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Showcase for UK musicals planned for 2014/15

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Composers and writers of new musicals will be given a platform to showcase their work at a major new event aimed at raising the profile of up and coming UK talent.

Musical Theatre Network and Mercury Musical Developments, which nurture and support new musical theatre writing, are working together on the event, which they claim will be the first one of its kind in the UK.

The showcase event was part of MTN and MMD’s joint bid for National Portfolio status to Arts Council England, and seeks to provide writers, composers and other creatives with “the next crucial step in their development”.

Both organisations previously worked together on a conference in 2012, at which the idea for the showcase was born. MMD has previously developed new musical productions, and organised events such as A Song Cycle for Soho, which gave writers the chance to pen numbers based on a particular theme.

However, Neil Marcus, executive director of MMD, said: “We always develop new shows, but there has never in England been a festival of new musical theatre.”

Caroline Routh, executive producer at MTN, explained it would “be an opportunity to both showcase and celebrate new work”.

Prior to the event, which is expected to take place at the end of next year or in early 2015, Routh said there will be a “number of development programmes”, which will “stimulate and create new pieces of work” from around the UK.

“That would culminate in what we think, at the moment, will be a two-day event at which we will showcase a number of the pieces of new work from emerging writers, potentially a premiere of new work from more established writers, and a number of songs from the MMD membership, who have not got that public recognition, giving them chance to have their work seen,” she said.

Routh added: “We would hope that some of the work showcased there could be taken on by other producers, promoters and venues to be developed to a full production.”

She said that the exact shape of the event has yet to be defined, and that MMD and MTN were currently fundraising for the event. “The structure of the event will depend on the fundraising that takes place over the next year,” she added.

It is envisaged that once established, the showcase will take place every two years.

“We are hoping in years to come this will be something that starts to attract international producers who are interested in seeing what the new British musical is like,” Routh said.

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