BEAM 2020 Programme

March 26th, 2020

Mercury Musical Developments and Musical Theatre Network, in partnership with Royal & Derngate Northampton, are delighted to announce the line-up for the BEAM2020 showcase. BEAM is the UK’s leading showcase for new British musical theatre writing.

BEAM2020 is the largest marketplace of its kind – bringing together key industry figures and talent.  BEAM will contribute to three years of developing new musical theatre by a consortium led by Royal & Derngate, funded by an Ambition for Excellence grant from Arts Council England.

Thursday 26th March 2020
Showcase A, 1.40pm & 4.10pm, The Royal

FAT BOY SWIM (25 minutes)
By Catherine Forde and Michael John McCarthy, aka. Visible Fictions
Fat Boy Swim is produced by Laura Penny and directed by Dougie Irvine

Fat Boy Swim finds our protagonist Jimmy at a turning point in his life, struggling with his weight, home life and school. His life-affirming story taps into the teenage psyche and the repercussions of family secrets.  Created by an awarding winning team, Fat Boy Swim contains original rousing contemporary music by Michael John McCarthy, direction from Douglas Irvine, script adaptation and song lyrics by celebrated novelist Catherine Forde and produced by the team at Visible Fictions, this exciting collaboration will bring the uplifting story of an overweight bullied school boy finding his feet to stages across the country.  It is relevant, vital and timely.

PERFECT PITCH (25 minutes)

Perfect Pitch will be presenting a selection of three exciting and varied new British musicals, including 42 Balloons by Jack Godfrey, Untitled by Tim Gilvin and Johnny Wright, and Sunshine by Kath Haling in a 25 minute BEAM2020 showcase slot. Perfect Pitch’s mission is to create a high standard of new British musical theatre that reflects and connects with today’s diverse and contemporary Britain; musicals that could break boundaries and help us develop an audience’s perception of what the musical theatre art form can be.  

Showcase B, 1.40pm & 2.50pm, Rehearsal Room

SHIPTON (10 minutes)
By Daniel Foxx, Tim Gilvin and Robyn Grant
 
Shipton follows the true story of Mother Shipton, a 16th century witch and prophetess from Yorkshire. From lowly beginnings, Mother Shipton became an iconic figure of her age whose prophecies inspired rebels, confounded kings, and are still coming to pass even in the modern day. With a cast of actor-musicians, and a folk rock soundtrack, Shipton is a celebration of strong women, unconventional beauty and the natural world.
                       
FOLLOW THE LIGHT (10 minutes)
By Ruth Chan, Jonathan Man and Simon Wu
 
To find their missing son, a British-Chinese family who own a takeaway in an everyday UK town are forced to confront unsettling secrets about themselves; their stories moving from a British present to a Chinese past, and back again. ‘Follow the Light’ is inspired by the voices of the Chinese diaspora, intrinsic to the UK’s immigration history but hidden for too long. The popular culture of vibrant Cantopop, graceful Chinese opera and soulful Chinese folk music bring a moving and trailblazing twist to the Western musical theatre sound.
                       
THE NAUGHTY CARRIAGE ON THE ORPHAN TRAIN (10 minutes)
By Luke Saydon
 
The Naughty Carriage on the Orphan Train is a cautionary tale that warns about the dangers of not being naughty. This two-act playfully macabre musical is inspired by true events and recounts the adventures of a troupe of mischievous children who escape the Orphan Train. It’s a story of children who are equipped with questions, mischief and … naughtiness to fight their way in a world where curiosity is suppressed.
 
A HISTORY OF PAPER (10 minutes)     
By Oliver Emanuel and Gareth Williams
 
It starts when she puts a rude note through his letterbox. Hello Number 4, this is Number 6. Please could you shut the **** up? Ta. He sends an apology and – because he loves paper – an origami rose. She is delighted. They meet, fall in love and get married. Then one day a letter arrives that will change them and the world forever… A musical love story by Oliver Emanuel and Gareth Williams about a woman and a man and the bits of paper that can mean so much.
                       
SOUTHBOUND (10 minutes)
By Katie Mulgrew and Vikki Stone
 
Southbound is a female led musical comedy, written for nine women, aged from 19 – 75, and one man. It’s set in a bleak future, where society has been torn apart through climate change and war, and their existence is basically feral. Two rival communities of women have built lives in either side of a service station on the M6. The communities of women are pretty sure there are no men left in existence, until we meet John….  

Showcase C, 2.50pm & 5.20pm, The Royal
 
BACK IN THE DAYTIMER (10 minutes)  
By Ajay Srivastav and Sumerah Srivastava
 
Set in 1993 and based around the Asian sub culture of ‘daytimers’ – which were secret raves held during the day for young Asian clubbers to escape their traditionalist upbringing. Back in the Daytimer, is a musical comedy about growing up, taking responsibility and falling in love (again).
 
WASTERS (10 minutes)
By Jim Barne, Kit Buchan and Poppy Burton-Morgan

The bracing English seaside: betting shops, chip fat, ketamine and rain. Charli and Lucas skip school and skate the boardwalk, gazing at an endless grey future. Enter Magda, 80, a Polish menace in hi-viz. Clutching a litterclaw and a dead gull, she’s about to make anything seem possible…
 
SCOUTS! THE MUSICAL (10 minutes)
By Sam Cochrane and David Fallon, aka. Gigglemug Theatre

Scouts! The Musical is a family-friendly, actor-musician led comedy musical with a contemporary score which follows Joe and Ayesha, a pair of brave scouts, who must use their newfound skills to fight the forces of evil at the annual Scout Games. In partnership with the Scout Association, Gigglemug Theatre (The Stage Edinburgh Award Winners 2018) present a new immersive musical where you can follow characters of your choosing, compete in challenges, and even acquire your own badges!
 
AKHENATEN (10 minutes)
By Tom Brennan, Tom Crosley-Thorne and Jack Drewry

Akhenaten uses the power of neo-soul and modern R&B music to explore leadership, faith, societal change and the birth of monotheistic religion. In 1350 BC, a young Egyptian Pharaoh made a radical change, making 2,000 years of Egyptian religious tradition redundant. With a sizzling band of gods and a who’s who of the ancient Egyptian elite, Akhenaten will be a late-night funk jam, a historical epic and a spiritual communion with a god forgotten by history.
 
SHE DEVIL! (10 minutes)
By Hannah-Jane Fox, Andrew Holdsworth and Nigel Planer. She Devil! is produced by Rina Gill and Gary McQuinn

She Devi!l is a satirical musical comedy based on Fay Weldon’s novel The Life and Loves of a She Devil, a tale of envy and revenge with a contemporary twist. Ruth is a married mother of 2, a celebrity obsessed, lost and bored everywoman who just happens to summon the devil to get what she desires.
It is a bold, new, relevant, musical for people who like their comedy dark anyone who has ever felt pressure from social media to live a more perfect life.   

Showcase D, 4.10pm & 5.20pm, Screen 2
 
GO FORTH AND SLAY (10 minutes)
By Darren Clark and Anne-Marie Piazza
 
Our greatest daemons live within us: “Go forth and slay” is a one woman musical quest delving into the stories that make us who we are and exploding our personal mythologies.  Following the story of Emrys our ancient Welsh dragon slayer, we will discover why the stories we tell ourselves hold such power. Using extraordinary storytelling and a menagerie of instruments, this truly is a one woman journey that will be dark, funny, beautiful and fearsome in equal measure.         
 
COOPERS HILL CHEESE ROLLING AND WAKE (10 minutes)
By Patrick Steed and Mike Stocks
 
Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling And Wake is an exuberant musical about plummeting down a death-defying hill in pursuit of a speeding Double Gloucester cheese. Why would anyone take part in such a famously foolhardy event?! In this bittersweet comedy, the quirky characters all have their deeper reasons for launching into journeys of self-discovery, community and multiple fractures. Because, eventually in life, you have to leap.

SPARROW GIRL (10 minutes)
By Maimuna Memon

Sparrow Girl is a new Irish-Pakistani folk musical by Maimuna Memon, following three generations of women, grandmother, mother and daughter, each with an important choice to make, each bound by the confines of their upbringing and the expectations surrounding them, each hoping they don’t make the same mistakes as their mother. Through the fusion of musical genres the piece will explore identity, religion, feminism and mixed race culture, and tackle issues women have had to face from time immemorial.

SHONA (10 minutes)
By Neo Vilakazi

A new musical set in Scotland and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe where the colour of your skin could mean life or death. From two different worlds, Chief Sabelo and Joanne marry, but will they survive a future entangled in a struggle for power, land and diamonds? With an eclectic African/Western score and based on true events, Shona is a tale of childhood friendships torn apart by betrayal, fear and hate but ultimately defeated by love.
 
KEMPTON BUNTON (10 minutes)
By Luke Bateman, Richy Hughes and Richard Voyce

Newcastle. 1961. Unemployed bus driver Kempton Bunton wants his son to see the world from his point of view, unaware that his youngest has discovered girls. However, when the lad gets dumped, and realises that his dad was right, Kempton has to ask himself what he’s prepared to sacrifice to give his children a future?
    
Friday 27th March 2020 Showcase E, 11.50am & 2.00pm, The Royal
 
BLACK POWER DESK  (25 minutes)
By Urielle Klein-Mekongo and Richard Melkonian
Black Power Desk is produced by Steph Weller and directed by Miranda Cromwell

BLACK POWER DESK is a new UK Black British musical that uses an original score of rap, reggae, soul and R&B to shine a light on a rarely explored part of Black British history. This story of belonging, set against a backdrop of 1970s Notting Hill, is inspired by the true events of London’s Black Power movement, and is an energetic call to arms against racial discrimination within the British political system that persists today. Originally commissioned by The Old Vic 12. 
                       
GIN CRAZE (25 minutes)
By April de Angelis and Lucy Rivers
 
Gin Craze by April De Angelis and Lucy Rivers, directed by Michael Oakley, is a raucous musical satire set in the 18th century when the average Briton drank 1½ litres of gin a day, and drunken women were rounded up and locked in underground cells until they sobered up. Two lovers, each with hidden secrets, struggle to prosper as gin hawkers. With disorder on every street corner, panic spreads among the upper classes who look to their tipsy Queen to restore order. Come down to the gin dive and let our irreverent balladeers lead you through the joyous excess of Hogarth’s Britain.  

Showcase F, 11.50am & 2.00pm, Screen 2
 
AN IMPROBABLE MUSICAL (10 minutes)
Improvised by the company – a different show every time.
 
Brilliant shows like Showstopper! and Austentatious play to big audiences. Like them, An Improbable Musical is a different show every time, made up on the spot, but unlike them, it is not an improvised version of something we already know, it is created-in-the-moment-theatre with its own striking visual language. An Improbable Musical will feature their ragged, lo-fi theatricality, alchemical puppetry and distinctive music, drawing on a line of work seen in Shockheaded Peter, 70 Hill Lane and Satyagraha. Every audience is a momentary community who will witness the creation of the newest musical around, telling the stories that are alive in the theatre that night. This is improvisation come of age.

THE ART OF SKIPPING (10 minutes)
By Eleanor Griffiths and Megan Hughes

The Art Of Skipping is an award nominated, 5* Musical from writers Eleanor Griffiths and Megan Hughes. This heart-warming piece follows Alex, a young and bright astronomer who after receiving life changing news must learn to navigate her way back to the stars.
 
IN THESE WALLS (10 minutes)
By Zara Nunn

In These Walls is a real-time immersive musical set during the last two-and-a-bit hours in The Butterfly Café, where the owners, patrons, staff and customers are staging a sit-in protest to prevent it from being demolished to make way for a high-speed rail link. It’s the last hurrah and the diggers are already waiting outside, but not everything is as it seems. As time ticks away, The Butterfly itself starts to tell us some things… An intimate three-hander performed dextrously in multi-role, with an eclectic score, In These Walls imaginatively explores the emotional and far-reaching effects that urban regeneration has on us all.
                       
IF I AM REAL (10 minutes)
By Kate Marlais and Alex Young

Laura is from our world. Robyn is from another. 
‪A phenomenon allows the two women to meet on a London Underground train for just 87 minutes.
‪They fall in love. ‪Afterwards, in their separate worlds, they tell their story…but don’t believe a word they say.

STAGES (10 minutes)
By Christian Czornyj. Stages is directed by Adam Lenson
 
STAGES by Christian Czornyj is an electronic musical framed through the perspective of a retro video game. It follows Aiden, who is sixteen, autistic and loves video games. They can be repeated, mastered and controlled. But what happens if the game starts to glitch? As his every-day life begins to change we watch a family learn how to process difficulty and how to adapt and grow. In this interactive video game musical the audience must play the game and help Aiden navigate STAGES.
 
Showcase G, 11.50am & 2.00pm, Rehearsal Room
 
THE LAST POST (10 minutes)
By Henry Jenkinson and Ellen Robertson

The Last Post is an original musical with a score that draws on the immensely rich heritage of British folk music. The story follows Cathy Hughes in her attempts to save her son from being conscripted at the outbreak of World War Two, even if that causes the life she has constructed to protect them both to unravel before her eyes. Inspired by the ‘Dear Mrs Pennyman’ Project, The Last Post is a show about the women who lost husbands in the First World War and sons in the Second; it is about the failed promise of nationalism, the anguish of shame, and the enduring power of a love between women that dares to speak its name.
           
COVEN (10 minutes)
By Rebecca Brewer and Daisy Chute

COVEN is an all-femxle gig theatre show about witches by Rebecca Brewer and Daisy Chute, described as a TED-Talk with songs, a concept album told live, and a feminist history lesson meets gig.
Told in a medium-bending format using original alt-folk songs interwoven with stories, the show explores themes of belief, magic, mob mentality, gender and class. COVEN is inspired by the story of the 16th Century witch trials, how the “witch craze” happened, and why we might be heading for another one…       
 
BRISTOL BUS BOYCOTT (10 minutes)
By Christopher Haydon, Tim Sutton and Roy Williams. Bristol Bus Boycott is produced by China Plate
In 1963 four young West Indian men led a boycott of the Bristol Omnibus Company over its decision to refuse employment to black and Asian people. Their campaign is often credited with having played a major role in bringing about the Race Relations Acts of 1965 and 1968. This musical will tell the story of this remarkable and often forgotten event.

THE RUSH (10 minutes)
By Ben Goddard and Peter Rowe

The Rush is a contemporary musical thriller with a score that mixes club tracks, rock anthems and lyrical ballads. It follows Megan, an investigative journalist, as she battles to uncover a story of public corruption while her private life is falling apart. Will this adrenaline junkie make her deadline, and her own redemption, or will the chaos in her personal life pull her under?
           
THE PHASE (10 minutes)
By Meg McGrady and Zoe Morris. The Phase is produced by James Leggat and Katie Wilmore, with musical direction by Jake Pople
 
The Phase is a contemporary pop/punk musical about a group of LGBTQ+ students at an all-girls catholic high school whose band is disbanded due to their “inappropriate” LGBTQ+ positive content. As well as fighting back against school policy, the band have to navigate their way through mental health problems, being queer in school, educational pressures and how all of these affect their relationships. Will the band unite and stand together?

Showcase H, 3.10pm & 4.30pm, The Royal
 
SISTER (10 minutes)    
By Nishla Smith. Sister is arranged and musically directed by Tom Harris with visual design by Luca Shaw

The relationship between a brother and sister plays out over the phone since they live on opposite sides of the world, but do either of them have the full picture of each other’s reality? This musical uses animated projections alongside a chamber orchestra/jazz ensemble and two singers to tell a magic realist narrative of splintering mental health.
           
LESBIAN PIRATES! (10 minutes)          
By Natasha Sutton Williams
Lesbian Pirates! is produced by Steph Weller, with music performed by Phil Blandford

Lesbian Pirates! is based on the untold true story of the ruthless, maverick and lesbian pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read. These women met in the Caribbean in 1717 while presenting as male pirates, fell in love, slaughtered swathes of men, stole treasure and escaped execution from the law. Previously erased from history, this riotous, inspiring and incendiary female narrative uses original music and a cast of disabled performers to bring to life Anne and Mary’s sexy, violent and turbulent world.
           
THE BLACKFRIARS BOYS (10 minutes)    
By Sarah Middleton and Josh Sneesby
 
Elizabethan London. 1603. A troupe of young actors are the theatrical rock-stars of their time, and Bobby wants more than anything to join them. With sword-fighting-dance-breaks, plays within plays and pies galore, this musical comedy explores how light can be brought to a world of darkness through the power of storytelling. It’s a community show, performed by young people (and not only boys!) from youth theatres, community groups and schools.
                       
BOMBAY SUPERSTAR
By Samir Bhamra
Bombay Superstar is directed by Samir Bhamra and produced by Phizzical
 
Inspired by the legendary Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan, ‘Bombay Superstar’ is a jukebox musical that twists reality and fantasy. It dissects celebrity culture to see minds driven to the edge of madness. Featuring peppy songs from Bachchan’s classics, it follows a singing waiter obsessed with recreating his most cherished hero’s cinematic moments. Will this superfan’s life spiral out of control when the superstar’s rumoured scandals start to overshadow his achievements?
 
UNTITLED (10 minutes)    
By Ellie Coote and Jack Godfrey
Untitled is produced by Vicky Graham

Untitled is a topical pop musical charting Earth and Humanity’s turbulent, 200,000-year love story in 12 show-stealing songs. A story of climate change, technological advancement, deforestation and the threat of extinction, told with wit, heart and a high-energy contemporary score.     
 Showcase I, 3.10pm & 4.30pm, Screen 2
 
Y TYLWYTH
By Gwyneth Glyn and Twm Morys. Y Tylwyth has direction and dramaturgy from Angharad Lee

Mae Y Tylwyth yn sioe gerdd anarchaidd werin-roc awyrol fodern, wedi’i hysbrydoli gan yr wybodaeth ddofn mae ein coedwigoedd a’n ffawna’n ei guddio rhagom.  Mae’n sioe gerdd sy’n dod yn drosiad am feithrin diwylliannau a dadorchuddio ystyron na allwn eu gwybod. Mae’r haf wedi cyrraedd a Jac Rhaffau’n dychwelyd adref gyda’i dylwyth, er mwyn adennill yr hyn sy’n haeddiannol iddo.  Ei dir a’i gariad.  Ond mae’r cymylau’n casglu dros lwybr y cariadon ifanc, ac wrth i’r chwedlau amlhau, mae’r fam goeden yn ein hatgoffa i gyd mai hi sydd biau’r ddaear a phawb sy’n byw arni.

Y Tylwyth is an anarchic folk-rock contemporary aerial circus musical, inspired by the visceral knowledge our forests and fauna keep to themselves. A musical which becomes a metaphor for nurturing cultures and unearthing meanings we cannot know. It’s summer, and Jack of the Ropes returns home with his ‘tylwyth (kin)’, in his quest to win back what is rightly his. His land and his love. But clouds are gathering over the young lovers’ path and as light is shed on the legends of the land, the mother tree reminds us all that this earth and all who live on her belongs to nothing but herself.
                                               
THE VELVETEEN DAUGHTER
Jen Green and Caroline Wigmore
 
The Velveteen Daughter is an actor-musician musical telling the true mother-daughter story of Margery Williams (author of The Velveteen Rabbit), and her child-prodigy artist daughter, Pamela Bianco; touched by genius and madness. Pamela’s life parallels The Velveteen Rabbit as she struggles to feel real.
           
LOVE THY FRO           
By Stephen Adu-Antoh, Casey Elisha, Malachi Green and Enoch Ronald Nsubuga

Love Thy Fro is a musical adaptation of Casey Elisha’s debut children’s book. The show follows 11-year-old Kemi as she goes on an unexpected journey of self-discovery that includes a trip to the 1970s, and an encounter with a familiar face. Love Thy Fro teaches there is much pride to be had in loving the skin you’re in, while touching on experiences around hair that many will relate to.
           
CARNATION FOR A SONG       
By Joseph Atkins and Megan Cronin. Carnation For A Song is produced by Imogen Brodie and Dan de la Motte
 
Carnation For A Song is a moving musical experience exploring real stories of LGBQ Londoners, aged 50+. Inspired by and featuring in the show; the company members perform a mixture of original songs and text. Stories range from being on the front line in the fight for cultural acceptance and equal rights, to hopes for a more inclusive future. They grapple with the treacherous world of online dating, open up to the realities of ageing and ask whether they are truly seen by society.
                       
THE RHYTHMICS
By Poppy Burton-Morgan and Ben Glasstone

THE RHYTHMICS is a feelgood musical comedy-drama with a rousing acoustic pop score. 39 year old single-dad Grey is drifting into depression, so his 15-year-old daughter Silva packs him off to audition for a local band – but ‘Nick and the Rhythmics’ turns out to be Manchester’s premier all-male Rhythmic Gymnastics Performance Ensemble. This mid-life-crisis-of-masculinity-musical follows Grey and his quirky crew of middle-aged ribbon-twirlers on their uneven path to sporting glory – and (just conceivably) emotional maturity…
 
Showcase J, 3.10pm & 4.30pm, Rehearsal Room
                       
YOU AND I
By Cordelia O’Driscoll and Tom Williams. You and I is produced by Colla Voce Theatre and directed by Elin Schofield
 
What do you do when the world’s first super intelligent robot turns up at your door asking about the origins of the universe, karaoke and the meaning of porn? Fran is about to find out. With a soulful folk score and hilarious script from an award-winning writing duo, You And I follows the story of this aspiring musician as she learns to conquer fear, cope with loss and find her voice, all through her new friendship with a robot called Robert.
 
ON HOSTILE GROUND
By Darren Clark, Juliet Gilkes Romero and Michael Henry. Co-created and directed by Charlotte Westenra
 
On Hostile Ground is a compelling political drama, with a contemporary semi-classical score inspired by the diaspora communities who call Britain “home”. Using jaw-dropping testimonies, it tells the story of the cabinet meeting that created the brutal Hostile Environment Policy, and people whose lives have been destroyed because of it.