Burnt Lemon Theatre and The REcreate Agency announce the launch of their brand-new musical theatre development scheme, Overture. In partnership with prolific musical theatre venues across the UK, Overture aims to develop the skills and practices of underrepresented musical theatre writing teams – helping them build relationships with venues and leading UK musical theatre talent, as well as developing behind the scenes skills integral to the creation of new musicals.
Applications are open until Sunday 18 June, and are welcomed from those from underrepresented backgrounds in the UK musical theatre scene; including those from the Global Majority, working class backgrounds, neurodiverse and disabled teams, trans and gender non-conforming and female-led teams. Six successful teams will be selected for the pilot programme, where they will be awarded £1000 in seed funding, 10 skill development workshops led by world-class practitioners, mentorship, peer-to-peer learning, and an industry showcase – as well as next step opportunities from partner venues. At least 50% of the places will be for female and non-binary led teams. An additional travel bursary is available to ensure participation is accessible for teams from all across the UK.
Overture considers all areas of musical theatre creation, providing indispensable artistic development opportunities and learning, and a clear path to production that is vitally missing in the UK. Burnt Lemon Theatre and The REcreate Agency are both independent, artist-led companies who have seen this gap in the industry first-hand. Overture was developed to provide support and learning to artists directly from those already in the industry, who have launched their own new musicals onto the stage and continue to do so. This is a unique opportunity within the industry to be supported by not only recognised venues and new funding streams, but to work closely with leading contemporaries who have experienced it all themselves.
The programme will allow musical creators – including writers, composers, directors and producers – the opportunity to learn about all aspects of what it takes to bring a musical to the stage, with musical theatre practitioners from all corners of the industry delivering workshops, including: ‘The Writer/Director Relationship’; ‘Writing and Devising New Musicals Collaboratively’; ‘Orchestrations and Arrangements’ and; ‘Who You Need and When You Need Them’.
Venue partners, including The Other Palace, Birmingham Hippodrome, Sheffield Theatres, MAST Mayflower Southampton, Hope Mill Theatre, Warwick Arts Centre and China Plate, will provide mentoring support, feed into workshops and, most importantly, will continue supporting the companies with their next steps of development and programming opportunities, after the scheme has ended.
Hannah Benson, Artistic Director at Burnt Lemon Theatre said: “As a company developing musicals, it can feel like an uphill battle figuring out what you need at every stage of a musical’s development to take the production from page to stage. So often we feel like we’re running without support, so I’m thrilled that we can attempt to mitigate this and provide an opportunity for artists to learn the foundations of making a musical, removing some of the hurdles that Burnt Lemon and many of our peers have faced along the way.”
Emily Beecher, Co-creative Director and Producer at The REcreate Agency said: “Developing a musical is a huge undertaking from start to finish, and it’s even harder for underrepresented creatives. Creating The Good Enough Mum’s Club with an all female team has been a decade-long project for me, and so I’m delighted to help launch Overture – a new programme that will support musical theatre teams to better understand the intricacies of navigating musical theatre creation, whilst also allowing them to develop their unique voices, something that’s cutting missing from the UK musical scene.”
Joseph Houston, AD at Hope Mill Theatre, said: “We are thrilled to be joining as a partner for Overture. Hope Mill Theatre is passionate about producing musicals, and with a focus specifically on new musicals. In order for the sector to find new homegrown, grassroots voices, we need programmes such as this to support, inspire and nurture individuals. It is really exciting to be able to do this in collaboration with other like-minded organisations, especially regionally, and we look forward to seeing how this inaugural programme can offer the kind of support that the UK musical genre so desperately needs and how it can continue to grow in the future.”
Applications for Overture open today, Tuesday 30 May until Sunday 18 June. The six selected teams will be announced at the end of July, and workshops will run from September – November, followed by a Showcase of work at The Other Palace. For more information, or to apply, please visit: www.overturemusicals.co.uk