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MTFestUK to return with new work by Heathers creators, Come Dine With Me and Pump Up the Volume

This year, the festival will be split across two venues


MTFestUK will return at the end of the month – featuring eight new musicals presented in workshop format that are currently in development.

This year, for the first time, the event will be split between two venues – The Other Palace Studio in Victoria and the Turbine Theatre in Battersea.

The four shows being presented at The Other Palace are:

Dark Lord (30 January to 1 February) – penned by Heathers writers Laurence O'Keefe and Kevin Murphy and adapted from the books by Jamie Thomson, the show follows a 12 year-old boy who believes he's an evil villain confronting middle school. It is directed by Heathers and She's the Man director Andy Fickman.

Sherlock Holmes and The Poisonwood (2 to 4 February) – a rock musical based on the Arthur Conan Doyle characters but with a digital age twist. It is penned by P Burton-Morgan (In The Willows, who also directs) and Ben Glasstone (The Rhythmics)

Train On Fire (6 to 8 February) – Annabelle Lee Revak's (Notes and Letters) musical tells the tale of "one of the most volatile suffragettes in history", Kitty Marion.

Precipice (9 to 11 February) – Adam Geber and Tori Allen-Martin's musical, directed by Sarah Henley, follows five friends in their 30s as they grapple wth sex, sexuality, fertility and legacy.

The four shows at the Turbine Theatre are:

The Government Inspector (30 January to 1 February) – A crack team of Jodie Prenger, Neil Hurst, Catriona Gisby and Maxwell Tyler are giving Nikolai Gogol's 19th century satirical political comedy a makeover.

Come Dine With Me (2 to 4 February) – This one is exactly what it says on the baking tray – a new musical based on a group of strangers coming together to cook it out. Put together by the team of Aaron King, Sam Norman, Nell Butler and Genevieve Welch!

Pump Up the Volume (6 to 8 February) – A pirate radio station rocks a small town in Jeremy Desmon's musical, based on Allan Moyle's much-loved 1990 film.

Out the Box (9 to 11 February) –  Preeya Kalidas, Craig Shenton and Arun Blair Mangat's musical explores grief and memory as a daughter opens a box left to her by her late mother.

Casting for each of the MTFestUK pieces is to be revealed soon.

Producer Bill Kenwright said: "I remain thrilled that we can continue to grow and nuture new musical theatre writing across both The Other Palace and The Turbine Theatre, to establish and grow the next generation of musical theatre. Several MTFestUK pieces have gone on to fully staged productions, which is a testament to the function of both our theatres to provide space and support to allow new work to be explored."

Paul Taylor Mills, artistic director at The Other Palace and The Turbine Theatre said: "We are thrilled to expand MTFestUK to showcase such a broad range of musical theatre writing at both The Other Palace and The Turbine Theatre. Utilising both venues to support and develop new musical theatre will allow these eight pieces to engage with a wider audience and strengthen the synergy of two venues dedicated to the development of new work."

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© Pamela Raith

Speaking of Heathers, the WhatsOnStage Award-winning show will extend its run at The Other Palace until September 2023 – with casting for the new booking window to be revealed soon. There will be a variety of sing-along and dress-up performances on 14 April, 25 May, 30 June and 9 August.

The show has also announced it will embark on its second tour, with further details to be revealed in due course.