The eight chosen artists for the first year will receive a £1,000 stipend, a work-in-progress showcase at The Other Palace, a 12 month membership to Mercury Musical Developments, a performance of their work at Theatre Royal Stratford East and free tickets to its productions. It is the first in what the company hopes will be an annual partnership with a theatre organisation, specifically interested in new musicals.
A co-founder of the Collective believes that its creation was intended to address the gaps and needs of theatre in a way which also supported the artists and the industry. The host theatres for the organisation will provide in-kind support to the Collective, allowing it to nurture artists in the musical theatre industry, meaning they will benefit from dramaturgy and development, masterclasses and workshops, and access to rehearsal rooms.
As a result it is hoped the Collective will create challenging, innovative and well-crafted new British musicals, with musical theatre being an art form that has the power to connect cultures and develop new audiences. Musical theatre is a key priority for Theatre Royal Stratford East, and it has always had musical theatre development as one its cores. As a result the theatre is keen to share its knowledge and expertise with the Collective; over the next year the New Musical Development Collective will produce two showcases at Theatre Royal Stratford East, as well as a round-table series about diversity in British musical theatre.