Musical Theatre Network & Mercury Musical Developments hosted their recent industry conference at the Lyric Hammersmith on

Tuesday 28th March 2017






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







The day was a huge success and many new connections made. Some images of the day including the case studies and the audience development panel below.

Thanks again to our drinks reception sponsors




‘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 shares the inside story of this journey as the show returns 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 will discuss 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 talks about his new musical adaptation by George Stiles, Anthony Drewe and Julian Fellowes ahead of its opening in June 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 shares 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. During this session, Claire and Scott will share how their modern day fairy tale musical has 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.





(L-R Sarah Chambers: The Audience Agency – Paul Taylor-Mills: The Other Palace – Dawn Farrow: Boom – Sean Flahaven: The Musical Company Suzanne Gorman: Maya Productions:Hardish Virk: Audience Development Consultant





“Putting It Together”

Arcola Theatre – Thursday 12th March 2015


“It was a great day and we both left buzzing with excitement. Well done!” MTN Member


Huge thanks to our distinguished panel…..

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, writing music for a range of projects, especially in the field of Musical Theatre, Theatre and Media

Wendy Gadian – Principal Lecturer and Course Leader of the 3-Year Musical Theatre BA at Central.

Danielle Tarento – Freelance producer and casting director


Our provocations at the conference were presented on the following topics and delivered by these wonderful people…..

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 brilliant, passionate, and engaging provocations.


Previous Conference Information

Musical Theatre Network and Mercury Musical Developments’ annual conference took place at the Almeida Theatre on Friday 21st March 2014. We kicked things off with a fascinating hour of Richard Thomas (Olivier Award winning composer of Jerry Springer the Opera) in conversation with Libby Purves, chatting about his career and future projects. An array of industry experts – including David Babani (Artistic Director, Menier Chocolate Factory), Cora Bissett (director, actor and musician behind Glasgow Girls, Whatever Gets You Through The Night and Roadkill), Gurinder Chadha (director and writer of Bend It Like Beckham) and Sarah Travis (Tony Award winning orchestrator and musical supervisor) – then took to the stage to explore some of the key developments in the artform:


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




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Conference attendee
“I can't think of a day I have spent in musical theatre that was more constructive than yesterday, thank you for facilitating such a good event - and I've been to a few in life!”
Conference attendee



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