Unseen song cycle

Jul 1 2016 | By More

New tunes and plot lines for Musical Theatre showcase

A song cycle of tunes from Broadway and the West Ends of both Glasgow and London gets its world premiere this weekend, in a mini-tour that arrives at the Scottish Storytelling on Sunday afternoon.

Songs Unseen brings together New Inck Theatre, which promotes and produces new work by established and emergent playwrights, composers and screen writers, and the Capall Dorcha Theatre Company, founded by actor Barry Robertson in Ayrshire.

Barry Robertson & Lauren Ellis-Steele.Songs Unseen rehearsal photo

Barry Robertson & Lauren Ellis-Steele. Songs Unseen rehearsal photo

New Inck Theatre’s artistic director Natalie Toyne told Æ that Songs Unseen builds on the company’s Scenes Unseen, which brought new pieces of theatre to the stage. It builds out of a conversation Toyne had with musical theatre composer Bill Russell after watching a video of his Broadway production of ‘Sideshow’ at the Lincoln Centre Library.

She continued: “The US is really supportive of emerging Musical Theatre writers and there are a lot of opportunities for new work to be developed, so he was incredibly supportive of the idea of Songs Unseen, and gave us world premieres from his and Janet Hood’s musical that premieres in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, this Summer, for our show.

“He is all for artists coming together to make more work for the writers, the producers, the actors, everyone that is part of the theatrical community; and that is what is behind Songs Unseen.”

Long term plan

Toyne believes that there need to be more ways to get new musicals into development in Scotland. Her long term plan is to find a way of being self-sustainable in this development by creating an e-commerce website that sells sheet music, original mp3s and backing tracks.

Natalie Arle-Toyne, Rosie Houlton and Lauren Ellis-Steele in rehearsal for Songs Unseen.

Natalie Arle-Toyne, Rosie Houlton and Lauren Ellis-Steele in rehearsal for Songs Unseen.

Songs Unseen includes ideas for a new musicals from Finn Anderson, Gus Gowland and composer/lyricist team Karen MacIver and John Cairney.

“Yes, that’s the John Cairney who in his heyday acted in major movies,” says Toyne. “That was with Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and starring in Jason and the Argonauts.”

Idea 1: Roy by Finn Anderson
In 2012 in the run up to the Mayan doomsday there were many stories hard to believe of people throughout the world emptying their banks, leaving their jobs and making radical life changes. Roy is based on a man who spent the 48 hours leading up to the “apocalypse” in an inflatable rubber boat in his front garden with his dog and a heavy supply of survival snacks.

Idea 2: The Red Virgin by Gus Gowland
Tells the extraordinary true story of Hildegart Rodriguez Carballeira and her mother, Aurora. Gowland has two songs in the show from that musical and the backbone of the script, but we are appealing to co-producers to support the research and development of this piece and the others.

Idea 3: by Karen MacIver and John Cairney
“MacIver and Cairney have gifted us a gem of a song with the story idea being the meeting of Robert Burns and Amadeus Mozart in a surreal afterlife. Again, we’ll be looking for co-producers to help us to realise this idea in a development room.”

The show also includes never before seen songs from Andrew Cruikshank and the duo of Johnny McKnight and Alan Penman. The songs have been pulled together into a theatrical song cycle by Donna Soto-Morettini, who is directing the show.

The cast includes Natalie Arle-Toyne, Barry Robertson, Neil Thomas, Rosie Houlton and Lauren Ellis-Steele.

Listing and links

Songs Unseen
Scottish Storytelling Centre, Netherbow Theatre, 43-45 High Street, EH1 1SR
Sunday 3 July 2016
Afternoon show: 3pm.
Tickets: £13.

Songs Unseen on Twitter: @SongsUnseen
Capall Dorcha Theatre Company website: www.capalldorcha.com.
New Inck Theatre website: www.newincktheatre.com

Songs Unseen on tour:
Fri 1 July, 7pm Glasgow
Oran Mor
0141 357 6200 Book online
Sat 2 July, 7.30pm Irvine
Harbour Arts Centre
01294 274059 Book online
Sun 3 July, 3pm Edinburgh
Scottish Storytelling Centre
0131 556 9579 Book online


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