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The Girls’ Tim Firth: ‘We need more mid-scale musical theatre venues’

Tim Firth. Photo: John Swannell
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The Girls writer Tim Firth has called for new mid-scale venues that could breed original musicals.

Speaking at the launch of the WhatsOnStage Awards in London, Firth also called for existing Off-West End and regional spaces to run musicals for longer periods.

Firth claimed that Britain was not producing enough new musicals because “you either produce an enormous-scale musical and throw it at the West End, or you are in a very tiny niche studio”. He said there were not enough options in-between.

He said: “As a writer of musicals and a lover of musicals, we don’t want them to be ghettoised into a certain scale because money is the only thing that makes a musical get on, so I’d like to see a breeding ground, a hot house, a greenhouse layer for musicals where you can actually run shows on a longer basis, not just for two or three weeks.

“We’ve got smaller theatres but they can only run for certain engagements, and what they are doing is great, but what we need is more of them, and more for longer, and at a price where people can actually go and see musicals and let these musicals grow.”

He added: “The great thing about New York is that people are used to going to see new musicals and taking a risk. We’ve got to develop that muscle in our British audience.”

Firth also argued that more regional theatres should be utilising their studio spaces for the development of new musicals. He said: “If commercial producers hoping to benefit long term would just take the sting out of the inevitable risk of doing musicals in a small studio, wouldn’t that be fantastic?”