Tim Minchin launches new songwriting contest for UK composers

Comedian Tim Minchin has launched the Mercury Theatre's songwriting competition for new composing ta

Comedian Tim Minchin has launched the Mercury Theatre's songwriting competition for new composing talents Picture: Rob Fisher/Stella Pictures - Credit: Rob Fisher/Stella Pictures

The Mercury Theatre Colchester is launching an exciting new songwriting contest with the help of composer-comedian Tim Minchin and in association with new musical developers Perfect Pitch, as part of the next phase of their ‘Mercury Online’ virtual season.

Following their successful partnership on the 2018 Made in Colchester production of Pieces of String, the companies are now seeking to nurture the music talent of local songwriters. These up and coming talents can be of any age and experience, and the scheme is designed to promote excellence in the art of songwriting.

The Mercury has a rich history of producing and supporting musical theatre. Pieces of String was a hit with audiences in Colchester and went on to win the Stage Debut Award 2018 for Best Composer or Lyricist, and was nominated for Best Musical Theatre Bookwriting by the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and Best Musical Production by UK Theatre Awards.

In 2019, their co-production of Ain’t Misbehavin’ with Paul Taylor-Mills and Tamasha transferred to Southwark Playhouse where choreographer Oti Mabuse received the Offie award for best choreography and their 2017 co-production of Spamalot with Selladoor toured the UK before heading to South Korea where it was awarded Best Musical at the 11th DIMF awards.

Launching now, the Mercury Songwriting Contest will be held over a three week period, and will see hopefuls pen an original song, lasting no longer than five minutes in length.

Artist's impression of the new-look Mercury Theatre Picture: MERCURY THEATRE

Artist's impression of the new-look Mercury Theatre Picture: MERCURY THEATRE - Credit: Archant

Composers, musicians and songwriters are challenged to write and submit an ‘I Want’ song – the song in a musical that sets out the leading character’s dreams and desires, connects listeners to them emotionally and makes them want to go on a journey with the character.

Submissions close on Wednesday June 3 and will be judged by the Mercury Theatre team and Wendy and Andy Barnes from Perfect Pitch, who produce the award-winning hit musical Six. The winner will receive a £500 prize with runner up prizes on offer, too. The selection panel will listen to all submitted tracks and the winner will be announced on Friday June 12.

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Ryan McBryde, the Mercury’s creative director said: “As Covid-19 continues to keep us socially distant, the Mercury continues to explore ways in which we can support artists in our industry. We’re overjoyed to be launching our Songwriting Contest with Perfect Pitch and are looking forward to finding some talented new UK voices.”

Wendy and Andy Barnes of Perfect Pitch said: “We’re delighted to be teaming up once again with the Mercury as we continue to grow our new musicals collaboration with the theatre. The time felt right for this project to happen as we are all adjusting to the changed circumstances around us, and wanted to offer the many talented people out there an outlet for their creativity. We can’t wait to hear some amazing new songs and discover some exciting new talent.”

The Mercury Songwriting Contest is presented as part of the Mercury’s new digital offering, Mercury Online. This new programme of work, created in response to the UKs current state of lockdown, also includes Monday Masterclasses with a range of industry professionals via Zoom, Mercury Sing-a-longs with West End star Craig Mather on Wednesday evenings, and has included a Mercury Monologues competition for both adults and young writers.

For more information and full competition terms and conditions please visit www.mercurytheatre.co.uk.

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