Theatre Royal Stratford East’s annual Musical Theatre Workshop will take place 17-28 July as 12 artists take over the building to develop 6 new musicals under the guidance of TRSE’s artistic team including MT New Writing Manager Sevan Tavoukdjian and MTW facilitators Fred Carl and Robert Lee, specialist tutors from NYU’s prestigious Tisch’s School of the Arts which runs the world’s only graduate programme focused on musical theatre writing.
This year’s participants were selected through a year-long search of industry recommendations, showcases, scratch nights, Edinburgh Fringe and London Fringe productions. Each partnership is brand new and over the two weeks the writers will begin developing 6 brand new British musicals that speak to our current and future lives while pushing the boundaries of form and structure.
The 12 artists include international gospel and blues recording artist Izo Fitzroy, The Voice UK finalist Vince Kidd, BRIT school graduates Lakeisha Lynch Stevens and Dominic Powell, and SOHO/Royal Court writers group alum Joyce Lee. Joining them will be Tom Wright, Ruth Chan, Abi Zakarian, Gabby Wong, Colm Molloy, Arnoud Breitbarth, and Tori-Allen Martin.
Musical theatre is a key priority for TRSE, being an art form that has the power to bridge gaps across cultures and overcome language barriers. TRSE’s vision is to break new ground with musicals that bring contemporary and urban music into the mainstream of British theatre. The aim is to revitalise the musical form, to create work that is relevant to and informed by today’s Britain and attract new and diverse audiences.
To realise this vision, TRSE launched its Musical Theatre Initiative (MTI) in 1998, giving writers and musicians a development process to bring their own voices into the context of theatre, using words and music or beats. Without such support, there is no natural bridge into musical theatre for much of the music-writing talent that is abundant in Britain today.
The Musical Theatre Workshop (MTW) is a key component of MTI gathering a broad range of participants including singers, songwriters, musicians, music producers, MCs, poets, novelists, spoken word artists, DJs, composers and other professional artists to cross genres and create forward-thinking and boundary-breaking new pieces of musical theatre. The participants are invited via open calls and existing relationships with new and emerging artists.
Sevan Tavoukdjian, TRSE’s MT New Writing Manager, said: I am beyond excited by this year’s group of MTW artists. I was so inspired by last year’s group to keep finding, supporting and developing new and undiscovered voices. The work they generate will push the form and challenge the industry to support brave, bold, and new voices and stories.
Kerry Michael, Artistic Director at Theatre Royal Stratford East said: MTW has changed and grown each summer as we respond to the needs and wants of artists and as we look ahead to the growth of MT form and story-telling.. These artists represent our promise and dedication to developing new voices and new British musical theatre while bridging the gaps between artists of all genres to create game-changing musicals.