We love new musicals!

I’m writing this from the Sitzprobe of THE BATTLE OF BOAT – we’ve come to the end of our rehearsal week here at Sevenoaks and are preparing to move into the Kingston Rose next week for tech. ‘WE LOVE NEW MUSICALS!’ has been the chant this week – dealing with the usual exhaustion, exhilaration, joys and challenges of eating, sleeping and breathing the show. Our young cast have astonished us with their levels of professionalism and courage in approaching thisRead more

A little light reading

I’m a huge bookworm. It’s a problem. I’m forever buying, lending and recommending books. I can’t get through an airport without buying at least three and online bookshopping is something of an addiction. Maybe this post is just to prove that I really do read them all – but I wanted to share some of my favourite books about theatre and creativity. 1) Theatre for Children by David Wood This is a wonderful book filled with ideas and provocations about whatRead more

The Battle of Boat

I’ve just finished an intense and inspiring week with the cast of the National Youth Music Theatre‘s summer show THE BATTLE OF BOAT. We survived a week of the usual NYMT madness – 7am firedrills, more sponge puddings than you can possibly imagine, daily reprints of the script and everyone on different page numbers, three course breakfasts that send you into a haze before you’ve reached morning tea break.. And 27 of the most brilliant young people chosen from all overRead more

Prodigy original cast recording

We made a cast recording. It was amazing. And hard. After the huge success of PRODIGY at the St James Theatre last summer, the company worked together to raise the funds to able to head into the studio. We worked with the amazing Nikki and Joe at Auburn Jam who are the ABSOLUTE GENIUS BEST in the business and dealt admirably with not only the actor/muso madness AND the Jake and Pippa madness but also the general Prodigy team madness – theyRead more

#BEAM16

… What does it stand for? As an acronym, nothing. As a collection of the most passionate and committed people from all over the country, it stands for all things NEW MUSICAL – a two day gathering of writers, composers, lyricists, actors, directors, producers, programmers, representatives from regional theatres, arts professionals and industry-based musical theatre lovers who all came together at the Park Theatre to share and hear work across the spectrum of British Musical Theatre. A bit like Cannes – forRead more

Out in the Army

These pictures are of the Spring 2016 workshop of OUT IN THE ARMY by James Robert Moore, based on the book by James Wharton. It tells the story of the first openly gay soldier in the British Military and how he fought to overcome institutional prejudice and hatred at the highest levels whilst fighting for his country in Iraq. James and I have been working on the piece for a little under two years and are developing it with choreographer DarraghRead more

Midnight thoughts on Assistant Directors

A longish and perhaps sentimental post about THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR. Any assistant director, but at this point in time, especially Cherilyn Woo. I took a workshop last week for aspiring directors and writers in Singapore and one of them asked me the question ‘what’s the difference between the director and the assistant director?’ After the initial caveats about it being hugely dependent on the personalities of both director and assistant, plus everyone else in the room and the scope of theRead more

A very long ramble about casting. Make tea first.

Over the last few days I’ve told a few actor friends various bits of this and they have asked/ requested me to put it into a form that can be shared more widely. Apparently I’m interesting.. Who knew?.. After the 43rd page it may be less interesting. Here goes. I should probably start with the caveat that much of this is applicable mainly to smaller scale jobs, certainly the big musical casting machine operates in a big musical casting machineRead more

Thoughts. Notes. Our Prodigy team.

I am walking very slowly today. System shutdown due to having too many programmes open at once? We are about to start tech for Prodigy at the St James Theatre and the team have just returned from an intense and quite mind blowing week of rehearsals in Sevenoaks, with rewrites every day, up to five rehearsals happening at once and scheduling for the next 24 hours taking the entire lunch break. Here are some things I will want to remember..Read more

Imaginate

I’ve just spent a glorious weekend at the Imaginate festival in Edinburgh looking for new shows, creatives and collaborators for me and for SRT. Making theatre for children is something that I’m so proud to do and this weekend has inspired me all over again. That feeling of delight and amazement that you get in a perfect moment of theatre – seeing it multiplied a hundred times across the faces of tiny little people who often wouldn’t be able to articulate whyRead more

Prodigy

This summer I’m directing the National Youth Music Theatre’s new commission – a musical by Jake Brunger and Pippa Cleary called PRODIGY. It follows the ups and downs of five young musicians in a classical music competition – X Factor for instrumentalists! The NYMT has been going for nearly 40 years and offers young people aged between 11 and 23 the chance to develop their craft and work towards professionally led productions during their holidays. It’s amazing to be part ofRead more

Ten things you didn’t know about Jerry Herman

1) Jerry originally went to college to study design. Frank Loesser persuaded him to quit and enrol in a theatre course. 2) “Hello, Dolly” wasn’t supposed to be called “Hello, Dolly.” It was initially called “A Damned Insufferable Woman” until Louis Armstrong released a certain single which made number one and knocked the Beatles off the top spot – the world had heard the theme tune – “Hello, Dolly” was christened! 3) Mame paid back it’s entire investment in 24 weeks ofRead more

Jerry’s Girls Rehearsal Pictures

We had a visit from the lovely Darren Bell today who braved the oestrogen of the rehearsal room at the Menier Chocolate Factory to come and document some of the unfolding madness that is Jerry’s Girls. I don’t THINK Ria Jones was banging a massive drum or AJ Casey was sliding into splits at the time.. Though ‘SLY’ (Sarah Louise Young) was almost certainly treating us to an impromptu rendition of one of her many alter ego’s.. This is theRead more