Musicals Hub for Studio

Nov 13 2020 | By More

Cap Theatres to develop new Scottish musicals

Capital Theatres and Pitlochry Festival Theatre have set up a new joint venture, the Musical Commissioning Hub, to work with Scottish musicians and writers to develop new musicals.

The first act of the new initiative is to invite writers to submit an idea for a new musical, which will be judged by a panel of nine musical theatre professionals including Howard Goodall, Barbara Dickson, Robert Softley Gale and SIX producer Kenny Wax.

A picture of Summer Holiday on stage at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre as part of its rep season in 2019.

Summer Holiday, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, 2019. Pic: Douglas McBride

Capital Theatres, which runs the Kings and Festival Theatres, says the venture is the start of a new strategy from its chief executive Fiona Gibson to develop its third theatre space, The Studio.

To this end it is working with Pitlochry to collaborate with musicians, writers and artists to develop Scottish talent and cultural output, so they can stage “great Scottish musicals year on year, which could ultimately be shared on tour with venues across the country”.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre has a strong history of new productions of musicals – with at least one in its rep programme every year and, in recent years, staging a new production at Christmas rather than a pantomime.

Scratch performances

Pitlochry recently applied for planning permission to create its own new studio space, which it anticipates will be open by May 2021. The aim is to use it to stage a scratch performance of the winning entry in Summer 2021 following a first scratch performances at The Studio in Spring.

Part of the funding for the new initiative comes from the Performing Arts Venue Relief Fund, which Creative Scotland stipulates venues should use to “Increase commissioning and employment opportunities for freelance artists and creative practitioners to support continued public engagement while closed.”

The seating area inside The Studio in Edinburgh

The Studio. Pic: Capital Theatres.

Gibson said: “This unprecedented period of our venues being closed provides a unique window of opportunity to progress new Scottish works at a time when enjoyment and entertainment has never been more necessary.

“Scotland has a rich history of creating high quality stories that we want to bring to life through performance. As the impact of Covid-19 deepens within our society, there is a real risk that new talent, and new creative content, will not come to the fore.”

This, she says, will not only result in a dearth of new work around Scotland now and in the years to come, but will diminish the pool of creative Scottish talent.

How to apply

Submissions for the first initiative open from Monday 16 November and remain open for a month until Tuesday 15 December. Details are on the Capital Theatres website here and PFT website here.

Writers will be asked to submit an outline for a new musical alongside details of their previous work to be considered by a panel of nine musical theatre experts as well as Gibson and Pitlochry artistic director, Elizabeth Newman.

The panel has a diverse background and range of expertise in music, musical theatre, creative writing and performance. The aim is that it will not only assess submissions, but will guide their development and the whole process.

Panel members include composer and creator of musicals Howard Goodall; Scottish singer and actress Barbara Dickson; broadcaster and lead singer of Deacon Blue, Ricky Ross and Robert Softley Gale, artistic director of Birds of Paradise theatre company and director of My Left/Right Foot.

Also on the panel will be playwright and Lyceum artistic director David Greig whose musicals include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Local Hero; theatre director and radio DJ Matthew Xia; producer Kenny Wax; Katie Brayben acclaimed for her role as Carole King in the London production of Beautiful and co-director of Freedom Studios Aisha Khan.

Information on what the panel is looking for and how to enter is available at and


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