Students get Ben’s number note perfect
EDGE Hill Musical Theatre students have been working with Bafta-nominated musical theatre practitioner Benjamin Till on his latest musical, Em.
After students participated in a “read through” of an early draft of the show last year, the award-winning composer returned to the university earlier this month to help them record a version of one of the musical’s most vibrant numbers and film an accompanying music video.
Set in Liverpool in 1965, Em tells the tale of an unmarried teenager desperate to keep a baby the authorities want to take away from her.
The show is a harrowing, gritty, but ultimately uplifting tale of friendship, class and love, against the backdrop of a city which is bursting into colour.
Benjamin said: “It was a genuine pleasure to work with the musical theatre students at Edge Hill University.
“I’ve totally fallen in love with them! I was bowled over by their commitment, enthusiasm and work ethic and I’m hugely excited about the film we made together.
“It was thrilling to bring Em, which is a deeply personal story, home.”
The students worked with Benjamin to record their version of the song The Pool in Edge Hill’s recording studios, which is to be included on Em’s official cast album as a bonus track.
They also filmed an accompanying music video at various Liverpool locations.
Recent Edge Hill dance graduate Alice Lapworth, who choreographed the number, said: “I am thrilled to be working with musical theatre students from Edge Hill.
“This project is a great opportunity for them to experience the fast paced, creatively vibrant industry that will surround their careers.
“As an emerging artist myself, Edge Hill is providing me with a fantastic chance to build my professional portfolio.”
Multi-award-winning composer and film maker Benjamin Till has worked professionally in theatre and television for more than 20 years.
He has made more than 15 musical films (largely for the BBC and Channel 4), released four albums, worked as a casting director in feature films, composed classical works for the concert platform, and written five stage musicals including Brass, Beyond The Fence and Em.
He is perhaps best known as the writer/conceiver (and one of the grooms) from Channel 4’s hugely successful, Bafta-nominated Our Gay Wedding: The Musical.
The project with Benjamin was organised by Edge Hill musical theatre lecturer Clare Chandler.
Benjamin said: “Clare keeps her ear permanently to the ground, is a great supporter of British musical theatre and brings in really interesting practitioners to work with the students.”