Hosking Houses Trust Writers’ Residency Recipients

December 8th, 2020

Mercury Musical Developments is delighted to announce the first recipients of the Hosking Houses Trust Writers’ Residency.

Following an extensive review of high-quality applications from female identifying musical theatre writers and composers from across the UK, Susannah Pearse has been selected to receive the first residency in February 2021, which includes 3 weeks in an idyllic, well equipped cottage in Clifford Chambers, Stratford-Upon-Avon, with a £700 bursary and mentoring from book and lyric writer Teresa Howard. The second residency will be taken up by Caitlyn Burt in the autumn of 2021.

Susannah Pearse
Caitlyn Burt

“Opportunities like the Hosking Houses/MMD residency are rare and special. I am so grateful for the time this will give me to focus on the next draft of The Bridge of San Luis Rey which Tim Connor and I are adapting from Thornton Wilder’s novel. I am also thrilled that I will be mentored by Teresa Howard and am very much looking forward to working with her”. Susannah Pearse.

This show builds on her work with composer-lyricist Tim Connor, who she previously collaborated with on The Stationmaster and Ever Onward, and is their most ambitious piece together to date. Other work by Pearse includes music and lyrics for A Christmas Carol and Treasure Island with Kate Ferguson, and book and lyrics for Hourglass and Jabberwocky with Rebecca Applin.

Susannah also writes the music for the songs on John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme on Radio 4, and has an MFA in Musical Theatre Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Through the incredible generosity of The Coral Samuel Charitable Trust and Hosking Houses Trust, we have been able to appoint a second residency and bursary to Caitlyn Burt, to take place later in 2021.

“The MMD and Hosking Houses Trust Residency will provide an unbroken period of focus, facilitating the development of the libretto for our podcast musical, ‘Out of Sight’. Utilising the audio medium, my collaborator, composer Amir Shoenfeld, and I hope to create a musical based on the life of Otto Weidt, striving to be particularly relatable and accessible for those with a visual impairment. I am so grateful to MMD and Hosking Houses Trust for their support, and for the opportunities that they are providing emerging writers and women in our industry”. Caitlyn Burt

Burt’s lyrics have won her critical acclaim this year, winning the ‘A Song for Our Time’ competition for ‘Looking at the Moon’ and the Garden Theatre Songwriting Competition with ‘A Man Called John’. Burt’s work also includes Libretto and Lyrics for Shiela the Tiny Turtle (Podcast Musical). Bite-sized Broadway, IndieWorks Theatre, New York, and she is currently working on three other full-length musicals and a concept album, with composer collaborators Amir Shoenfeld, Shauna Carrick and Tom Chester.

“At MMD we are working to increase opportunities for our writer members to develop their work and want particularly to amplify the voices of those underrepresented in the new musical theatre sector; we are delighted to be evolving a new partnership with the Hosking Houses Trust as they specifically support female identifying writers. For the first time, the Hosking Houses Trust are including musical theatre writers in their residency programme. We are deeply grateful to the Coral Samuel Trust for funding these first two bursaries and would love to hear from Trusts and individuals who might be interested in supporting future residencies.

There were many deserving writers who applied for this opportunity and particularly in these times of diminished income and shared living & working spaces it is crucial for writers to have a peaceful and funded space and time in which to write”. Emily Gray, Executive Director, Mercury Musical Developments

The Hosking Houses Trust was founded by Sarah Hosking whose mission was to provide a ‘Room of One’s Own’ in which women could write. Since 2002 more than 100 writers and artists have stayed in the cottage, writing poetry, novels and plays and making art for exhibitions. They include Timberlake Wertenbaker, Joan Bakewell, Salley Vickers, Maggie Gee, Chinonyerem Odimba and Wendy Cope. Marina Warner has been patron of the Trust since 2006.