New Musical Theatre writers begin key development programme at Birmingham Hippodrome
10th April 2024
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Musical Theatre Writers Group (MT Writers Groupis a key developmental programme that focuses on the craft of writing musical theatre. The six writing teams will work with the Hippodrome’s New Musical Theatre Department to develop a new musical over the course of 12 months.

The group will attend monthly sessions at Birmingham Hippodrome led by writer and dramaturg Victoria Saxton and composer and musical director Tim Sutton, along with guest masterclasses and peer learning. Each member of the writing teams receives a bursary of £2000, along with travel expenses to attend the sessions. The writers will also have the chance to share their work with an audience at two points during the year and will receive ongoing mentorship from the Hippodrome’s New Musical Theatre Department beyond the end of the project.

Deirdre O’Halloran, Head of New Musical Theatre at Birmingham Hippodrome said: “It was fantastic to welcome our incredibly talented writing teams for their first session of our flagship talent development programme last week. We received 180 applications, reinforcing just how crucial programmes like this are.”

The writing teams and new musicals in development are:

Award-winning playwright, dramaturg, and theatre educator Dominique La Victoria and actor, singer-songwriter, and vocal coach Melisa Camba, who teaches singing at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. The team recently took part in the Overture development scheme.

Their musical This Is My Name takes audiences back to the 1869 Spanish colonial Philippines. Historical figure Señora Maria del Rosario Gil y Montes de Sanchiz, a poet, mistress to the governor-general, and activist, dares to attend a ball wearing ribbons in her hair saying VIVA LA LIBERTAD! (Long Live Liberty!)

David Payne, a book writer and lyricist whose writing credits include Eastenders and The Archers; Aron Sood a composer, orchestrator, and musical director who is currently a musical supervisor for AIDA cruises and Nyasha Gudowho directed #50days, a grime musical with a cast of thirty-five at Birmingham Hippodrome.

Their musical Andy’s Man Club – The Rock Opera tells the powerful true story of Andy’s Man Club and how it developed from one heartbroken family to a handful of men having a chat over free tea and biscuits, eventually becoming one of the country’s biggest and most successful suicide prevention charities; bringing people together and saving countless lives.

Writer Matthew Harvey, whose new musical Unbound has been commissioned by British Youth Music Theatre and will premier in Birmingham Hippodrome’s Patrick Studio in 2024, and writer, creative director and performer Ryan Carter, known for his versatility and innovation in musical theatre.

Their new musical Reveries centres around a small group of friends who return to their hometown to dig up a time capsule they buried as children following the death of their friend. Their late friend George has left a video message in the capsule along with a small fortune. He challenges them to answer the question 'are you really happy?' and, if not, to change their lives for the better.

Birmingham-based team made up of producer, writer, facilitator, and multidisciplinary artist Gaby Songui, working with music composer and multi-instrumentalist Tyriq Baker and songwriter and vocalist Kristal Malin.

Their musical Pit Stop and Wash is a character driven story, following the growth of five people and a magical washing machine. It explores life and love with humour and wit. The music is lyrical, with various cultural influences, and lots of soundscapes utilising the laundromat.

Composer Jenni Pinnock who combines themes of nature and science with quirky time signatures and soaring melodies, writer Brian Mackenwells, who is the co-writer of the multi-award winning podcast drama Action Science Theatre, and lyricist, singer and writer Helen Arney who has been nominated for the Stiles+Drewe Best New Song Prize.

Their musical, The First All-Ladies Cambridge Fire Brigade, is an upbeat ensemble piece, following the world of Hertha Marks-Ayrton and four of her contemporaries at 1870s Girton College, Cambridge who form the first ever all-female fire brigade.

Lakesha Arie-Angelo is Associate Artistic Director at Clean Break and in 2022 Lakesha was Revival Director for The Color Purple UK tour, co-produced by Curve and Birmingham Hippodrome.  She is working with Nathan Lawrence (aka NeONE The Wonderer), who is class of 2023 MOBO Unsung musical artist from Wolverhampton.

Together they are developing Untitled (A Very Serious Unserious Black Hair Court Room Drama The Musical). The show is an all-Black satirical court room ‘drama’ musical about texturism within the Black hair industry and capitalism set to original 90’s Pop, R’n’B and Hip-hop.

Deirdre added: “The breadth of exciting ideas being explored by our six writing teams is a testament to the creativity and vision within the UK musical theatre ecology right now. We can’t wait to work with our teams to develop their ideas further for a range of scales and platforms.

Find out more about MT Writers Group and the New Musical Theatre department at Birmingham Hippodrome by visiting

The work of the New Musical Theatre department has been generously supported by Founding Supporter Charles Holloway.



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