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BEAM is a biennial industry showcase of new musicals in development

As new musicals can sometimes be in development for several years with few seeing any content, BEAM was designed to raise the profile of new UK musicals in development and the creatives behind them, and to encourage more development support and productions of this exciting new musical theatre writing. BEAM has evolved as a key part of the development infrastructure for new UK musicals, with masterclasses, pitching days, development feedback, mentoring and networking alongside the showcase, which in itself has become one of the main ways to get an overview of new musical theatre writing from across the country. BEAM encourages artform development through creatives getting inspired by fresh and diverse new approaches of their peers, and many new collaborations can be traced back to mutual discover at BEAM.

Past BEAM showcase programmes

BEAM pitching days – one of the most accessible selection processes

As far as we know, BEAM is unique in the world for its approach of going out on the road to find the most exciting new musicals in development and then offering financial support to the creatives invited to present their work in the showcase. The producers of BEAM travel around the UK holding pitching days so creatives with an idea for a new musical can pitch their idea at a theatre local to them, to a panel of potentially useful local theatre industry representatives. Written development feedback is gathered from these panels and shared with those who pitch, so even if they’re not selected for the showcase they get useful development support. The diverse panellists all feed into the selection process from these pitching days, and BEAM is committed to sharing a selection of work which is representative of the diversity of the UK’s population. The financial support offered to participants helps BEAM include new musicals by creatives from previously under-represented cultural backgrounds and identities, and who are based across the country.

Success stories: over 35 new musicals at BEAM have since had full productions

BEAM brings together producers, writers, venue programmers, funders, composers, directors, licensing houses, higher education course co-ordinators, performers, investors, agents, future audience members and development partners for two days of inspiring content. To date, over 35 new UK musicals showcased at past BEAMs have since been fully staged, including ‘Operation Mincemeat’ (Fortune Theatre in London’s West End), ‘The Season’/’Two Strangers (Carry a cake across New York)’ (Royal & Derngate/Kiln Theatre/West End), ‘Laila the Musical’ (national tour), ‘Assisted Suicide: the Musical’ (Royal Festival Hall, UK and Australian tour), ‘This is a Love Story’ (Dundee Rep) and ‘Pieces of String’ (Mercury Theatre). Within three months of the most recent BEAM showcase, over 80% of the musicals showcased reported having received offers of development support or interest from producers/staging partners as a result of BEAM.

Members of MTN can view footage of presentations from past BEAM showcases in the Members Hub.

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BEAM was a blast! The atmosphere, the energy, the vast array of varied and original work combined with the finely oiled scheduling machine that ran like clockwork made it a joyous way to spend a couple of days. My pitch attracted phenomenal interest from 3 producers, a director, 2 artistic directors, & I was offered agent representation.  It was invaluable exposure, & has given me increased confidence moving forwards.

Zara Nunn, composer, MD & BEAM participant

The BEAM pitching days have helped us reach out to a host of diverse new musical theatre stars of the future. With a national reach and a desire to embrace musical theatre of all kinds, BEAM provides an excellent platform for emerging composers and songwriters to present their new ideas.

David Luff, Head of Theatre, Soho Theatre

BEAM is like Cannes – for musicals. The content is astonishing: brilliantly diverse material that proves musical theatre is alive and well in the UK.

Kate Golledge, director & dramaturg

I’ve never felt a buzz quite like it... while new writing of plays thrives in theatres up and down the land, there’s hardly ever been a truly co-ordinated attempt to develop and promote new musicals from the ground up. Until now... What BEAM did was bring writers and supporters of new musicals to the same party and make them part of a community. The future of British musicals may well have been born in those two days.

Mark Shenton, critic, writing in 'The Stage'