Musical Theatre Network & Mercury Musical Developments Industry Conferences

‘High Flying, Adored ?’ Redefining success in new musical theatre in the UK’

Lyric Hammersmith – Tuesday 28th March 2017






‘Miss Nightingale’ – Mr Bugg Presents have toured their original British musical (of cabaret, prejudice and scandal in the dark days of WWII) for over six years, making the transition from smaller studio spaces to the mainstages of mid- and large-scale venues. Writer/director/producer Matthew Bugg shared the inside story of this journey as the show returned to central London, joined by Pete Rowe from partner New Wolsey Theatre.


‘Laila the Musical’ – Rifco Arts’ co-production with Watford Palace Theatre and Queens Theatre Hornchurch toured successfully in 2016, reaching new and diverse audiences with its 7th century Persian romance of Laila and Majnu. Writer/director Pravesh Kumar discussed how Rifco developed this new British musical to tour successfully to seven mid-scale venues following its premiere.


‘The Wind in the Willows’ – Producer Jamie Hendry discussed his new musical adaptation by George Stiles, Anthony Drewe and Julian Fellowes ahead of its opening at the London Palladium. Jamie commissioned the musical in 2012 and in 2013 successfully raised over £1 million towards the production’s budget through crowdfunding, opening the show at Theatre Royal Plymouth, then touring to Salford’s Lowry and Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre ahead of its West End run.


‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ – Nuffield Southampton Theatres’ director Sam Hodges shared how they resourced their ambitions to develop and stage new musical ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, joined by Chris Stafford, chief executive of co-producer Curve, and producer Eleanor Lloyd who acted as a consultant on the production. This family musical, adapted from Roald Dahl’s book by Sam Holcroft, Arthur Darvill, Al Muriel and Darren Clark, has successfully played at Nuffield (its best selling production) and the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith ahead of a planned commercial tour and international performances. (photo credit is Emanuel Harlem.)


‘Forest Boy’ was Noisemaker’s first original musical and was developed with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The show premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe before going on to further productions in London and New York.  Claire and Scott shared how their modern day fairy tale musical found success in Edinburgh, London (winning the S&S Award) and New York (with the New York Musical Festival) and how they have grown from a Glasgow-based songwriting team into a partnership with an emerging international voice.


‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ – Sheffield Theatres commissioned this new British musical from an idea by director Jonathan Butterell, based on the true story of a local teenager coming out as a drag queen while at high school. Written by Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie-Sells, it recently finished its World Premiere at Sheffield Crucible Theatre, playing to standing ovations.and packed houses. Director Jonathan Butterell, Songwriter Dan Gillespie Sells and Creative Associate Jane Semark share the story of the show’s success to date.



Sarah Chambers – The Artist Agency
Paul Taylor Mills – The Other Palace
Dawn Farrow – Boom Ents.
Sean Flahaven – The Musical Company
Hardish Virk  – Audience Development Consultant
Suzanne Gorman – Maya Productions



“Putting It Together” – Arcola Theatre – Thursday 12th March 2015


Rupert Goold – Artistic Director Almeida Theatre
Susie McKenna – Creative Director Hackney Empire
Pravesh Kumar – Artistic Director Rifco
Samuel Adamson – Lyricist, Bookwriter (The Light Princess, The National Theatre)
Jenny Sealey MBE – Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre
Rebecca Applin – Composer, Musical Theatre, Theatre and Media
Wendy Gadian – Principal Lecturer & Course Leader,  Musical Theatre BA at CSSD.
Danielle Tarento – Freelance producer and casting director


  • Where are the women making musical theatre? Susie McKenna
  • Is there only one way to write a musical or do we need to find a new approach? Samuel Adamson
  • Disability and musical theatre. Jenny Sealey MBE

Click HERE to for a reminder of their engaging provocations.


Almeida Theatre – Friday 21st March 2014


Richard Thomas – Jerry Springer the Opera
Libby Purves – Radio Presenter, Journalist & Author
David Babani – Artistic Director, Menier Chocolate Factory),
Cora Bissett – Glasgow Girls, Whatever Gets You Through The Night and Roadkill)
Gurinder Chadha – Bend It Like Beckham
Sarah Travis – Orchestrator & Musical Supervisor


  • The growing use of actor/musicians in musical theatre
  • The renaissance of the “chamber musical”
  • The increasing number of new voices working within musical theatre


Simon Bell, Theatre Bristol
"[through MTN] I have been inspired and energised by conversations with those who are grappling with the development, staging and reinvention of contemporary musical theatre."
Simon Bell, Theatre Bristol



- 19 hours ago

RT @DrewMcOnie: Loved my morning at the BEAM brunch which was part of the @fest_mt! Britain has some extraordinary new musical theatre tale…
h J R