History always seems to be written about Kings and Queens, great inventors, film stars and artists. But "A Small Life" is the story of how an ordinary lives are also extraordinary.
A little different from the norm, it is a musical which aims to be appealing to people who like funny, heartwarming plays and who like music but who think they don't like musicals. Think 'Alan Bennett snuggled up next to Victoria Wood ... with some songs'!
A Small Life is a story about time, memory, getting older and the value we place on our lives. As the narrative unfolds it touches on issues of ageing, loneliness, bravery, acceptance, companionship and redefining ‘family’.
The story, set in Wakefield, Yorkshire, tells of a shy, unassuming man called Charlie, trapped in a life where he watches the world go by while his mother cooks his tea. But underneath the veneer of cosy normality, Charlie secretly craves a life where he has his own family, home, love and adventures in far flung places. Spanning from the 1950s to the noughties our story is narrated by an older Charlie. Leaping back and forth in time it gently reveals Charlie’s life: through dramatically changing times and world events that shape and transform him as he seeks to find out what life is all about. Born at the wrong time in history, the odds of reaching his hopes and dreams seem stacked against him, yet chance encounters and random events, change the course of his life in ways he’d never imagined.
HOW WE GOT TO THIS POINT
I began writing the musical in January 2017, at the suggestion of esteemed theatre director Adam Lenson who had heard me play at a gig. I completed the first draft by April 2017.
Over the past 18 months, I have shared the draft scripts with various important literary and musical folk, including authors, TV writers, producers, song writers and friends who have given great feedback which I have used to refine the piece.
In the summer of 2017, a group of talented actors including the shining lights of Oliver Hembrough, Rebecca Brewer and Tina Cooke brought the characters to life in a "read-through". Since then, I have had the opportunity to introduce the play to the theatre community at two special showcase events at the Hospital Club, London where I performed selected songs to a packed house. Since then, with the generous and incredible help from Heather Allen, we hope to push this forwards so everyone gets to see it!
WHY A WORKSHOP?
The ultimate aim here is to make A Small Life a fully staged production at some point in the near future. BUT....in order to get it to that point, as with all theatre productions, we need to run a week of workshops to test and develop the play. Here we put writer, actors, band, director, producer and musical director together to run the through songs and script, making changes and refinements to create an experience that will stay with you long after you've left the theatre. We want to make A Small Life the best it can possibly be.
The extremely kind folk at The Railway pub in Clapham have been AMAZING inviting me to use their beautiful upstairs room for the week of workshops including the afternoon performance at the end!. (They also do amazing food which is a bonus because I have to feed our actors, musicians and creative team. Check the place out: www.therailwayclapham.co.uk) For the evening performance on 12th November, the incredible Hospital Club have allowed me in to show it in the Oak Room there which is utterly beautiful and amazing.
SO, this is what I am fundraising for:
To stage a week of workshops upstairs at The Railway, Clapham (plus an evening performance at The Hospital Club) in November 2018 which is the next critical step needed to bring "A Small Life" to life.
It's hard getting funding for this sort of thing, but money is needed to not only pay the venue and equipment, but also to try pay a fair fee for the time and expertise of the actors, musicians, producer, director and musical director... so they can do stuff like pay bills, eat.... that kind of thing.
COME ALONG FOR THE RIDE!
I think "A Small Life" is a story full of characters who now need the chance to get off the page and be brought to life. I also believe people will not only enjoy this, but will feel a part of it... it's a musical play is for everyone.
I started this whole thing on my own and luckily found some amazing supporters along the way to get us to where we are. Now I’m holding my breath as I ask you to become a part of the next stage of ours and Charlie’s journey and in creating something fantastic.
If you're keen, please donate what you can afford - every bit really helps and in return we have come up with a few rewards to go some way to repay your amazing generosity, including the chance to come see a workshop performance of A Small Life at the end... so you get to find out what all the fuss has been about.
Charlie and all the characters have already been on a bit of a journey and we've got a bit of a way to go yet, but I really hope you come along for the ride !
Thank you, thank you , thank you...