Making a noise about new musicals

On Tuesday 25th June, at the behest of director Adam Lenson, we were invited to the swanky h club to premiere a song from our latest musical project at SIGNAL.

A quarterly concert of the best new and experimental musical theatre, SIGNAL is lovingly curated and hosted by Adam to showcase writers and composers in the UK, and we were honoured to be included in such a stellar lineup including Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss (writers of the multi-Olivier award nominated smash hit SIX) and Darren Clark and Rhys Jennings (recipients of the Stiles & Drewe Mentorship Award for The Wicker Husband).

For the first time ever, every song performed at SIGNAL was a world premiere, with some songs only completed on the day making it all the more exciting and fresh!

We were thrilled to introduce Make Some Noise - the big ‘I want song’ for the protagonist of our new show - and its message seemed to resonate with something else Adam premiered last night; the AMPLIFY Fund.

The idea for AMPLIFY is to take the writers of musical theatre curated for SIGNAL and give them money to write for extended periods of time, thus helping them to make some noise of their own! Sounds simple, right? But in this country there seems to be a real lack of investment and interest in supporting musical theatre writing at a grassroots level and develop the shows that could be the hits of the future (in whatever version of ‘hit’ we hope to achieve).

As Adam pointed out in a speech that should be anthologised alongside ‘I have a dream’ and the Gettysburg address, “it’s a ridiculous thing that our West End theatres are filled with musicals that are 30 years old and are attended every single day of the week. And then when a new show gets written in America, like Pasek & Paul’s Dear Evan Hansen or like Hamilton, we flock! We pay £300 to see an American show when we could build it here, but we don’t build it here because we systematically undermine what the musical is capable of.”

And he’s so right! Why isn’t just a fraction of the profit from these long-runners funnelled back down to develop new talent? Why do we invest in new playwrights and in artists in the UK, but not in the creators of musical theatre? Why do so many writers and actors work for free, using their own money to hire space and musicians in an attempt to get their voices heard?

So how could AMPLIFY help? To use Adam’s wise words, “What it’s starting out as is a way of raising money from people who think the same as me. That could be audience members, that could be hugely wealthy people who’ve written musicals before and think that they should put the ladder back down, it can be people who just want to give a fiver, it can be the Arts Council hopefully, it can be tons of different things. But essentially what I want to do is create a situation where writers get paid to write things and get acknowledged as artists for writing musical theatre.” And we absolutely believe that can happen!

If you love musical theatre and want to see exciting new shows nurtured and developed then Adam has created a simple way for people to donate to AMPLIFY. “By donating to the fund you are giving money directly to the best and most devoted writers to give them time and space to write the work that they care about most.” How cool is that?! From loose change to the deepest of pockets, if you fancy donating to the fund please click here.

You can hear all of Adam’s impassioned speech from 1 hour 17 minutes into the Facebook stream below. You can also hear our song, performed by the wonderful Liberty Buckland, from 2 hours in or, if you have a couple of hours free, we recommend watching the whole evening of wonderful and brilliant new writing and then donating to the AMPLIFY fund to see work like this grow. Thank you.