UK Musical Theatre Conference

“Worlds to change and worlds to win”

New musical theatre for our times

Birmingham Hippodrome – Monday 16th May 2022

This is the UK’s main Conference event considering the musical theatre sector and art form in the UK, usually held biennially. Booking gives you access in person to dedicated networking sessions (10.00 – 11.00 am and 5.15 – 6.15 pm) with musical theatre industry peers, and to the conference sessions (11.00 am – 1.30 pm and 3.00 – 5.15 pm), with further networking opportunities over lunch, which will be provided at the venue thanks to our sponsors.

It’s shaping up to be an exciting gathering, with confirmed speakers so far including artistic director Suba Das (Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse Theatres), rapaturg Gerel Falconer (‘Black Power Desk’), writers Francesca Forristal and Jordan Clarke (‘Public Domain’), producer Ameena Hamid (‘The Wiz’), academic Dr Pamela Karantonis (Goldsmiths), director Angharad Lee (‘The Last 5 Years’), creative Meg McGrady (‘The Phase’), writer Leo Mercer (‘Guy’), director Kerry Kyriacos Michael MBE (‘Tommy’), legal expert Stephen Pidcock (Clintons Solicitors), producer Chris Sudworth (Birmingham Hippodrome), writer Rachel Victor-Sampson (‘Royals & Rebels’), composer Tim Sutton (‘To the Streets!’) and writer DJ Walde (‘Sylvia’).

After two years of almost all MMD and MTN’s events being held online, we are planning the 2022 UK Musical Theatre Conference as a solely in-person event. This is in keeping with past Conferences and the rare opportunity they offer for gathering together those focused on new musical theatre in the UK, to network and connect in the breaks as well as debate during the formal sessions.

This year’s Conference will look at areas where musical theatre is making a difference within the performing arts and wider society, and poised to make more significant impacts over the next decade. For surely this is a time when the world needs more musical theatre. At this stage we expect session topics to include how musical theatre can engage audiences with the climate crisis, musical theatre that amplifies the voices of particular communities, adapting real life stories for musical theatre, and evolving approaches to making musical theatre more inclusive. Further details and speakers to be announced soon.

The 2022 UK Musical Theatre Conference is brought to you by Musical Theatre Network and Mercury Musical Developments, in association with Birmingham Hippodrome. We’re grateful to Concord Theatricals – lead sponsor of the 2022 UK Musical Theatre Conference, and to Theatrical Rights Worldwide as session sponsors. Thanks also to Birmingham Hippodrome as our venue partner, and to Arts Council England for their core funding of Musical Theatre Network and Mercury Musical Developments as co-producers of the Conference.

Previous Conferences 

The UK Musical Theatre Conference 2019 called “Road Show” took place on the 15th March 10.45am – 5.45pm at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, co-produced by Mercury Musical Developments & Musical Theatre Network. That year’s biennial Conference had a focus on Touring Mid-Scale New British Musical Theatre. The day featured eight strategic discussions, including panels and provocations, each featuring industry leaders and leading musical theatre artists, examining different aspects of the opportunities and challenges for touring new British musical theatre on the mid-scale.

The 2017 conference, titled ‘High Flying, Adored? Redefining success in new musical theatre in the UK’ was held at Lyric Hammersmith. 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 and 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.

The 2015 conference, titled ‘Putting it Together’ was held at the Arcola Theatre. Panellists and speakers included Samuel Adamson (The Light Princess, National Theatre), Rebecca Applin (Cameron Mackintosh resident composer), Wendy Gadian (principal lecturer and course leader, Musical Theatre BA at RCSSD), Rupert Gould (Artistic Director, Almeida Theatre), Pravesh Kumar (Artistic Director, Rifco), Susie McKenna (Creative Director, Hackney Empire), Jenny Sealey (Artistic Director, Graeae Theatre), and Danielle Tarento (freelance producer and casting director).

Previous conference venues have also included the Almeida Theatre, where speakers included Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer the Opera, Made in Dagenham), Libby Purves (writer and broadcaster), David Babani (Artistic Director, Menier Chocolate Factory), Cora Bissett (director, actor and musician, Glasgow Girls), Gurinder Chadha (director and writer, Bend It Like Beckham) and Sarah Travis (Tony Award-winning orchestrator and musical supervisor), and Soho Theatre where speakers included Phelim McDermott (Artistic Director, Improbable).

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

Just wanted to say thank you for a brilliant day. It has given me such a lot to think about. Excellent organisation, super food, stimulating – nay inspirational speakers.  And great networking. You did a fantastic job.
– MMD Member

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