and illuminates the importance of community and togetherness. ‘A little bit of clarity, would have eased the tragedy that fills my skull with pain, a tattoo that’ll never wash away.’
Creative/Performer: Elan Butler
Performers: Lucinda Coyle, Edward Watchman, Laura Buhagiar, Elaine Hua Jones, Frankie Golding,
|Cocktails in the Departure Lounge is written by Lisa Kerr, Anne Odeke and Emma Jerrold. Olive is throwing her own living wake. Control is what she’s had in life, so control she will have facing death. Yet unbeknownst to her, she was supposed to die many years before but a certain SHOBET the Psychopomp intervened. As a Psychopomp, SHOBET’s job is to simply guide her to the ‘other side’. Sort of like a delivery service for the deceased. But SHOBET has committed the ultimate no-no – he’s grown fond of his assigned human and his family are demanding action. So who will win – Olive or SHOBET – and what does winning even mean?
Creatives/Performers: Emma Jerrold, Anne Odeke, Lisa Kerr
|Coming Back Around is a musical for our times; and times are hard. Written by David Fallon and Fraser Scott. Sky lives in Glasgow with her boyfriend Declan. They are in love, and have no money. Job interviews, energy bills, her boyfriend’s best mate who won’t move out. Coming Back Around is Sky’s story. The one written for her, and the one she wants to tell. The show is a one-act musical with a score stealing sounds from pop, electronic and classical music. Coming Back Around is an urgent show about poverty, survival, and aspiration.
Creative: Fraser Scott, David Fallon
Performers: Beth Robb Adams, Josh Tinline Bartholemew, Scott McClure
|The Edge of Me is written by Finn Anderson. A synth-pop odyssey following a young gay man who gets lost and found again in Britain’s BDSM underworld. Kit can’t contain himself. He’s tried, but he is overflowing with desires he doesn’t know how to tame or even how to name. That is until he uncovers a hidden community and a playground of possibility where he’s free to explore. But when his secret world goes public, Kit must build a new relationship to the world around him and the world inside his mind. A genre-bending, playful new musical with a big heart, exploring power dynamics and the complexity of human desire.
Creative/Performer: Finn Anderson
Performer: Joe Foster
|Feet Keep Me Flyin’ is written by Jack Evans, Jude Obermüller and David Gomez. The show follows Buck, a 1930s street performer who dazzles their way to the top billing of a jazz club. A century later, Sammy juggles between paying rent and launching a performing career. After a Hollywood actor plagiarises Buck’s work, Sammy discovers that the cause of her frustrations are rooted in the past. Honouring Buck’s legacy, she reimagines the future of tap dance. By paying homage to forgotten pioneers, the show provides a new lens into the tap styles that audiences love. The score also explores past and present: bridging classic 1930’s jazz influences and innovative electro fusion.
Creatives: Jack Evans, Jude Obermuller, Anastasia Osei-Kuffor, Hannah Boyce
Performers: Kate Ivory Jordan, James Chisholm, Cahir O’Neill, Mollie De Boer, Bailey Johnson,
Abigail Elms, Naomi Simon Couceiro, Alanna Panditaratne
|FLITCH is written by Clare Packham and Fintan Kealy. Can a couple conclusively prove they haven’t argued all year? Since 1104, Great Dunmow has hosted the Flitch Trials, an otherwise lost tradition. In the trials, married couples convince a mock court that they haven’t argued for one year and one day. Upon satisfying the jury, they win a flitch of bacon. FLITCH follows 6 married couples, alongside costumed townsfolk performing roles of the court. In this world where pop-meets-medieval and Kurt Weill meets Lily Allen, we’ll give couples permission to argue, provincial traditions permission to evolve, and communities the opportunity to celebrate their absurd histories.
Creative: Clare Packham, Fintan Kealey
Performer: Anna Hale, Zweyla Mitchell dos Santos, Felix Dickenson
|The Garden follows the journey of a teenage girl as she grapples with the death of her father, divergence with her mother and the conflict between residents and developers of her south London estate. Written by Chisara Agor, this show brings together worlds that are usually left apart, nature and concrete, spirituality and politics. The Garden speaks of getting to know your roots and loving there, building a community and standing up to power even when there appears to be little left.
Creatives/Performers: Chisara Agor, Robin Breeze
|Heavenly Bodies is a new musical with humour, heart…and pole dancing, written by Finn Beames. In a crumbling Cotswold chapel, a congregation of five elderly women fall on hard times. When a charismatic stranger arrives, they find themselves renting out their Sunday school to the most unlikely of tenants: a pole dancing class. This homegrown musical is inspired by a true story, combining soul-stirring songs, wild humour and eye-popping choreography. Heavenly Bodies is both outrageous and touching, bringing together three generations of women who unearth ancestors, awaken goddesses…and laugh their tits off.
Creatives: Sarah Blowers, Finn Beames, Deborah Drew, Tom Bevan, Gail Babb, Kris McGuire,
Performers: Nicola Sloane, Tatiana Young, Amanda Lawrence, Saskia Portway, Norma Atallah,
Heather Williams, Judith Paris
|The Highwayman is written by Kitty Morgan. Welcome, lovelies, to this tub-thumping, pub-singalong, which pits the year 1666 against modern day issues of social injustice, violence against women and cost of living crisis. Inspired by Alfred Noyes’ classic poem, The Highwayman tells the story of a doomed love affair between self-confessed sociopath Duval and rip-roaring landlady Bess. Featuring a majority-female, inclusive and neuro-diverse cast, the innovative sound-world submerges the audience in “Pimped-up Folk” which joyously reimagines pub sing-alongs and folk ballads in super contemporary arrangements, from electro swing to Adele, with a sprinkling of Billie Eilish.
Creatives: Kitty Morgan, Adam Nichols, Adam Morris
Performers: Claire Boulter, Kelly Price, Mel O’Donnell, Jay Perry
|Lovestuck is written by James Cooper and Bryn Christopher. When we first meet thirty-something Lucy, we find her stuck upside-down between two windows in the bathroom of a guy she’s just met. Worst. Date. Ever. But how on earth did she get herself into this awkward situation? And what happens next? All will be revealed in this riotous romantic comedy with a score as big as its heart. Tackling themes of online dating, toxic social media and crippling self-doubt, Lovestuck charts the hilarious, humiliating and all too relatable quest for our happy ever after…
Creatives/Performers: Jamie Moreton, James Cooper
Creatives: Bryn Christopher, Martin Batchelor
Performers: Jessica Boshier
|Mallory On The Mountain is based on the true story of George Mallory written by Ollie Mills. This electro-folk musical follows his quest to conquer Mount Everest in 1924. Thought lost to the mountain forever, many clues suggest he reached the top; including a missing photo he’d promised to leave there. As George battles the perishing cold with his trusted companion, Sandy Irvine, a kinetic ensemble recreates his adventures from the small town of Mobberley to the top of the world. We’re 800ft from the summit and a storm is closing in. To push on would be perilous; to turn back would mean failure…so what is it worth?
Creative: Ollie Mills
Creative/Performer: Jo Clayton
Performers: Alex Cosgriff, Iona Crampton, Elizabeth Iodele
|Mind Your Business! is a comedy musical written by Gemma Lees exploring contemporary Romany Gypsy enterprise and disabled self-employment. Based on the real people that Gemma met in her old day job, it fuses sketches, poetry and original show tunes with the aim to bring two new audiences into theatres, GRT and neurodiverse folks. Designed for relaxed performances, this episodic, slap-stick, heart-warming and thought-provoking examination of the Northern working-class hub of the car boot sale will delight, surprise and entertain all!
Creative/Performer: Gemma Lees
|Miss Wales is a brand-new, all-female musical that tells the incredible story of Wales’ Rosemarie Frankland, the first Welsh woman to win the Miss World beauty pageant in 1961. Created by Francesca Goodridge, Daniel Lloyd, Emma Reeves and Dylan Townley, the musical showcases Rosemarie’s extraordinary journey from a small Welsh village to the global stage. The all-female cast bring this inspiring story to life with a heartfelt message of the importance of self-belief, asking the ultimate question – who has the right to judge? With its roots in Welsh culture and its universal themes of empowerment and perseverance, Miss Wales promises to be a must-see musical event for audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Creatives/Performers: Francesca Goodridge, Dan Lloyd, Emma Reeves, Dylan Townley
Performer: Caitlan Drake
|Music and Freedom is an adaptation of the multi-award-winning Australian novel by Zoë Morrison. Written by Tim Gilvin and Grace Taylor, it is the story of Alice Haywood, a woman in her 70s who – through her friendship with her neighbour Emily – goes on a journey of rediscovery and rebirth, following the death of her abusive husband. At the climax of the show, Alice finally shakes off the ghost of her marriage when she takes an axe to the grand piano that her husband bought her. Told with a classically inflected piano score, the show has a cast of 4, which includes an on-stage virtuoso pianist.
Creatives: Tim Gilvin, Grace Taylor
Performers: Julie LeGrand, Alice Brown
|Once Upon A Carnival is written by Leian John-Baptiste, Perry Melius and Triniboi Joocie. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella (starring Whitney Houston and Brandy) meets Rio (the movie) but with a Caribbean Carnival twist. Once Upon A Carnival is a modern twist on Cinderella, about an unlucky girl whose fortune changes. Our Cece is a Black British urban princess who oozes black culture and is considered too much for the world around her. Too bold, too sassy, too loud, too dark? Cece wants to find somewhere she belongs. In facing her grief, embracing her history, heritage and culture, she finally finds a place where she fits in, a place to call home.
Creatives: Leian John-Baptiste, Triniboi Joocie, Perry Melius
Creative/Performer: Jace Mason
Performers: Sophia MacKay
|The Optician of Lampedusa – a new song cycle is based on a book by Emma Jane Kirby with musical and lyrics Tim Connor. Lampedusa, a tiny island off the coast of Italy. And one of the major gateways to Europe for refugees arriving by boat. The island’s only optician spends his day off sailing. Swimming in the water, he hears seagulls in the distance. But as he boards his boat and sails towards the sound, he comes upon a scene of human tragedy that will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Creative/Performer: Tim Connor
|Otto Weidt’s Brush & Broom Workshop for the Blind is based on the true story of Otto Weidt – a blind German man who employed Jewish workers with visual impairments during WWII and shielded them from the Nazis. Written by Amir Shoenfeld and Caitlyn Burt. When Alice, the secretary that he has fallen in love with, is transported to Auschwitz, Otto must overcome the prejudices of his brother and country in his attempt to rescue her. With visual information integrated into dialogue, lyrics and sound-design, Otto Weidt’s creative access elevates the piece for audience members of all sight levels, telling an important story of strength in diversity.
Creatives/Performers: Amir Schoenfeld, Caitlyn Burt
Performers: Jake Sawyers, Aarian Mehrbani, Gillian Dean, Natalia Blomberg
Access Support: Taylor Martin, Leighton Williams
|Pigeons is written by Celia Cruwys-Finnigan and Lucy Keirl. What makes a place home? Pigeons is an actor-muso musical which puts small-town life under a magnifying glass. “In a town that’s just a station on the Midlands line to Leeds” we meet a community of vivid local characters tending allotments, giving end of life care or scouring Grindr – all in a bid to find belonging. Unrelated lives, voices and accordions weave together into a lovably dysfunctional family. Written by actor-musicians and with furious multi-roling, instrument swapping and chaos stitched into its heart, This Country’s comedy of the mundane meets Kneehigh’s whimsy and folky stylings in this one act parlour musical.
Creatives/Performers: Lucy Keirl, Celia Cruwys-Finnigan
Performers: Ben Boskovic, Evie Hilyer-Zeigler, Jamie Ross
|Ratburger is Oliver and Matilda with a bit of Sweeney Todd in a musical adaptation of the brilliantly quirky children’s book Ratburger, by David Walliams, with book, music and lyrics by comedian/composer/songwriter /music teacher Robert White (2nd placed in Britain’s Got Talent 2018, Malcolm Hardee Award winner and more). The story is a modern-day fairytale with a proverbial edge, a hint of sinister menace and bags of fun.
Creative/Performer: Robert White
Performers: Ben Heathcote, Ruthie Heathcote
|SCHOLL is written by Ella Grace and is based on the true story of siblings Hans and Sophie Scholl, who lost their lives attempting to bring down the Nazi regime. Whilst what they did was extraordinary, SCHOLL focuses on Hans and Sophie’s human journey. Hans’ reckoning with his sexuality at a time when being queer was illegal, and how that sent him on a profound journey of personal growth. Sophie’s frustrations around not fitting the model of what she was told a young woman should be – and both of their passages through youth and into early adulthood, with all the despair, joy and hope that brings.
Creative/Performer: Ella Grace
Creative: Jill Paterson, Keziah Green
Performer: Ciara Hudson, Laura Hickie, Hannah Goodyear, Ethan Hughes
|Seashore Yuánfèn 海缘 is an original queer romantic comedy musical. Written by Nemo 杉本 Martin, Zhui Ning Chang and Nimrita Kaur. Fusion chef Lakshmi and local doctor Jingya try to quash their families’ attempts to find them partners by fake-dating one another. What starts out as a prank rapidly spirals into an elaborate con in their cosy Cornish village — with the added complication of a grand Indo-Chinese wedding planned by their families. In defiance of prevalent queer trauma in mainstream media, Seashore Yuánfèn 海缘 uses hope and active kindness to bring joy with vibrant queer lives and uplifting music.
Creatives: Zhui Ning Chan, Namaurita Kaur
Performers: Carmen Law, Ayesha Patel
|Song of the Far Isles is an actor-musician musical for family audiences written by Matt Borgatti, Mary Erskine and Will Dollard of Goblin Theatre. Based on the book by Nick Bowling, it’s full of magical, atmospheric, folky fun. Set in the fantasy world of The Far Isles – a place that lives and breathes music, where everyone is born with a birth instrument that represents them (like His Dark Materials’ Daemons). When their way of life is stopped by an order of silence, it’s young hero Oran who must go in search of a way to bring music back to the world. It’s a musical adventure with witches, sea-monsters, a pirate opera and a relevant message about young people having a voice in the world.
Creatives/Performers: Matt Borgatti, Mary Erskine, Will Dollard
Performers: Charlott Grayson, Matthew Rutherford, Kathlyn Nicole-Milne, Finn Anderson
|The Wife of Michael Cleary is a new folk musical inspired by the true story of Bridget Cleary written by Maz O’Connor. Bridget was a young dressmaker from Co. Tipperary, Ireland, who in 1895 was burned to death by her husband and family because they believed her to be a fairy changeling. The story was widely covered in the press in Ireland and Great Britain. It has previously served as inspiration for music and literature, but this is the first time the story has been addressed in musical theatre. The Wife of Michael Cleary explores faith, superstition and imperialism at a decisive moment in Irish history, whilst shining a light on the pressing contemporary issue of violence against women.
Creative/Performer: Maz O’Connor, Martin Bassindale, Tinuke Craig, Alan Flanagan
Performers: Phillipe Sands, Zands Duggan, Brendan O’Rourke, Molly Lynch,
Ross O’Donnellan, Rebecca Gilhooley, Corinne Martin, Nicola Lyons, Keith Dunphy, Dale Mathurin
|Ukulele Days: a new musical is written by Amy Clare Tasker. At the Seaside Ukulele Festival, music brings a community together – but first, there are long-standing rivalries, family dynamics, and exploding egos to sort out. Think Pitch Perfect meets Much Ado About Nothing. Ex-bandmates Bibi and Ben compete for the top prize at the songwriting contest, alongside up-and-coming “neo-ukulele sci-fi electro-pop” duo Cosmic Echo. Festival hosts June and Jeremy create a Peace, Love, and Ukulele™ atmosphere, despite their teenage daughter Joy’s eye-rolling. Enthusiastic newcomer Robin captures everything on video for their YouTube channel. Ukulele Days is a new musical for 8 actor-musicians and the world’s cheeriest instrument.
Creatives/Performers: Amy Clare Tasker, Rob Gathercole, Susie Italiano
Performer: Anne Marie Piazza, Matthew Rutherford