The Other Palace’s new musical theatre initiatives – first work in progress is Heathers the Musical

photo Craig Sugden -® B-73Andrew Lloyd Webber and Paul Taylor-Mills have unveiled details of The Other Palace Development Programme and the productions that will make up the first Work in Progress series at the new London musical theatre venue.

Formerly the St James Theatre, the newest addition to the Really Useful Theatres Group was launched as The Other Palace in February with ambitious plans to discover, develop and reimagine musicals.

Revealing the inspiration behind The Other Palace’s programming and initiatives, Lloyd Webber said: “I want The Other Palace to become the London space where writers and producers can try out and perfect new work, offering audiences the opportunity to see and contribute to musicals in development.

“My hopes for The Other Palace are based on my experience with School of Rock in America. I presented School of Rock as a staged workshop at the Gramercy Theatre, a rock venue in New York. By not premiering the musical in a finished form with elaborate sets, it gave the creative team complete flexibility to refine the material. It was a liberating experience for all of us.”

The Other Palace’s artistic director Taylor-Mills added: “We’re delighted to be hosting a series of initiatives that truly nurture artists and their work, and allow our audience to be an important part of the action. Our Development Programme is at the heart of our vision to advance the musicals of tomorrow whilst reimagining the classics.

“In our first Work in Progress series we’re developing two brand new British musicals and rediscovering two American musicals. This breadth of style and the varying stages of the pieces cements our commitment to ensuring that The Other Palace really is the home for all things musical theatre in the UK.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber Credit Paul StuartThe first Work in Progress production will be Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy’s Heathers The Musical. Based on the cult classic 1980s movie which starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, the dark comedy will make its European debut under the direction of Andy Fickman in the Studio from 30 May until 3 June.

Next up will be Dr Feelgood by Alex Baranowski and David Watson, directed by Sam Yates, which will play the Studio on 10 June. Joybubbles by Carl Grose and Alex Silverman, directed by Raz Shaw, will follow on 17 June.

Frank Wildhorn and Don Black’s Bonnie & Clyde will then move into the Studio from 26 June until 1 July. Featuring a book by Ivan Menchell, the musical had a short run on Broadway at the end of 2011.

From mid-July, new musical theatre company Perfect Pitch will present family friendly comic musical The Little Beasts in the main house. Promising magical and innovative puppetry, the production is aimed at children aged seven and above. The show will play two performances on 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 July.

Tickets for Work in Progress productions start at £7.50.

A mix of networking events, opportunities to experiment, workshops and shows, The Other Palace Development Programme has been established to assist musical creatives who would like to bring their vision to life. The programme has been designed to support initiatives at every stage of their journey – from discussing draft ideas with peers to holding workshops and residencies as a precursor to full productions.

TOP_2Line_Black_RedCreatives Connect is an informal opportunity to meet fellow theatre-makers and share ideas in The Other Palace’s bar. Offering the chance to meet The Other Palace programming team and find out about the ways in which the venue could offer support for a project, the event will take place on Wednesday 13 September, 8.30pm to 10.30pm.

Two Pitch Days on Wednesday 24 May, 10am to 4pm (this date is now full) and Wednesday 11 October, 10am to 4pm will offer artists and creative teams the chance to show 20 minutes of their work to Taylor-Mills and The Other Palace programming team. These days are aimed at people who prefer to share their work ‘live’. The panel will make recommendations about how best to move the project forward.

Open Mic Nights (in association with The BRIT School) are aimed at emerging artists from all disciplines who will be given the opportunity to perform completely new material for the first time. Open Mic Nights are for anyone who wants to try out new material in front of an audience. Scheduled for Monday 25 September, 9pm to 10.30pm, the event is free to attend, and no tickets are required.

Musical Bites (in association with Mercury Musical Development) showcases four new musicals that are in the early stages of development. During the evening, 15 minutes of each piece will be performed to a paying audience, who are encouraged to provide feedback in order to advance the work to the next stage of their development process. The next Musical Bites will be on Thursday 5 October at 8pm. Tickets are available at www.theotherpalace.co.uk.

Anyone interested in presenting their work at The Other Palace should visit www.theotherpalace.co.uk/submissions.

Angela Thomas

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