Four team up for film of new “music video” musical

Published: 20 March 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

Clive Rowe and Lem Knights in Cells

Metta Theatre, a production company devoted to British musical theatre, has joined forces with three major regional venues to release Cells, a film of a new musical written and recorded entirely during lockdown.

Writer and director Poppy Burton-Morgan and composer Ben Glasstone are behind Cells which features Metta’s new patron Clive Rowe and Lem Knights.

The three venues, Northampton’s Royal and Derngate, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, will each host episodes of Cells on their web site. The first will be released on Monday 19 April, with subsequent episodes released daily. The full film will be available on 26 April along with an album released on Spotify and other digital platforms.

Burton-Morgan, who in 2020 won the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for musical theatre book-writing for her adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's In the Willows, said, "I've been talking to Clive about writing something specifically for him ever since we met four years ago, so I'm thrilled to have this opportunity.

“It's been a wild adventure creating a music video musical for this brave new world of digital theatre. Hopefully we've succeeded in taking the best of both theatre and film to create something intimate and unique."

Cells is mixed and mastered by Simon Small and the musical director is Phil Cornwell. Director of photography is Jon Dickinson and the film is edited by Will Reynolds. Cornwell plays keys and double bass and Curtis Volp is on guitar.

The film will be free on YouTube with a suggested donation of £3 per episode and £10 for the whole film. Proceeds will go to the three regional theatres to help support their recovery from the pandemic.