This series of blogs is about an exciting new project. The first will be exploring the concept and thoughts around its instigation and are responses from questions I asked of Simon Driscoll director and writer along with Jen Bird
Where did the concept come from? What were its humble beginnings?
I have been working with Spotlight UK for the about 4 years, coaching singing, music, and musical theatre.
During the holidays we put on shows in a week. These have ranged from Aladdin to Annie, Dr Doolittle to Suessical the musical. One thing that I noticed was that each show had the main characters, but our younger children were always stuck in the chorus. I wanted to find a show where every child had a part, even if it was a couple of lines, but I could never find one.
So this time last year I decided that I would write a musical for them myself. I started to think of all of my favourite childhood stories and tried to come up with a rough idea based around them.
The name “The Island Of Lost Children” came up very quickly and I jotted down some character names and an outline of the story.
Being from a musical background I had no idea about writing scripts, so it wasn’t until I spoke with Jen about it that it started to come to life. She had some great ideas and jumped straight in with fleshing out the characters and the story.
The music and songs seemed to come quite quickly after that. Sometimes I would write the music and we would put lyrics on top, sometimes Jen would have lyrics and a melody and the music came later, and sometimes we would sit down and write it all at once.
We finished our first draft for the summer 2014 and performed it as one of our shows in a week.
It was so much fun to do that we then decided that we would try to put it on as a full show in a proper theatre and here we are!
Who are the creative team behind this new musical?
The script, original story, music and lyrics are written by myself (Simon) and Jen Bird.
We have teamed up with the charity Spotlight UK who have an amazing team helping us with set design, props, costumes.
We also have Ciaran and Andrew McFarlane designing the more tricky costumes.
For the dance numbers, we have joined forces with Dance Phaze, an incredibly talented dance group from Tadley, Hampshire.
So what’s the brief story?
The story revolves around Patience, a 12-year-old girl who has moved into a new house with her father and her evil governess, Miss Treat.
Her mother passed away from pneumonia which has made her father overprotective and he does not allow her to leave the house. Her only friend is her dog, Barkley.
Miss Treat makes Patience do chores all day while her father is out working.
One day, after being punished and thrown into the attic, Patience finds an old painting of an Island. When she touches it she gets sucked into the painting (along with Barkley) and ends up on the Island.
There she meets a group of children led by the “Island King”.
They tell her about the Island Ghost that steals children away so they must hide in the forest.
It turns out that the Island Ghost is actually Vincent Von Violent, and evil painter who is using his sidekick, Igor, to capture children and freeze them in paint to release their magic and keep the island from disappearing.
Patience must face her fears and believe in herself to defeat the evil mastermind and return home to her father.
The next in the series will explore the cast and give an idea of the music that you can enjoy if you visit the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke on Sunday 24th May. So until next time ……………….!