Six writing teams working on new Hippodrome musicals

Published: 11 April 2024
Reporter: Steve Orme

Birmingham Hippodrome’s new musical theatre writers group: back row (from left): Ryan Carter, Matthew Harvey, Tyriq Baker, Dominique La Victoria, composer and musical director Tim Sutton, Brian Mackenwells, writer and dramaturg Victoria Saxton, David Payne, Nyasha Gudo, Nathan Lawrence. Front row: Jenni Pinnock, Krystal Malin, Melisa Camba, Lakesha Arie-Angelo, Helen Arney, Gaby Songui

Birmingham Hippodrome has welcomed 15 musical theatre writers and creatives to its new musical theatre writers’ group.

Six writing teams will work with the Hippodrome’s new musical theatre department to develop a new musical over the course of 12 months.

The group will attend monthly sessions at Birmingham Hippodrome led by writer and dramaturg Victoria Saxton and composer and musical director Tim Sutton. Each member of the writing teams receives a bursary of £2,000 along with travel expenses to attend the sessions.

The writers will have an opportunity to share their work with an audience at two points during the year and will receive ongoing mentorship from the Hippodrome after the end of the project.

The Hippodrome’s head of new musical theatre Deirdre O’Halloran said, “it was fantastic to welcome our incredibly talented writing teams for their first session of our flagship talent development programme. We received 180 applications, reinforcing just how crucial programmes like this are.”

The writing teams and new musicals in development are: Dominique La Victoria and Melisa Camba whose musical This Is My Name takes audiences back to the 1869 Spanish colonial Philippines; David Payne, Aron Sood and Nyasha Gudo whose Andy’s Man Club—The Rock Opera tells the true story of how Andy’s Man Club developed into one of the country’s “biggest and most successful” suicide prevention charities; Matthew Harvey and Ryan Carter whose Reveries centres on a small group of friends who return to their hometown to dig up a time capsule they buried as children; Gaby Songui, Tyriq Baker and Kristal Malin whose Pit Stop and Wash follows the growth of five people and a magical washing machine; Jenni Pinnock, Brian Mackenwells and Helen Arney whose The First All-Ladies Cambridge Fire Brigade catalogues the story of five women at Girton College, Cambridge in the 1870s who form the first all-female fire brigade; and Lakesha Arie-Angelo and Nathan Lawrence who are developing Untitled (A Very Serious Unserious Black Hair Court Room Drama The Musical) about texturism within the black hair industry and capitalism, set to original 1990s pop, R’n’B and hip-hop.

O’Halloran added, “the breadth of exciting ideas being explored by our six writing teams is a testament to the creativity and vision within the UK musical theatre ecology right now. We can’t wait to work with our teams to develop their ideas further for a range of scales and platforms.”

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