Phil Haines, Chickenshed's Sound Technician and Assistant Music Director on Dreams of Freedom shares a bit of the creative process involved in the show.

Chickenshed’s youth musicians have increasingly become a part of our musical direction. Giving them a supportive space to create and express their own musical ideas and styles provides another avenue through which we can encourage every individual to reach their potential. The input of these young musicians has hugely enriched the music for our huge performance Dreams of Freedom at the Royal Albert Hall on the 26 June.


This track was co-produced by Oli Ballantyne, a member of our Youth Theatre and a participant on our Young Creators programme, with ideas and additions from Denzel Baidoo and Demar Lambert, who are both on our BTEC Performing Arts course. We talked through some ideas about the feel of the track, the wonderful venue, looked at the illustrations in the Dreams of Freedom book and researched some classical tracks that had a dark, haunting feel, as we wanted to have a ‘prom-like’ feel mixed with a modern electronic track. Over a period of four weeks we put the track together, edited different sections with direction from the creative leaders and choreographers, whilst getting feedback that the children were loving it!


This track was co-composed with another Youth Theatre member and Young Creators participant, Alice Chernaik. As for ‘Monsters’ we took inspiration from the book and the brief supplied by the show’s creative directors – we had an idea of a guitar melody and expanded from there. Alice took the raw chord sequence home and came up with a beautiful melody over the top. We wanted to make sure the track had a hopeful feel at the same time as being inherently sad, playing with time signatures and key changes and influences from world music. We sent files and ideas back and forth via email, orchestrating along the way for the musicians we knew were going to be playing it.


Both Alice and Oli are in the orchestra for Monday's performance. During rehearsals it has been amazing to hear their compositions take a live form and develop even further with input from the other young musicians in the orchestra. Being involved in this open and safe creative process from the beginning has given Alice and Oli a fantastic opportunity to have their music played and enjoyed by their peers in both rehearsal and performance – and ultimately being heard and appreciated by an audience at the Royal Albert Hall!