Dec Newsletter 2015

Hello dear, valued members of Musical Theatre Network,

It’s such an exciting time for new British musical theatre. A time of growing infrastructure, increasing opportunities, and the emergence of increasingly high quality, innovative new musicals by British writing teams (including some of the more than 140 new British musicals pitched around the UK in October and November for inclusion in BEAM2016). Joining Musical Theatre Network in mid-November, it quickly became clear to me this is one of the busiest times in MTN’s history. My predecessor, the lovely Caroline Routh, significantly further developed this organisation, building partnerships around the UK, and leaving a legacy of several exciting initiatives which MTN is partnering on in 2016. I’m looking forward to talking with all of you about those and MTN’s future plans. We’ll soon be sending you details of opportunities, over the coming months, to meet for informal discussion of the improvements you’d most like to see in the new musical theatre sector, and of new ways MTN might champion the great work many of you are achieving in developing, staging and producing new British musicals. We also have some ideas for new strategic initiatives we’d like to be informed by your views before we develop them further.

Nurturing a thriving, collaborative British musical theatre community and professional sector is a key aim at MTN. And it’s one towards which our close partnership with Mercury Musical Developments is crucial. As you’ll know, we’re currently collaborating on BEAM2016, our strategic platform for new British musical theatre at which artists, venues and producers will share work, ideas and opportunities for collaboration. This biennial event will combine networking and marketplace opportunities with insights and overviews of the new British musical theatre landscape. We hope you’ll all be joining us on the 8th and 9th March 2016 at Park Theatre (Finsbury Park, London). Please ensure those dates are in your diaries; details of how to book will be released in January. MTN and MMD are very grateful to those of you who have already been venue partners for the BEAM pitching days around the UK, several of which already prompted development conversations between venues and musical theatre projects they’re keen to support. As with every MTN initiative, we’re grateful to Arts Council England for the National Portfolio funding which has made BEAM2016 possible.

In the more immediate future, on Thursday 10th December, 3-6pm at Shoreditch Town Hall, MTN will be co-hosting a discussion on how the development infrastructure for British musical theatre might further encourage innovation, as part of the launch of China Plate’s Musical Theatre Darkroom initiative. MTN is partnering on this, along with South Hill Park, Royal & Derngate, Harlow Playhouse and the house network. The Musical Theatre Darkroom will pair four musical theatre writers with four independent/experimental theatremakers (new to musical theatre development) to collaborate over a six month development programme. If you would like to join us there, please email

MTN also has several further initiatives we’ll be partnering on in early 2016, including some events focused on musical theatre networks in Manchester and Liverpool, in collaboration with The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre; and ongoing collaboration with Perfect Pitch Musicals to develop a risk underwriting initiative for regional co-production of new British musicals.

I look forward to talking with you individually when the opportunity arises. Very briefly, by way of introduction with those who I’m yet to meet, my background is as a theatre director and producer, mostly in New Zealand where I spent 20 years and programmed BATS Theatre, NZ’s leading venue for nurturing new work and emerging theatre artists. I then returned to the UK in 2008, working in the London Theatre team at Arts Council England for seven years, with a key focus on investments in musical theatre. I’m looking forward to integrating various strands of my past experience within my new role with MTN – particularly my passion for the importance and quality of new British musical theatre within the wider UK creative industries. But more of that in future conversations!

Best wishes,

James Hadley
Executive Director, Musical Theatre Network

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Eleanor Lloyd, Producer - Hamlet! The Musical
"The involvement of MTN through the Edinburgh Awards has already given me and the show a crucial level of support."
Eleanor Lloyd, Producer - Hamlet! The Musical


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