Music Makes the World go Round

Our brand new, Offie-Nominated musical, Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow finishes this week. Dave Carey, Senior Creative Producer for Music, has written a piece about the musical process and those who have contributed to it which underpins the show's fantastic success.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow finishes this week. A smorgasbord of music put together in a Travelodge hotel room in Llanelli. (We were working on the Survivors project) The Travelodge Suite (as I like to think of it) was written on a tiny keyboard reacting to our various creative directors ringing, texting and emailing me saying:

“Can we have something that sounds like it’s underwater” or “it needs to sound sort of hopeful but not if you see what I mean”


What excited me for this show were the collaborators that supported, suggested and added to the final score. Composing can be a lonely existence, especially in a Travelodge in Llanelli (no insult to Llanelli – it has a Nandos for emergencies), but once back at Chickenshed in London, I can involve the skills of a myriad of individuals.

Hanna Bohlin is a young Swedish musician that started volunteering for us some months back and then joined the Young Creators programme. I happened upon her singing in the bar one evening and asked her to come and do some vocal recording with me. She appeared every Tuesday afternoon when I wasn’t in Llanelli and we started to put together arrangements of songs, add vocals to existing ideas and generally experiment with the musical form of the piece.

My usual trusty contributor Joffe Walters took away files (virtual files of computer programmes) and added guitar parts with his usual sensitivity and panache. Watch out for his amazing music in the upcoming Children’s Theatre production of Stig of the Dump. It took me until I was 30 before I could score an entire show. He’s 17.

Phil, who doubles as sound man, projectionist, Youth Band leader, occasional drummer and general tech guru added some other guitar and bass parts turning loose sketches into full blown Zepplin-esque epics

Then there was Tilly Stables.  John Adams’ aria, Batter My Heart is from his opera Dr. Atomic and sung by Oppenheimer as he faces his God. As a teenager growing up in the 70s and 80s it always seemed that humankind would decimate the planet with nuclear warfare long before we ruined it with carbon fuels and plastic bottles. I was determined to try recording the John Adams aria with her and so one day in February we did just that, recording fragments, detuning it, reversing it and generally experimenting with creating a montage over which she could sing it live. One of those magical moments happened that so often occur when we throw the rulebook out at Chickenshed. The joy of composing at Chickenshed is to do with the resources of the resourceful young people we have access to, and that in turn we can encourage and train in such an inspirational environment.

Talking of inspiration, our great friend Luke Saydon from Malta, who has graced our work over the last two years from Tales from the Shed, Chickenshed Kensington and Chelsea and Christmas shows, has opened his own brand new musical, Hush, in Malta’s Teatru Manoel just as we opened in London. He is a composer with so much talent and heart in his music and I’m so proud we could play even a small part in helping him develop.

These are just a handful of the people who have contributed to this wonderful score.  Music has never been stronger at Chickenshed than it is now, and that’s a tribute to all those that work on our programmes, support and fund our programmes and most of all to the participants themselves that support oldies like me.


 Written by Dave Carey, Senior Creative Producer for Music