Under the new strategy of its chief executive Fiona Gibson, Capital Theatres intends to develop its third theatre space, The Studio, starting with the creation of exciting new Scottish musicals. In a producing partnership with Pitlochry Festival Theatre, it is launching a brand-new Musical Commissioning Hub as the first step towards achieving this.
In this first step of the new strategy Capital Theatres and Pitlochry Festival Theatre seek to collaborate with musicians, writers and artists to develop Scottish talent (wherever they now live) and cultural output, so that their stages become a home for great Scottish musicals year on year, which could ultimately be shared on tour with venues across the country.
CEO of Capital Theatres, Fiona Gibson, said:
“Music is such an important part of Scotland’s heritage. As we emerge through lockdown and social distancing, we believe Scottish audiences have an appetite for new musicals celebrating Scotland’s culture, spirit and humour. This unprecedented period of our venues being closed provides a unique window of opportunity to progress new Scottish works at a time when enjoyment and entertainment has never been more necessary
“Scotland has a rich history of creating high quality stories that we want to bring to life through performance. As the impact of Covid-19 deepens within our society, there is a real risk that new talent, and new creative content, will not come to the fore. This will not only result in a dearth of new work to be presented on our stages, and those of our comparators around the country, in the years to come, but will diminish the pool of creative Scottish talent that we seek to support and highlight. This Commissioning Hub presents us with the opportunity to invest in and develop the quality and diversity of works here, placing Capital Theatres and Pitlochry Festival Theatre at the heart of cultural richness in Scotland.”
Writers will be asked to submit an outline for a new musical alongside details of their previous work to be considered by a panel of experts.
The panel features multi-award-winning composer and creator of musicals Howard Goodall; multi-award-winning Scottish singer and actress Barbara Dickson; broadcaster and lead singer of Deacon Blue, Ricky Ross; Robert Softley Gale, artistic director of Birds of Paradise theatre company who brought us My Left/Right Foot; writer and director of the Royal Lyceum Theatre; David Greig (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and most recently Local Hero); theatre director and radio DJ Matthew Xia; award-winning producer of Six and The Play That Goes Wrong Kenny Wax; Olivier Award winner Katie Brayben, acclaimed for her role as Carole King in the London production of Beautiful; co-director of Freedom Studios Aisha Khan; and co-chairs Fiona Gibson, CEO Capital Theatres and Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s artistic director Elizabeth Newman.
It is anticipated that the winning submission will be invited to produce a scratch performance at The Studio in Edinburgh in spring 2021 and Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s new Studio Theatre in summer 2021. Submissions open on 16 November and close on 15 December.
Scottish singer and actress Barbara Dickson said: “The Musical Commissioning Hub is a fantastic innovation for Scotland and beyond. I’m delighted to be involved; it is wonderful to see Capital Theatres and Pitlochry Festival Theatre teaming up. They are great and both are taking lots of positive steps to help artists during this difficult time. This new endeavour will be wonderful for artists, but it will also be great for audiences. I can’t wait to return to these two beautiful Theatres to watch this new work and celebrate Scottish Theatre through new drama and music.”
Elizabeth Newman, artistic director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre, added: “We know that audiences are longing to come back together for a good night out so we couldn’t think of a better way to welcome them back than with some exciting new musicals created by the very best Scottish talent. Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Capital Theatres both have a long history of welcoming audiences to experience great musicals. And it felt vital that we develop this new work to offer hope to everyone that we will be back soon – laughing, crying, and challenging ourselves to make sense of our extraordinary world together.”