Brainiacs and musicals


British Musical Theatre Research Institute Symposium

Wow, that’s a mouthful! On Saturday I went thinking. The symposium at University of Winchester looked at ways documenting creative practice, and how scholars could offer thought to creative processes. It was a challenging morning which I was unprepared for (it was Saturday!), but has left me mulling over questions like how I go about creating, what exactly is that process, and also about my retired idea for a PHD which I now really, really want to go back to! The afternoon sessions looked at working with institutes of higher education – how practitioners and places and students can work well so that all parties get something out of the mix. I already work with the University of Chichester in a really flexible manner to develop my work, so it was very useful hearing about the other models out there.

There were a few guest speakers – Sam Kenyon spoke of his new project and talked about his research process of interviewing. I liked the fact that he said something like: ‘the right people always turn up. The people you need to talk to will be there. Forget the rest.’ I am paraphrasing there, but that was my take-home   . . .  stop sweating about who doesn’t show. Which is all well and good as he’s friends with a lady at RSC who’re putting on his show. And although he was at pains to point out that he went through the process fairly and squarely, I’m still peeved that they cancelled coming to see my work at the last minute! Ha – that’s my sour grapes for the day (and is in no way about Sam and his work – he is super talented, judging by his reviews, career, and website!).

We also heard from Adam Lenson (director only interested in musicals) who has a provocative way of looking at things, but when he says it, you realise that he’s right. He spoke about an ideal of writer-centric new musicals, rather than producer led. Ah, the utopian ideal. He also (later) talked about the use of A or THE in describing musicals, but that’s for his future podcast so I’m not going to discuss anything about that.

Then we all went to the pub, which was fun. I met loads of lovely people, and was challenged in lots of ways, so I am thoroughly glad that I went, and was welcomed so wonderfully.

This morning (Sunday) I have been considering whether I should indulge myself with reading research, and how that could inform my scholarly practice. But actually, I need to get on with writing a play that’s rather overdue!

To get back to my website, click on my name Zella Compton.

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