MMD & MTN Announce The Launch Of The BEAM Follow-Spot Programme

MMD and MTN announce that they have again been awarded status as a PRS Talent Development Partner. With the award funds they have launched a regional professional career and craft development programme taking place in Scotland and Manchester for emerging musical theatre writers. MMD and MTN are delighted to be partnering with the National Theatre of Scotland and the Royal Exchange Manchester.

The BEAM Follow-Spot Programme is a year long scheme designed to provide sustained developmental support for emerging musical theatre writers. The programme includes monthly writers' Labs, facilitated by Dr Mary McCluskey (Scotland) and Max Emmerson (Manchester), Masterclasses, industry discussions and sharings of work. The monthly Labs provide invaluable peer-to-peer critique and a support network. In addition to the monthly Labs, four Masterclasses will take place at both locations which will be open to any artists, producers, directors in the area interested or involved in the development of new British musical theatre.

The Masterclasses and industry discussions are as follows: (further details below)
Andrew Panton: Scene into Song masterclass 3-5pm, Thursday 11th October, Glasgow (Sign up here)
Jeremy Sams: The Dramaturgy of Musical Theatre 5-7pm, Thursday 29th November, Manchester (Sign up here)
Staging new musicals in North West England: next steps, 5-7pm, Tuesday 12th February, Manchester (Sign up here)
Staging new musicals in Scotland: next steps, 3-5pm, Tuesday 19th February, Scotland (Sign up here)

"The need for the Beam Follow-Spot Programme emerged following the BEAM 2018 pitching days when MTN and MMD traveled across the UK seeing nearly 300 pitches for new work. Writers were pitching for a slot in our biennial industry showcase of new British musical theatre writing - BEAM. In both Scotland and Manchester we noticed that there was an incredible amount of talent but no real sustained developmental support for that talent. Writing a musical is really hard and takes a long time, it's a complex craft with no clear career path. We want to provide a supportive developmental programme to help writers in those areas achieve their writing and career goals - with an aim to them being ready to pitch material for BEAM 2020 and beyond. We are grateful to the PRS Foundation for their support and our partners at The Royal Exchange, Manchester and the National Theatre of Scotland."

Manchester: Katie Mulgrew, Vikki Stone, Zoe Roberts, Ben Richards, Maggie Clarke, Heathre Carr, Leoe Mercer, Stephen Hyde, James Baker, Austin Fitzsimmons and members of The Letter Room.

Scotland: Anthony Irwin, Finn Anderson, Andy McGregor, Shonagh Murray, Kirsty Findlay, Martyn Dempsey, Ross Brown, Karen MacIver, Naomi Stirratt

To find out more about BEAM, click here.

Musical Theatre Network is a not-for-profit membership organisation, bringing people and resources together to improve infrastructure and opportunities for new musical theatre in the UK. Our membership is a national network of producers, theatre venues, directors, higher education organisations and others staging or developing musicals. In partnership with its members, MTN works to strengthen and diversify the new musical theatre sector nationwide, and so support development of the artform. To learn more about MTN visit or contact

Mercury Musical Developments is a not-for-profit membership organisation that is dedicated to nurturing new musical theatre writing. Our membership of over 400 bookwriters, lyricists and librettist have access to a range of development and showcasing initiatives including seminars, masterclasses and professional residencies and Writers Labs designed to further their craft and career. We actively seek out commissions, build professional networks and are ambassadors on behalf of all our members. At MMD our aim is to support and represent the writers who are shaping the future of British musical theatre. To find out more about MMD go to or contact

Mary McCluskey is a theatre director, dramaturg and playwright with over 30 years experience in developing new work and nurturing new talent. She recently stepped down after 27 yrs as Artistic Director of the Scottish Youth Theatre, Scotland's national theatre for children and young people. Mary's work has been seen in the USA, Russia, Norway, Canada, Kosova, Australia and all over the UK.

Max Emmerson is a Creative Producer from Manchester with a passion for new musicals. Since graduating LIPA in 2015, Max has worked on a number of new musicals including the award winning Adam & Eve & Steve which debuted at the Hollywood Fringe and then performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Kings Head Theatre in London. Max has previously worked as the Assistant Producer for the Royal Exchange Theatre and Bill Kenwright Productions. Max is currently supporting several new British musicals which he hopes to develop over the next couple of years.

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