Monday, 23 February 2009
MMD invited us all to a fascinating discussion about the rise of small-scale musicals. It was held at Jermyn Street Theatre where the production company Primavera are showing Sondheim's "Saturday Night".
The discussion was conducted by journalist Mark Shenton and included representatives from The Union Theatre, the Menier Chocolate Factory, Chris Grady of Musical Theatre Matters, MD/Composer Cathy Jayes and Tom Littler from Primavera's production company.
The tiny theatre was bursting to the seams because so many of the matine audience wanted to stay. The discussion covered the reasons behind the growing trend of smaller productions of musicals, and the implications for audiences and artists of this rapidly developing form in the UK. The most interesting part of the discussion was the growing need for some small Off-West End Theatres, like the Off-Broadway Theatres in New York, which would be able to get new musicals up and running. There is very little scope for learning your craft on the job and everyone agreed that this was the best way to nurture new talent. It has become clear that musicals are not something the Arts Council has really wanted to get involved with and so it is small scale companies like Primavera who are getting musical theatre on. But even they have not ventured into new musical theatre productions. Although I believe they are putting on some workshops during the Saturday Night run.
It was a very good natured and enthusiastic discussion and there was a great feeling of excitement amongst the panel and the audience. It was one of those moments when you felt that people were speaking from their hearts about their passion, and that those listening wanted change. I went off to the pub to continue the talk with Cathy and some of the other people on the panel. It was also good to catch up with Chris Grady.
Posted by Teresa Howard at Monday, February 23, 2009