Authors and composers will come together next week to plot the next stages of musical theatre in Wales through an innovative new project entitled 10 Minute Musicals / Open Space, run by director Angharad Lee’s new company Leeway Productions.
Five authors and five composers will combine talents for peer to peer learning, creating, collaborating and co-authoring work and discussions about the musical theatre genre in various locations around Cardiff and the Valleys from July 4-8. The week will culminate with the sharing of work and discussions about the art form at The Other Room, Cardiff on July 8 providing a supportive “safe space” for artists to explore and develop their own practice.
“We have seen a positive shift in our attitudes towards musical theatre in Wales recently.” says Angharad Lee, “But I still feel that we shy away from a genuine grassroots investigation of the genre. The question I will be asking the artists is: ‘How do you make a story sing, and not just the artists?’ The approach to the week will be very task driven, much in the same vain as I would work with actors. Roles may be switched and specific tasks will be set by a group of year 5 students I am working with at the moment who are also developing their lyric writing skills. This will hopefully open up a discussion about who exactly are we writing for and why.”
Lee, whose most recent work includes the successful To Kill a Machine added, “I am keen to open out the discussions to artists who wouldn’t necessarily find themselves writing musicals. I want to challenge form and our approach when it comes to assembling such productions. It is an age old problem that sometimes artists can feel hugely disempowered when it comes to how work is commissioned in theatre in general. Everyone wants to be commissioned but it is vital that there is playtime and safe spaces to explore one’s own practice as part of an artists continued development. It can sometimes seem like moments of dreams rather than reality. To be able to pay artists to learn from each other and to be inspired by each other is an absolute joy.”
Key organisations throughout Wales have also been keen to lend support while numerous programmers and venues have confirmed the clear need for this kind of work. Among those confirmed to be in partnership with 10 Minute Musicals / Open Space are Wales Millennium Centre and Blackwood Miners Institute.