Production Processes in

Musical Theatre


From 2014-16, I designed and taught this year-long unit for second-year Performing Arts majors, which is a practical exploration of a range of styles and traditions within the genre of musical theatre. The unit involves the devising of an original musical through a deconstructive process of pre-existing musical theatre repertoire, and other music styles and forms appropriate to the selected themes for the specific project. Over two years, I established an on-going collaborations with Dr. Giannandrea Poesio (choreographer and co-teacher) and  professional composer, performer and musical director, Jennifer Lucy Cook, who adapted and arranged the musical score for both student productions. In its second year of delivery. I established a working model for the course to collaborate with the Foundational Degree in Make-Up and Character Design students, who designed the hair and make-up for the cast of twenty, working in line with the overall aesthetic vision for the production. This collaborative model gave students on both courses experience that mirrors industry practices.



During the 2014-15 academic year, we produced DECONSTRUCTING HOPE, which began with the theme of ‘Hope’ as an initial stimulus. We engaged in a series of ongoing discussions and brainstorm sessions, drawing from our own experiences with hope and hopelessness. From this dialogue a series of narrative threads and characters were shaped into a script.



During the 2015-16 academic year, students engaged in an in-depth study of Brecht & Weill’s The Threepenny Opera (based on John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera), and began to deconstruct the classic story, focusing on themes of Corruption, Temptation, Barriers, Stigma and Entrapment in an imagined setting, ‘The Glitter Wasteland.’ In December, the students worked in pairs to develop and perform adaptations of songs from Threepenny, These presentations led to the development of GLITRA ANESTHETICA. Borrowing and adapting songs from Threepenny and other musical theatre repertoire, as well as popular music, this musical theatre ‘mash-up’ has been developed in order to showcase the skills being developed on this unit. Set in the ‘Glitter Wasteland,’ Mayor Ron the Don keeps the people addicted to all forms of glitter, as the sparkle of his glitterganda distracts society from caring about their Mayor’s inherent corruption. But, Mack-Zee, the infamous Hacktivist has a plan to bring him and his greedy wife, Lady Grimace, down. Will the Glitterites awake from their glittercrusted stupor, and join in the revoiution?