BEAM Frequently Asked Questions
The deadline for BEAM 2020 applications is midnight on Monday 26th August 2019.
Am I eligible?
You need to have a professional track record of past creative work (producers, directors and creatives from non-theatre disciplines are welcome to pitch, but if you’re not going to be one of the writing team, we’d expect at least one of the writers to be named in the pitch). You don’t need to have ever written or worked on a musical before. At least half the writing team of the musical must be resident in the UK. You also need to be available to come to BEAM 2020 at Royal & Derngate in Northampton, if selected to present.
What constitutes a ‘professional production’?
The musical you pitch can have been commissioned or workshopped already, but it can’t have received a professional production already (past student or non-professional stagings are fine). We would expect that the defining feature of a professional production will have been that it was fully staged and the cast and crew were paid.
Do I need to be a member of MMD or MTN to apply?
No. Applying to pitch for BEAM is open to any eligible writers and creatives.
Do I have to pay to apply to the showcase?
No. There is no charge to apply for a pitching slot; you will however have to cover your expenses in getting to the pitching venue.
Are you looking for any particular type of work?
No. We are keen to see as wide a range of work as we can. Our definition of musical theatre is very broad, and all we ask is that song plays an integral part in the storytelling.
Do I have to have written a musical before?
No. We are looking for artists at all different stages in their careers, including those exploring musical theatre for the first time – as long as they are bringing a professional level of experience from another discipline to the project.
Are you still interested in me if I’ve written lots of musicals already?
Yes. We want BEAM to provide opportunities to those at the start of their careers, those with a well-established track record, and everything in between.
How do I submit work for a pitching slot?
Simply complete the application form on the Mercury Musical Developments website. Filling out this form includes listing some relevant past experience to show you have a professional track record of creative work; and sharing with us how being selected to present at BEAM will benefit your career. We ask for only a brief statement about the project you’d like to pitch – at this stage we don’t want links to content or recordings, your ten minutes at the pitching day will be an opportunity to share your artistic vision and some sample content with us. You will also be asked to identify your first and second choice of pitching day venue (if you can only access one, just list one). If selecting a London venue, please note whilst we will endeavour to allocate your preferred venue, we may need to re-allocate to one of the other London venues depending on demand.
The deadline for applications is midnight on Monday 26th August 2019.
Can I apply with more than one piece of work?
No. We want to create opportunities for as many artists as possible so we will be operating a strict one pitching slot/one artist or company rule. The only exception is if you are part of two different writing teams; in that instance we would consider each team as a separate entity.
Can I apply to more than one pitching day?
Yes. You can apply for up to two pitching days; a first and second choice.
Can I pitch an adaptation prior to gaining copyright permission?
No. Please ensure you have secured the rights to use any pre-existing material you may be using before pitching for BEAM.
Do I need to be based locally to my pitching venue?
No, you are welcome to pitch at whichever venue you prefer, regardless of whether you live locally. You might consider some venues are likely to be more popular than others and it might suit you to pitch on a ‘quieter’ day or at a venue appropriate to your project. For example, in 2015 one London-based team chose to pitch their rock musical about the Brontë siblings at West Yorkshire Playhouse and this led to a post-BEAM 2016 showcase at the venue. Where possible, the Artistic Director or representative/s of the programming/producing team at the venue will sit on the panel, so this is a good opportunity to get on the radar of a venue that may not already know your work.
How much time will I need to be at the pitching venue?
One hour. Exact timetables will be provided with the confirmation of your pitching slot; in most cases, pitching slots will be allocated between 10am and 6pm. You will be asked to arrive no less than 20 minutes in advance of your pitching slot, in case the pitch ahead of yours doesn’t arrive, and your pitching slot will last 10 minutes. We will try our very best to keep to schedule, but occasionally there may be up to a 20 minute delay in seeing you from your invited time, so we would suggest expecting to be at the venue for up to 20 minutes before and after your allocated ten minute pitching slot.
Will there be rehearsal room space available at the pitching day venue?
We don’t anticipate there will be a separate rehearsal or ‘warm-up’ space at the pitching venues. You should aim to arrive ready to pitch.
How long will my pitching session be?
Everyone will be given a maximum of 10 minutes to pitch their work but please be aware that we will be operating very strict timekeeping on the day, to make sure we can see as many artists as possible. You will not be allowed to overrun, so if you are still performing once your ten minutes are up we will ask you to stop. There will be a minute or so grace either side of your actual pitching time to allow you to get into and out of the room, and for any set-up required. We recommend that you practice your pitch to make sure it fits comfortably within that 10 minutes; it is probably worth practicing something that lasts no more than eight minutes as things can very easily overrun on the day, and it’s useful to have time for a couple of questions.
Can I choose the time of my pitch?
You are welcome to indicate a preference for a morning or afternoon time slot and we will endeavour to accommodate you as far as possible but we cannot guarantee it. If we are unable to meet your requirements you can of course consider pitching at another venue on another day.
What technical resources will be available in the pitching day room?
We will ensure each pitching venue provides a keyboard, power supply for plugging in a laptop or similar, and Wi-Fi.
Can I bring actors/musicians to my pitching session?
Yes. You can bring anyone you like to your pitching session. However, as mentioned above, we will be operating a very strict timetable and so you will need to be sure that you have sufficient time to get any performers in and set up within your allotted time. We would recommend someone starts pitching to the panel while performers set up so you make the most of your ten minutes.
Can I pitch via the internet or send a digital pitch in?
We want to meet you in person and hear about your show/idea ‘live’ and at first hand. There are 17 pitching days around the UK so we hope one will be right for you. In exceptional circumstances, we may consider accepting an e-pitch but you would need to explain the reasons and it would need to be agreed on an individual basis.
If I pitched for /presented at BEAM2016, can I pitch again?
You are welcome to pitch a new project for BEAM 2020 but not the one you pitched for BEAM 2016 or 2018, unless the piece has been substantially revised or expanded. Please let us know if you think you fall into this category and we will agree this on an individual basis.
Can I watch other pitches?
No. Each pitch is private and only the members of each pitching team and the judging panel from the pitching venue and MTN/MMD will be in the room.
Can I bring scripts or demos/CD’s to give to the panel?
No. The panel want to hear you pitch your idea in the 10 minutes available to each writer/team. They do not have the capacity to read or transport additional materials from all pitches, so out of fairness to all, decisions will be made based on what is shared during the ten minute pitch rather than on wider material. In rare cases, we may ask for additional materials/information afterwards if required.
How accessible will the venue be?
All the pitching venues and the BEAM 2020 showcase venue Royal & Dernagte are public buildings and therefore every effort has been made to ensure they are wheelchair accessible. If you have any particular access requirements for making your pitch, please inform us in the relevant section of the application form, and we will do our best to provide whatever access support is required,
I’m not good at pitching – what should I do?
We will be running two free masterclass sessions on how to pitch your work, 23rd July at The Lowry, Salford and 10th September in London. Further details will be available soon and advertised through our networks. If you’re not sure if you are already on either the MMD or MTN mailing list, please email email@example.com and ask to be put on the list; in that way you can be sure you will receive all the relevant information as and when it’s sent out.
Will I get feedback on my pitch?
No. Due to the number of pitching days and available resources, we are unable to offer individual feedback.
When will I find out if I’ve got a place at the showcase?
We won’t be making any decisions about the work we are selecting for the showcase until we have completed all of the pitching days (15th November). We will then make decisions up to and including 13th December 2019 and will notify artists as and when we have decided. So you will definitely know one way or the other by 13th December 2019 but you may also hear earlier than that. Please don’t assume that, just because you haven’t heard before that date whilst others have, that you don’t have a place.
If I’m successful in securing a place at the showcase will you be able to provide any funding to support me?
Those having to travel from significantly outside London to present at Royal & Derngate, will be able to apply for a travel bursary, although whether this will be able to cover all travel costs can’t be guaranteed at this point. For those offered a 20 minute presentation slot, fees will be offered for performers and a director. For those offered a ten minute pitching slot, a contribution will be made available to reimbursing expenses – the intention is that these pitching slots are quite simple presentations, often only involving the key creatives themselves. The amount of support we can offer you will be made clear when we offer you an opportunity to present at BEAM 2020, so you can decide to accept the offer with knowledge of the financial costs. We aim to also offer a financial contribution to writers’ preparation time, at least for those presenting a 20 minute excerpt, and will confirm what can be offered in December.
Who can buy tickets to BEAM 2020?
BEAM 2020 is an industry event and we will invite artistic directors, producers, programmers, funders, higher education colleges, publishers, and anyone else with resources to help develop/stage your show to buy tickets to attend the event in order to see a diverse presentation of new musical theatre work, at all stages of development, from right across the UK in one place. We anticipate there will be some public-facing elements to the event which are to be confirmed and tickets for this will be available to anyone.
Do I need to be a member of MTN to buy tickets to the showcase?
No, all professional creatives and venues with a declared interested or who are already involved in new musical theatre are welcome to attend BEAM. We hope any who are not already MTN members will consider becoming part of our network. Details on how to join MTN and what we offer are available here.