UK Musical Theatre Industry Conference


Mercury Musical Developments and Musical Theatre Network‘s 2017 Conference: ‘High Flying, Adored ?’ Redefining success in new musical theatre in the UK took place at Lyric Hammersmith on Tuesday 28th March 2017.

The day featured six case studies of new British musicals, exploring their business models, and how they navigated a development path to success. Producers and creatives behind these productions shared insights, followed by questions / discussion. A panel of industry experts also discussed audience development and marketing specifically for new British musicals, and there were plenty of networking opportunities throughout the day.

Do ensure you follow us @MercuryMusicals and @Mtheatrenetwork and look out for #ukmtconf hashtag.

Reception sponsored by

2017 Case Studies:

Miss Nightingale – Mr Bugg Presents have toured their original British musical (of cabaret, prejudice and scandal in the dark days of WWII) for over six years, making the transition from smaller studio spaces to the mainstages of mid- and large-scale venues.

Writer/director/producer Matthew Bugg shares the inside story of this journey as the show returns to central London, joined by Pete Rowe from partner New Wolsey Theatre.

Laila the Musical – Rifco Arts’ co-production with Watford Palace Theatre and Queens Theatre Hornchurch toured successfully in 2016, reaching new and diverse audiences with its 7th century Persian romance of Laila and Majnu.

Writer/director Pravesh Kumar will discuss how Rifco developed this new British musical to tour successfully to seven mid-scale venues following its premiere.

The Wind in the Willows – Producer Jamie Hendry talks about his new musical adaptation by George Stiles, Anthony Drewe and Julian Fellowes ahead of its opening in June at the London Palladium. Jamie commissioned the musical in 2012 and in 2013 successfully raised over £1 million towards the production’s budget through crowdfunding, opening the show at Theatre Royal Plymouth, then touring to Salford’s Lowry and Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre ahead of its West End run.

Fantastic Mr Fox – Nuffield Southampton Theatres’ director Sam Hodges shares how they resourced their ambitions to develop and stage new musical ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, joined by Chris Stafford, chief executive of co-producer Curve, and producer Eleanor Lloyd who acted as a consultant on the production. This family musical, adapted from Roald Dahl’s book by Sam Holcroft, Arthur Darvill, Al Muriel and Darren Clark, has successfully played at Nuffield (its best selling production) and the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith ahead of a planned commercial tour and international performances. (photo credit is Emanuel Harlem.)

Forest Boy was Noisemaker’s first original musical and was developed with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. The show premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe before going on to further productions in London and New York. During this session, Claire and Scott will share how their modern day fairy tale musical has found success in Edinburgh, London (winning the S&S Award) and New York (with the New York Musical Festival) and how they have grown from a Glasgow-based songwriting team into a partnership with an emerging international voice.

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie – Sheffield Theatres commissioned this new British musical from an idea by director Jonathan Butterell, based on the true story of a local teenager coming out as a drag queen while at high school. Written by Tom MacRae and Dan Gillespie-Sells, it recently finished its World Premiere at Sheffield Crucible Theatre, playing to standing ovations.and packed houses. Director Jonathan Butterell, Songwriter Dan Gillespie Sells and Creative Associate Jane Semark share the story of the show’s success to date.


2015 Conference: “Putting It Together”– Arcola Theatre, Thursday 12th March 2015

Huge thanks to our distinguished panel:

Rupert Goold – Artistic Director Almeida Theatre

Susie Mckenna – Creative Director Hackney Empire

Pravesh Kumar – Artistic Director Rifco

Samuel Adamson – Lyricist, Bookwriter (The Light Princess, The National Theatre)

Jenny Sealey MBE – Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre

Rebecca Applin – Composer, writing music for a range of projects, especially in the field of Musical Theatre, Theatre and Media

Wendy Gadian – Principal Lecturer and Course Leader of the 3-Year Musical Theatre BA at Central.

Danielle Tarento – Freelance producer and casting director

“It was a great day and we both left buzzing with excitement. Well done!” MTN Member

Our provocations at the conference were presented on the following topics and delivered by these wonderful people…

Click HERE to for a reminder of their brilliant, passionate, and engaging provocations.

Where are the women making musical theatre?

Susie Mckenna





Is there only one way to write a musical or do we need to find a new approach?

 Samuel Adamson





Disability and musical theatre

Jenny Sealey MBE






2014 Conference: Almeida Theatre, Friday 21st March 2014

We kicked things off with a fascinating hour of Richard Thomas (Olivier Award winning composer of Jerry Springer the Opera) in conversation with Libby Purves, chatting about his career and future projects. An array of industry experts – including David Babani (Artistic Director, Menier Chocolate Factory), Cora Bissett (director, actor and musician behind Glasgow Girls, Whatever Gets You Through The Night and Roadkill), Gurinder Chadha (director and writer of Bend It Like Beckham) and Sarah Travis (Tony Award winning orchestrator and musical supervisor) – then took to the stage to explore some of the key developments in the art form:





  • The growing use of actor/musicians in musical theatre
  • The renaissance of the “chamber musical”
  • The increasing number of new voices working within musical theatre




If you aren’t already on our mailing list and want to make sure you get all the up-to-date news, including conference information and events click here.





We will be giving further updates on twitter so do ensure you follow @Mtheatrenetwork and look out for #ukmtconf

Please put Tuesday 28th March 2017 into your diary now and you can book tickets HERE!