Music for Theatre

Rehearsing Kneehigh Theatre. Photo, Steve Tanner

I have loved writing and performing music for theatre. Collaborating with directors, writers, designers and actors presents a constantly changing array of challenges, and encourages the exploration of new musical languages and compositional techniques.

Laborinthus II by Luciano Berio, with 20th Century Music Enterprise, Cambridge 1986

At the age of 15, in the school play, I took the role of John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. This sparked an appetite for the stage that led to further roles at school and later at university, including Autolycus in Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale,  and roles in plays by Tom Stoppard, Molière and Eugène Ionesco. I didn’t pursue acting beyond university days, however I subsequently became very interested in writing music for theatre.

Dodgy Clutch Theatre Company

In the late 1980’s I moved to Newcastle in the NorthEast of England where I worked extensively with street theatre and community theatre, including projects with Alan Lyddiard of Northern Stage and Ozzie Riley of Dodgy Clutch Street Theatre. I then moved to Japan where I composed music for several Japanese theatre productions including The Dream of Odin with Yurabe Masami, and The Cult of Dionysus with Zen Zen Zo physical theatre.

In 2003 after returning from Brazil to live in Cornwall, I became a musical director for Kneehigh Theatre, working with the director Bill Mitchell in creating the live soundtrack for A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings which toured for three years and was performed on the docks of Birgu in Malta, and in Nicosia, Cyprus, where the show was staged in the vast no mans land that separates Northern and Southern Cyprus.

Wildworks Theatre, Hayle 2005. Photo, Steve Tanner

I then went on to become musical director for Wildworks Theatre, specialising in outdoor productions in spectacular locations. For Wildworks I worked again with Bill Mitchell, creating the music for Souterrain, based on the myth of Orpheus in the Underworld. This production was performed in the ruins of a Napoleonic citadel in Northen France, an empty department store in Colchester and a disused tin mine in Cornwall.

5. Mikalis and Me300Working as musical director for these theatre companies I have been very fortunate to collaborate with a range of exceptional international musicians including the celebrated Cypriot singer Michalis Tterlikkas, the Maltese folk-fusion group Etnika, the French jazz group Trio d’vie and the African gospel choir Les Messagers.  

 

 

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