Musical theatre showcase to be held in Northampton

Published: 22 July 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

BEAM2020, the third industry showcase of new British musical theatre, is to take place outside London for the first time—in Northampton.

Musical Theatre Network (MTN) and Mercury Musical Developments (MMD) decided on a new venue because the vast majority of new British musicals are first staged outside London.

BEAM will include presentations of about 35 new musicals in development along with masterclasses, networking opportunities and panel discussions.

The showcase was held in London in 2016 and 2018. To date, more than 20 of the musicals shared at BEAM have gone on to be fully staged, and writers have found producers, venue partners, investors, agents and development partners as a result of their presentations at BEAM.

Jim Barne and Kit Buchan, writers of romantic comedy The Season, said, “after our showcase at BEAM2018 we found ourselves in conversation with several theatres and producers—conversations we could otherwise never have hoped to hold.

“As a result, two independent producers agreed to collaborate on the show which will receive its first production at Royal and Derngate and New Wolsey, Ipswich in November.

“We also secured an agent off the back of the event and subsequently won the Stiles and Drewe mentorship award—a monumental injection of energy which we might not have even applied for without the confidence and encouragement we derived from BEAM.

“It’s almost impossible to exaggerate the significance that moment had on our careers. BEAM has inspired much-needed confidence in the potential of our material and our ability to produce professional, individual work.”

The first stage of BEAM is made up of 17 pitching days spread across venues around the UK where creative teams developing new musicals can pitch their ideas. From these, a nationally representative selection will be offered financial assistance to present their work to the industry at the BEAM2020 showcase at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 March 2020.

BEAM pitching days will begin on Wednesday 18 September at the Bush Theatre, London. Other venues include Leicester, Glasgow, Ipswich, London, Cardiff, Leeds, Southampton and Manchester. New pitching day venues are Birmingham Hippodrome, Hackney Empire and Graeae Theatre Company.

MMD and MTN want to hear from anyone with an idea for a new musical or who is already developing one to pitch for inclusion in BEAM2020. At least 50% of the writing team must be resident in the UK and at least one of the writers must have a track record as a professional artist. No previous experience of developing a musical is necessary.

Full information on locations and pitching is available at the Mercury Music Developments web site. The deadline for applications is midnight on Monday 26 August.

Tickets for BEAM2020 can be booked at the Royal and Derngate web site.