I called this session because I started playing the ukulele about a year ago, and I would really love to incorporate it into a show - hopefully with other actor-musicians and their instruments. Several people came along to share references and discuss different ways they’ve seen actor-muso shows created.
Thank you, Kevin Shen, Phoebe Mulcahy, Chris Grady, James, Lloyd, and Sonali!

Training courses:
MA course at Mountview for actor-musicians
BA course at Rose Bruford
Royal Conservatory in Glasgow
Actors who can play instruments / musicians who can act?
Actor-musos aim to bring both skills up to a similar level.

Theatres/Companies known for actor-muso shows:
Watford Palace Theatre
Waterman Theatre
Hornchurch - has an extensive repertoire of actor-muso shows.
John Doyle
Woolsey Theatre in Ipswich
Brave Bold (new company in Bristol)
Southwark Playhouse
I'm sure there are more - please add them in the comments!

Specific shows to look up:
The Canary and the Crow
Medea Electronica
Islander (Paines Plough)
Here Lies Love
Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee
Electrolyte (Edinburgh Fringe 2019)
Summer & Smoke (with 8 pianos??)
Octet (Dave Malloy) - a capella show with 8 singers, no other instruments
Sexy Lamp (Katie Arnstein at VAULT festival 2020)

Producing considerations:
Different rates of pay for actors vs musicians vs actor-musicians
Is the art leading the decision to make an actor-muso show? Or the budget? Are you doing it so you don’t have to pay musicians?
Often companies start by making a “minimal viable version” of the show, before developing a fuller version with potentially more instruments/ more performers.

Artistic considerations:
What is the function of the music? Are the songs part of the narrative drive? Or emotional expression?
Is it a musical? A play with songs? Gig theatre? A song cycle? A concert?
What does a musician need to add to their performance to make it “theatre”? (example: Lady Gaga, Madonna are very theatrical. Adele 'chats shit' the whole show between songs and makes a very entertaining night.)
Unusual instruments? 'Earth harp' has massive strings that stretch the whole length of the performance space, so that the entire room is the sound box.
Using the stage design as an instrument (drumming on the set, props that make noise, etc)

Audience & engagement:
Does the public know what we mean by 'actor-muso show' (is there another name)?
Making sure the music is mentioned in the marketing copy!!
Schools outreach - it’s a great bonus to bring instruments and music to students, and it can give to an additional way in to schools, via music department or theatre department.