As the recession of the past few years loosens its grip, producers of musical theatre in the UK are beginning to take more risks with new writing. Two organisations, Musical Theatre Network (MTN) and Mercury Musical Developments (MMD) are collaborating to launch BEAM: 2016, a biennial national showcase of contemporary musical theatre
BEAM:2016 will take place at the Park Theatre, London, on 8-9 March 2016, and will encourage and develop musical theatre across the UK. It’s a two-day showcase event, preceded by a series of ‘pitching days’, that are taking place in regional venues across the UK, and designed to foster a community of artists who will then forge connections with their local venue.
The showcase combines live pitches and book-in-hand presentations of new work from artists and venues around the UK. There will also be panel discussions, provocations, networking opportunities, and two Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation masterclasses. The first masterclass will be a practical demonstration and discussion by leading industry figures on ‘Originating New Work’. The second will centre around the practicalities of workshops, industry showcases and backers auditions.
At key producing venues from Scotland, England and Wales, the two companies hope to discover writers who are new to the form, as well as highlight the work being done by more established practitioners.
Executive Director of MMD Victoria Saxton told TPR: “It’s going to be an incredible two days at the Park Theatre. We’ll open with a keynote speaker, panel discussions. There’s also going to be two Andrew Lloyd Webber foundation master classes. There’ll be networking and provocations events all over the building, as well as the showcase itself running simultaneously.”
She continued: Hopefully, you’ll come along to the event and think: “Oh no, which room shall I be in? I want to be in all of them at once! It’ll be a very buzzy, exciting atmosphere.”
The first of the pre-event pitching days is taking place on 16 October 2015, with other opportunities happening throughout October and November as follows:
- 16&17October 2015–Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Glasgow
- 18October 2015–Dundee Rep
- 23rdOctober 2015– Teatre Royal Stratford East
- 27October 2015–Curve, Leicester
- 29October 2015–Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
- 3rdNovember 2015–Soho Theatre, London
- 10November 2015–West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
Caroline Routh, Executive Producer of MTN said: “BEAM is going to provide an incredibly exciting opportunity for us to find those artists from all around the UK who are making new and innovative musical theatre, and we are thrilled that our showcase will help to contribute to their development and to the future of this art form.”
Writers interested in applying for a pitching slot should go here for more information.
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