German Munoz, 24 January 2015

We first discussed the pros of a festival of new musicals. We thought a festival is a

good way to generate interest in new musicals, as well as concentrate time and

energy into a single event (i.e. marketing, reviewers, interested producers would go to

a single venue to see multiple new shows).

We discussed whether this would be a curated event or if it would be an open access

event like the Edinburgh Fringe.

Shoreditch Town Hall was mentioned as a possible venue, a place with different

rooms for different shows to perform. We could have readings, open mic sessions for

individual scenes/songs, a scratch night, a pitching event, maybe a panel, etc. It could

be a low risk event for both performers and producers.

Jen Toksvig stopped by and mentioned her The Larder FB group and as places for resources for new musical writers (check them

out, she's awesome). Jen Toksvig said to contact her (via her site above) if we want

her to do a session on Arts Council applications for R&D for a new musical.

It was mentioned that the current opportunities are of two types:

1) Organisation dictates its needs and you try and meet them, along with a deadline to

be ready by.

2) You dictate what you need and either write a grant proposal or hire a company to

set it up for you (i.e. The Larder).

Festival models in NYC also come in two flavours:

A) NAMT model (National Alliance for Musical Theatre). An organisation curates a

small festival and invites producers from all over the country to some and see the


B) NYMF (NY Musical Theatre Festival). You pay them money and they will put on

your show.

The main point of the discussion turned to what the goal would be for a festival like

this? Would it be for development, or would it be a showcase of new, risk-taking work?

It's a very good question, and it would dictate the format of the event (i.e. readings vs.

works-in-progress stagings vs. full production). Also if we would feature work at

different stages of development.

It was also mentioned a few times that MMD (Mercury Musical Developments) are

planning a new musicals festival some time in the next year. Might be worth checking

that out, folks.

We eventually drifted into talking about how the British theatre establishment generally

considers musicals to be less worthy than plays, and that we need opportunities to

show work that is not created in the “Broadway/West End model”, but that can have a

lot of dramatic depth and be challenging pieces of art.

We didn't finish the session with a clear plan for a festival, but a lot of interesting ideas

were thrown around. I think it would have to start out small and simple, a couple of

days in a Central London venue, readings only with simple musical arrangements.

Inviting producers to come and see work on its feet. We could see how that goes and

take it from there.

If you are interested in helping organise a festival, please contact me:

[email protected]



musicals, festival, new, newmusicals, Festival

Comments: 1

German Munoz, 26 January 2015

UPDATE: I emailed MMD and they confirmed they are preparing a new musicals festival later this year. I am prepared to

wait and see what they have to offer, in the hops that this separate festival idea could complement them in some way. Stay

tuned folks…