Jack Miles is the next artist featured in Iris Theatre’s ongoing PLATFORM initiative, which supports artists from a variety of disciplines taking the next steps in their career.
Jack Miles will perform a one-night-only concert accompanied by performers Jordan Castle, Cecily Redman, Jack Reitman and Marnie Yule to celebrate his original musical works, with musical direction from Matt Herbert.
Featuring songs from St Anne Comes Home, The Problem With Fletcher Mott, Adeline and In Clay, Jack Miles’ PLATFORM event will be on 29 October at the Actors’ Church in the heart of Covent Garden. Tickets for PLATFORM are available at https://iristheatre.com/whats-on/
You’ll be bringing your repertoire to Iris Theatre’s next PLATFORM Event, what can audiences expect from the evening?
I think a combination of challenging your understanding of what musical theatre is or can be, mixed with melodious, well-structured, well-rhymed songs… and all the other criteria that are completely subjective. In all seriousness, these are the songs that are a result of ten years of studying, gaining an understanding of this herculean genre, and then trying to find my own particular brand of it as a composer/lyricist. It’s also a celebration, because I think I might have actually found it, too.
How did you get involved with PLATFORM, and what were your first thoughts about taking part in this one-night only event?
Myself and my producers have been trying to mount another production of St. Anne Comes Home with Iris Theatre for over a year now, but we’ve had three sets of dates in the diary scuppered by the pandemic. Whilst I’m certain we’ll work something out eventually, they’ve been such champions of my work that they wanted to create an opportunity to showcase in the meantime, and Platform gives us all that.
Tell us about some of the people who’ll be joining you on the night?
We’ll go alphabetically with the actors for ease – Jordan Castle, the man with the velvet voice. The star of St. Anne when we did it last summer; one reviewer said “As for Castle? I have one question I’d direct at him: where have you been?” before listing superlatives, and they are absolutely right.
Cecily Redman blew me away in a show by a friend of mine, Jack Godfrey, called Free Solo about three years ago – I always like to log people away in case they might be good in a production of mine later on, and she is a prime example. She played the titular role in a workshop for Adeline that we did earlier this year.
Then we have Jack Reitman, the Offie Winner himself. A real cross-discipline champion of new musical theatre, and one of the biggest sources of positive energy in any room. He also featured in the Adeline workshop.
Finally, Marnie Yule, who was a key part of a workshop we did for St. Anne. She’s one of those people who just turn up to something and then absolutely smash it out of nowhere, and you’re left in a daze thinking “oh-my-God-what-just-happened?”.
To tie them all together is MD Matt Herbert, somebody who I met virtually at the very start of the pandemic, and who now is one of my favourite collaborators. I am in constant awe of him and his work. Every single one of these people are mega talents, and I cannot wait for them to perform my stuff! It’s lovely, because I’m such a fan of all of them, it’s such a treat!
What opportunities do events like this give composers?
The audience that comes to this event will want to hear, and hopefully have a passion for new musical theatre, and therefore they’re the perfect test cases for new stuff. For example, I want to try out a brand new opening number for St. Anne, and the combination of enthusiastic new MT fans and the gorgeous setting of the Actors’ Church is the perfect occasion.
To be able to perform a selection of songs that I wholeheartedly believe in but have perhaps not had the chance to be heard – maybe because they’ve been cut from shows because they’re not quite the right song, or because the show only ran for a short time, or because they’re from shows that haven’t had public performances yet – that is a very, very unique opportunity, and one that I would never turn down.
You’ve written a number of acclaimed musicals, how have you gone about curating your PLATFORM event evening?
Working out which order to play songs is almost as tricky as writing them in the first place! Picking the setlist for performances like this is similar to setting the pace to a score. You have to work with the plot in that context obviously, but there are still rules within that. Don’t stack ballads because it slows everything down. And that works in reverse too – don’t stack songs with pace, because it’s exhausting on the ear. Songs with similar themes shouldn’t be next to each other. If songs live in a similar tonal world, don’t have them one after another. But then, there’s also situations where you should ignore all of those rules! It’s quite the balancing act.
What would you say to anyone thinking of coming along to your PLATFORM evening?
I would say don’t overthink it, and just book a damn ticket! You get an evening of a beautiful venue, very accessible pricing, and some of the best young performers I’ve met singing some excellent new contemporary MT, all in the heart of the West End. And I swear, that’s not even a little bit biased.