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ACE Invests in Musical Theatre via Perfect Pitch

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Perfect Pitch, the showcase for homegrown musicals which has been supported for the past two years by Whatsonstage.com (See News, 7 Oct 2008), has been awarded £188,860 by the Arts Council England (ACE) to continue its long-term aims of creating a grassroots infrastructure for developing new musical projects. The award represents one of ACE’s largest ever investments in musical theatre.

Moira Sinclair, executive director of ACE, London said: “Traditionally, musical theatre is considered to be a commercially sustainable artform which doesn’t require public subsidy. However, there is a definite need for investment in the developmental infrastructure which will help support the next generation of musical theatre practitioners in this country. We don’t expect results over night, but our investment is helping create conditions where emerging talent can thrive.”

Perfect Pitch was founded in 2006 by executive producer Andy Barnes, who was struggling to find a new British musical developed enough to present commercial and was discouraged by the West End musical landscape of revivals, jukebox shows, screen adaptations and imports.

Barnes recalls: “When we put on the showcase, I was hoping to find a few other people that might want to help me develop one or two of those shows. Luckily, a number of venues and producers that I had invited were interested in moving a couple of them forward and so I began a series of collaborations. In 2008, with the support of more than 15 partners around the UK including venues, training establishments, agents and producers, Perfect Pitch has, by necessity, expanded into a network for developing new musicals and annually showcasing them in the West End.”

The first Perfect Pitch West End season took place last November at Trafalgar Studios, where it’s scheduled to run again this November. Amongst some of the individual show successes to date, Dougal Irvine’s first musical Departure Lounge, which won a Musical Theatre Award at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, was picked up by three commercial producers and his second, Get in Touch, is now being developed via Perfect Pitch.

The £188,860 follows a smaller ACE investment of £45,000, given to Perfect Pitch to research the creation and viability of the support network. Amongst other commitments to musicals as an artform, ACE also subsidises industry networking organisation Musical Theatre Matters; provides regular funding to the Young Vic, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Lyric Hammersmith, some of which has been used for recent musical programming; and has, over the past two years, granted more than £165,000 to individual musical theatre practitioners via its Grants for the Arts scheme.

For more information on Perfect Pitch and its activities, visit www.perfectpitchmusicals.com.


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