About the Series
Singapore is currently an exciting place to be for musical theatre, as the musical theatre scene here has seen a marked growth in recent years. However, there is a need for new contemporary musical theatre voices and works here in Singapore, and this a gap that we want to try and fill.
A new musical goes through several rounds of workshops during its creation. Through the workshop process, the musical then gets reworked and refined. A workshop can take place in many different forms. It can be a table read, a staged reading with scripts and music stands or it can be a staged rehearsal room version of the musical. The decision of which type of workshop a musical gets depends on the stage of development which it is in. This is to be decided between the creative teams and the writers of the shows.
The writing teams will benefit from an interpretation of their show from a creative team and actors, which is exactly what our New Musicals Series aims to provide. This will help the writers to further refine their work and push the show one more step towards a full professional staging.
We are excited to be a part of the development of new musicals like these, and to witness them grow into fully produced works that will make it onto larger stages in the future. We are also excited to witness the growth and development of our own local musicals and writing teams, and to be a part of this important developmental journey.
Partnership with New York Theatre Barn
In the USA, there is a culture of table reads, workshopping, and rehearsal room presentations of musicals that are being developed. This process helps writers to see and hear their stories which helps them to further refine the work.
After a highly successful collaboration between New York Theatre Barn’s Artistic Director Joe Barros and 7/8 Musical Collective’s co-founder Joanne Ho in 2019, a mutual interest in each other’s work was sparked. In February 2021, New York Theatre Barn (NYTB) reached out to the 7/8 Musical Collective as they had followed our journey and were excited about the work that we do, and thus they were keen to find a way for them to collaborate with the Collective.
7/8 Musical Collective is proud to finally be partnering with New York Theatre Barn to bring their New Works Series to Singapore, as we are as equally excited about their work as they are about ours.
NYTB’s New Works Series presents bi-monthly, “pre-premieres” of untold stories in the early stages of development. Since the series’ inception, NYTB has presented more than 500 writers in 150 pre-premieres, and has amassed a catalogue of nearly 2,000 videos with a million views on their YouTube channel.
With this partnership, we aim to create a similar place in Singapore where this can take place. We hope that this will be the beginning of more new musical theatre works being created and incubated in Singapore, and it is our plan to make this workshopping process a part of our creative culture, through developing a local hub for the incubation of new musicals from both the USA and Singapore.
We hope that creative exchanges and collaborations will continue to be shared between NYTB and Singapore. In addition, through regular dialogues, we seek to form connections and relationships with these writing teams that we hope will continue even as these shows develop and move towards professional productions. It is possible that one day, one of these shows that we have helped develop will make it back to be performed on our shores.
The Future of the Series
We plan to continue this partnership with New York Theatre Barn to keep working on developing and workshopping new musicals in the future. Our New Musicals Series is aimed at creating a safe and inspiring space for the incubation of new musicals – a space which would fill a creative developmental gap and nurture the culture of workshopping new musicals here in Singapore, as well as benefit writing teams from the US and around the world who are looking for available avenues to workshop their new show, or for a new perspective from a different culture.
With all this, we hope to have continued conversations between musical theatre creatives around the world about the future of new musical theatre development, so that we can continue to exchange ideas and share resources and expertise between our two countries. As the borders re-open, there will also be the potential for cross-country exchanges and workshops to be held – an important step in helping us nurture the development of contemporary musical theatre together. The inherent humour, empathy and humanity that are present in musicals are powerful tools in connecting people from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and it is this power that we are excited to harness in our journey towards discovering deeper levels of understanding between Singapore artists and audiences and our counterparts in other parts of the globe.