Brief summary - a musical by the people for the people.
I’m raising money to develop ‘Fidel’ a musical about Fidel Castro and the Cuban revolution.
The aim is that the development of the musical from start to finish will reflect the Cuban values of inclusion, education, culture, community and creativity.
This ethos is why we involved students across the UK in writing the songs and are involving community groups in developing the musical as much as possible. We held a competition where over 750 schools and colleges signed up. Students sent in their compositions and the winning pieces have been included in the musical! You can hear some of the fantastic submissions here: playlist of submissions
We want this to be a fun and exciting journey for all involved. We are setting this up as a multi-stakeholder cooperative so all those who have helped make it happen can share in any success, from the songwriters to the crowdfunders.
Who am I?
I’m Denise Baden, Associate Professor in Business Ethics at the University of Southampton. The idea for this musical came from my research in Cuba and my amazement at the incredible story of the Cuban revolution – a story I thought need to be told by someone who would tell it honestly and without political bias. To find out more about the team behind this project, check out http://fidelthemusical.org/about-us/
Already we have made great progress and put on some great events especially our X-factor style event (http://fidelthemusical.org/gala-event/) where the public helped choose the winning songs and the showback by Mayflower Youth Musical theatre July 2016.
There is nowhere more interesting, controversial, inspiring and cool than Cuba. In the 1950s, with his trusted gang of revolutionaries including the handsome Argentinian doctor Ernesto Che Guevara, and the amazing Celia Sanchez, Fidel Castro vowed to liberate Cuba from the cruel dictator Batista. With just a few hundred soldiers and limited weapons they took on Batista’s army of thousands, with its tanks, aircraft and US-backed weapons and won. Their secret was their bravery, dedication, and the support of the Cuban people who desperately longed for social justice and an independent Cuba.
To fulfill his promises of equality and independence Fidel Castro nationalised US property in Cuba and gave it to the people. The people loved him for it but the Americans never forgave him, and thus started the US embargo against Cuba which lasted over fifty years and kept Cuba in poverty.
The tale of Fidel and the Cuban revolution is a tale of sacrifice, love, heroism, bravery and repeated victories against incredible odds. How did a tiny island hold off an unexpected invasion by its massive American neighbour in 1961? How did Fidel survive an estimated 638 attempts on his life? How did an island so poor manage to out-perform the rest of the world in terms of medical advances, health care, literacy and sustainability? Was Fidel the world’s greatest leader or a brutal dictator?
Cuba has a lot to teach us, from their vibrant music, dance and culture, to their historical and political role as a small island caught up in Cold War politics, as well as the ethical dilemmas of leadership and impressive record as the only sustainable country http://positivenews.org.uk/2015/culture/17599/musical-education-programme-engages-students-cubas-self-sufficiency-success/. This musical aims to go beyond the propaganda, misinformation and ideology to present an entertaining and sympathetic portrait of this fascinating island and its leader.
Where will the money go?
The money raised will go towards putting on a performance of the musical in 2017. My aim is to put on a show at Edinburgh Festival, or a production in London or Southampton.
What we will do if we raise more than £5,000?
Our ultimate aim is to take this all the way to the West End. But that takes serious money. The next step is to put it on from start to finish (we hope with an amateur local musical society), refine it in light of how it looks and then seek funding for a tour with a professional production company. Any money in excess of what we need will be put towards this professional tour. This usually requires at least £100,000. If the tour goes well then it is easier to attract investors to take it to the West End. Your contributions are valuable not just for the money, but to show interest, so the more who donate, regardless of the sum, the more we can demonstrate to the Arts Council and to other investors that it is likely to be a successful and popular production.
We will update donors regularly on progress.
Help us succeed!
Spin off project: the film
If you're interested in plans for the screenplay, which again will involve the public in its development, see
Below are some images of the rewards on offer
This project has been approved for funding through the Artists + The Crowd match funding. It has received a bridge of 25% towards its fundraising target from Arts Council England.