This year’s annual Musical Theatre Workshop (MTW) will take place from 11 to 22 July at Theatre Royal Stratford East (TRSE). 15 artists will take over the building and begin work developing seven new musicals, under the expert guidance of TRSE’s artistic team and tutors from NYU Tisch’s School of the Arts.
TRSE’s vision is to break new ground by producing musicals that bring contemporary and urban music into mainstream British theatre. The aim is revitalise the musical form by creating work that is relevant to, and informed by, today’s Britain.
TRSE’s MT New Writing Manager, Fadi ‘Sevan’ Tavoukdjian, said, “I hope MTW 2016 starts a new wave of serious focus on the development of musical theatre that moves beyond the safe, traditional stories and forms we have come to know and love. These seven projects look ahead to what comes next in musical theatre.”
To look out for among the projects being developed are:
• The Jungle – an innovative piece about the unheard stories from the Calais camp
• Sinking Water – a folk-chamber examining the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockling disaster
• Wasted – a rock musical about the controversial lives of the Bronte siblings
• Kali’s Toenail – a high kitsch pop musical about clawing back power and social change in post-Independence India
It’s an incredibly exciting workshop and artists involved include playwright Bola Agbaje, who won an Olivier Award in 2008 for her first play, Gone Too Far! Joining Agbaje are MOBO Award winner Zara Macfarlane and Perfect Pitch 2016 Award winners Craig Adams and Daniel York Loh.
Kerry Michael, Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East said, “I’m excited by the promise of these artists and projects as we strive to expand the canon of British Musical Theatre. We’re firmly committed to bringing and developing new voices to the fore and that’s exactly what MTW 2016 is focused on.”