My soundtrack album Jocasta: A Musical Tragedy was launched at The Lowry on Saturday 29th April. It was a wonderful event, ending in a standing ovation. I couldn’t have been happier. Below are some photos from the night (there are also rehearsal photos here if you are interested).
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As many of you know, for the last two years I have been writing a musical set in the early days of tabloid journalism, centring on a time of socio-economic flux in which traditional hierachies give way to populism and dirty politics, loosely based on the tale of Oedipus but very much inspired by our own troubled times.
To stage a musical, especially a musical with so many explosions, one needs a ludicrous amount of money. This is why it is typically the province of wealthy impresarios rather than public funding bodies. Nevertheless I applied to Arts Council England to see if they’d be willing to support a studio recorded full cast soundtrack album and subsequent live showcase as a first step to building up to an actual theatre production. After all, if I can actually play a fully orchestrated recording to a producer/investor/interested-party rather than convince them with a desperate elevator pitch my chances of being taken seriously are greatly improved.
To my absolute wonderment and delight ACE have accepted my proposal. This is not only a huge relief in terms of being able to realise the project without crippling myself financially for years to come, but also such a vote of confidence in what has been, at times, a fairly lonely writing process.
So it’s full steam ahead for a thirty two track double album! This funding has allowed me to block book the wonderful team at WR Audio in Salford (they’re going to hate the sight of me by the time we’re done!) and secure the skills of some brilliant session players (comprising a jazz ensemble and string quartet with added brass, woodwind and percussion). The strings are being orchestrated by respected composer and arranger Peter Byrom-Smith and the production overseen by longtime collaborators Biff Roxby and Dan Watkins.
More about the project as it progresses but, for now, I’d just like to give a massive thanks to the Arts Council for believing in this idea, I am so thrilled to have them in my corner and I’m looking forward to sharing the musical with you all!
For more information about the project click here.
I’ve written a song with Felix Hagan for Week 53‘s 100% Salford, being performed at The Lowry‘s Lyric Theatre on 7th and 8th May. The production is all about how one’s life experience differs based on where one lives, how it would change depending on income or one’s ethnic/geographic/social background.
The song takes inspiration from Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town but transplanted into a modern setting (“I met my love by the outlet mall…” etc). I wrote the lyrics and Felix wrote the music. Becca Williams will be on singing duties (I’ll be playing bass for the performance).
To quote the press release: “100% Salford puts the humanity into statistics as we examine what it is to live in this incredible, varied city in 2016.”
In a way that graphs and pie-charts never could, this bold and staggeringly ambitious project explores the cultural trends and social make-up of Salford through the prism of 100 people who perfectly represent the city’s population based on age, gender, household type, geography and ethnicity, painting a rare portrait of a complex city.
The production is part of Week 53 Festival.