Last week saw the launch of “Musical Theatre Darkroom“, a new artist development programme that aims to support the generation of new small-to-midscale musicals. The new initiative is based on independent theatre studio China Plate’s successful Darkroom artist development programme, which has run since 2004, and is led by China Plate and the Musical Theatre Network. China Plate director Paul Warwick explains the ethos behind it…
What do you get if you put four musical theatre makers and four contemporary theatre makers* in a room together? Not the opening to a bad joke, but rather the start of what we hope will be a really exciting artists development programme that we’re about to launch with Musical Theatre Network in partnership with Royal & Derngate Northampton, South Hill Park Arts Centre, Harlow Playhouse and Farnham Maltings’ greenhouse initiative.
Through the Musical Theatre Darkroom, we hope to inspire innovative musicals in an environment where experienced theatre makers new to the musical theatre world can influence and be influenced by established musical theatre practitioners – and vice versa.
Collaboration is at the heart of everything we do at China Plate, so we’re always interested in what might happen when you bring together artists who might not ordinarily meet.
- Imagine a show made by Pippa Cleary or Tim Sutton working with Caroline Horton or Bola Agbaje?
- What would a Rash Dash musical look like?
- Might Mimi Poskitt and Ella Grace work together on a site-specific musical? And who might see it?
Could working in the musical form help some of these artists reach vast new audiences? Remember, more tickets are sold in London’s West End alone than for Premiership football matches nationally!
Equally exciting is the prospect that the project might expose experienced musical theatre makers to different creative processes that might further encourage innovation within an already vibrant musical theatre sector – next spring Benjamin Till will open a musical written by a computer, for example
The honest truth is that we have no idea what will happen when these guys meet in a room at Royal & Derngate in Northampton early next year and no idea where these creative dialogues might lead. Like everyone else, we’ll have to wait for the pitching event next May to find out. I guess that is the whole point of the experiment and why it’s so exiting to be going on this adventure with such talented artists and our fantastic partners.
Watch this space!
(* please forgive the clumsy distinction)