I have rejoined MMD (Mercury Musical Developments). This is one of the few societies set up to support musical theatre writers and composers in this country. Over the last couple of years I have had little time to be part of anything because there has been so much to do on POSSESSED, but now I feel the need to belong again. The salon evenings they run are extremely helpful and interesting. I am hoping to get the Arts Council proposal in by the end of the week and it will be useful to practise my craft while I am waiting for the ACE results, which take twelve weeks.
When I first joined MMD I got the chance to have a master class with John Sparks at the Old Vic. John is the Artistic Director of the Theatre Building Chicago and the Academy of New Musical Theatre in LA. It was terribly exciting to have. not only the book, but also the music and lyrics criticised by such an experienced practitioner. My lyrics had never been discussed in a technical way before and I have been able to analyse what I do in a far more informed way since then.
The society also runs workshops and master classes with a whole host of other brilliant people, from all walks of musical theatre including Francis Matthews, Jeremy Sams, Mark Warman, David Wood and Stiles and Drewe. The next MMD Salon is on 15th November and is about Musical Theatre Development in the USA. I have put it in my diary and hope to attend. The USA is bursting with new musical theatre talent, but they have a history of nurturing it. As the theatrical genre that is one the highest earners in the West End it seems rather odd that we, as a nation, do not do more to encourage this art form.