An invitation from Jenifer Toksvig, co-facilitator of The Larder:
I recently watched six fantastic writers* finish an MA in musical theatre writing. They have great enthusiasm to introduce their work to the world, but I found my heart sinking as I thought about the many limitations around the opportunities for them to do that. There’s no lack of talent, or of emerging writers. Actually, I don’t even know what that means: I’m 46 years old, and my work is still emerging, but the systems we have just don’t seem to be serving any of us as well as they could.
Invitations to pitch work competitively might give a lucky few the opportunity to have work developed, but they also give the unlucky many the opportunity to be rejected. Again.
Cabaret showcases of songs might give the writers and composers the joy of seeing their work performed by talented actors, but they also make producers sit through swathes of songs disconnected from both context and creatives.
Development processes are also competitive, and sit precariously on the edge of producing, mentoring, directing, dramaturgy: how can we all be clear about what these relationships are?
Essentially: how are we going to develop new musical theatre better, to ensure that both the writers and the work can reach their full potential?
Are we already doing the right things, but we just need to do more of them? Who else could join us in the nurturing of new musicals, to give more writers a better chance of making work, more efficiently? (If you don’t already – maybe you?) How can we innovate, find new ways, better ways to develop, and share, and produce new work?
Whether you love the status quo or hate it, whether you’re already connected to new musical writing, or haven’t even considered it yet, please bring your ideas and your experiences to the room, so that we can challenge ourselves to be even better at nurturing new musical theatre writers and writing.
There’s no time to waste. We writers need it. Like, yesterday.