West End stars join UCLan students to produce a Musical in a Week for BBC Children in Need
Stars of the West End are joining forces with University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) undergraduates to create a Musical in a Week for charity.
Around 50 third year music theatre and media production students will be working with actors, writers and directors to produce an upbeat 30 minute friendship themed musical, which will be performed on the evening of BBC Children in Need on 17 November.
The event will see the students develop a script, write lyrics, create songs, and rehearse and perform all within five days from 13 to 17 November.
Among the actors who are confirmed to deliver masterclasses during the week are West End favourite Claire Sweeney, new UCLan Honorary Fellow and Cold Feet star John Thomson and two-time Olivier Award nominated actor Michael Xavier, who has recently starred in Sunset Boulevard opposite Glenn Close on Broadway.
Pip Minnithorpe, currently the Resident Director of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child playing in the West End; Ruth Bratt, co-creator of the Olivier winning Showstopper – The Improvised Musical; and Debbie O’Brien, who has cast numerous productions in the West End, will be on hand throughout the week offering their advice to the students.
Working with them on a live project like this is replicating what they would do in the industry; this is a chance for them to see what career paths are possible within the musical theatre world.
Emma Speed, UCLan’s Creative Industries Innovation Manager, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our music theatre students to engage with top West End and Broadway performers. Working with them on a live project like this is replicating what they would do in the industry; this is a chance for them to see what career paths are possible within the musical theatre world.”
The initiative is part of an innovative University partnership with Perfect Pitch, an Arts Council funded organisation which creates contemporary new musicals.
Andy Barnes, Executive Producer of Perfect Pitch, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for UCLan students to work alongside top industry professionals to discover the opportunities which are available in musical theatre and to get first-hand experience of writing, casting and performing in a musical. By partnering with BBC Children in Need and through the creation of a legacy Children in Need themed musical, which is to be rolled out in schools throughout the UK, this whole experience has additional purpose and benefit.”
The money raised from ticket sales for the Friday evening performance, which will take place in UCLan’s St Peter’s Arts Centre, will go directly to the Children in Need appeal. The Musical in a Week project will also be featured during the BBC North West’s Children in Need coverage.
The Musical in a Week follows in the footsteps of the successful Soap in a Week, which in February 2016 saw UCLan students work with the cast and crew of Coronation Street and Emmerdale to create a 15 minute soap.
There are 50 tickets available to the general public for Friday night’s Musical in a Week performance.
They are £5 each but people must register beforehand on Eventbrite and pay their £5 on the door.
Actress Claire Sweeney