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Stiles + Drewe Prize

About

About

In 1985, Stiles and Drewe were the recipients of the inaugural Vivian Ellis Prize for Just So. Winning the prize introduced them to many leading lights of the musical theatre world, whose advice and support in championing new writing became so important to them.

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Anthony Drewe, George Stiles, Vivian Ellis and John Hosier (1985)
Credit: PRS for Music archive/Doug McKenzie photography

Since 2008, Stiles and Drewe have recognised new musical theatre writing via their annual 'Best New Song Prize'. From 2016, the broadening of the Stiles + Drewe Prize to include the new 'MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award' will offer the musical theatre writing community greater financial and in-kind support via its two arms:

1. The ‘MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award’ - an award given to a writer or writing team, centred around a one week writing retreat and culminating in an industry showcase presentation the following year. The Award is generously supported by Music Theatre International (Europe). 

2. ‘Best New Song’ – recognising an outstanding song from a new musical, offered in conjunction with the Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award.

Mentorship Award

MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award

From 2016 Stiles and Drewe, along with a panel of judges will give the ‘MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award’ on an annual basis. The award is fully funded by Music Theatre International (Europe), the world’s leading theatrical licensing agency.

The winning writer or writing team benefits from bespoke mentorship and support over a 12-month period. This includes:

1) A fully funded, one week development retreat to work on the winning musical.

2) Guaranteed free access to MMD’s monthly Advanced Writers’ Lab.

3) Participation in two Progress Labs. In each of these, the Mentorship Award-winner will present a section of their musical and receive feedback from MMD peers and a panel of professionals.

4) Access to work shadowing opportunities – either on a Stiles and Drewe show or with alternative industry contacts (subject to availability and production schedules).

5) After 12 months, the above culminates in rehearsal provision for a workshop with an industry showcase presentation at the end. This is with a professional cast, Director and MD.

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Best New Song

Best New Song

The ‘Best New Song’ is awarded on an annual basis. 12 finalists have their songs performed by students participating in the Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year Award. For the last 8 years this has been at a gala held at a West End Theatre.

A panel of judges, including Stiles and Drewe, award the ‘Best New Song’ and the winner receives a prize of £1000 to put towards developing their work.

All 12 finalists have access to a Feedback Lab, hosted by Stiles and Drewe after the gala. They are also invited to be audience members in the two Progress Labs for the Mentorship Award-winner.

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History

History

2016: The winner of our inaugural Mentorship Award is The Wicker Husband by Rhys Jennings (book) and Darren Clark (music and lyrics).

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(l-r) George Stiles, Rhys Jennings, Darren Clark and Anthony Drewe

Previous winners of the Best New Song Prize:

2016: Tim Connor for “Back to School” from his musical Heart of Winter. A recording was released on the 30th November 2015 and is available to download via all major online retailers. 

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Winner Tim Connor with (l-r) judges Anthony Drewe, George Stiles, Lotte Wakeham, Don Black and Paul Hart.

2015: Richy Hughes and Joseph Finlay for “Don’t Look Down” from The Superhero.  Since winning the Best New Song Prize, Richy’s first professional Commission Mr Poppin’s Penguins has been out on UK Tour, produced by Olivier Award-winning producer Kenny Wax.

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From left: Richy Hughes, George Stiles, Grant McConvey (performer), Anthony Drewe and Joseph Finlay.

2014: Uniquely, Tamar Broadbent had two songs in the final in 2014 “Library Boy” and “The Procrastination Song”. The panel therefore decided to recognise Tamar’s overall work. Tamar has recently taken her one-woman show All By My Selfie to the Adelaide Fringe and her musical Pierced, which includes her 2013 runner-up song “17 Drafts” was performed at the New Musical Project.

2013: “That Once-in-a-Lifetime Feeling” by Tim Sutton. Since winning the Best New Song Prize, Tim has been nominated for the Olivier for Outstanding Achievement in Music for his role as MD on Memphis The Musical.  He has also worked at The National Theatre as an MD on Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and as composer and MD on The Amen Corner.

2012: shared between “Powercut” by Douglas Hodge and “Do You Want A Baby, Baby” by Dougal Irvine from The Busker’s Opera.

2011: Jointly awarded to Tim Sutton for “I Am” and Eric Angus and Paul James for “Kaboom! Kapow!’” from The Boy Who Fell Into A Book.

2010: Gwyneth Herbert has enjoyed a full production of her musical The A to Z of Mrs P at Southwark Playhouse featuring her winning song “Lovely London Town”. She is currently working on a new project with her writing partner on that show, Diane Samuels.

2009: Olly Ashmore for “Wake Up TV” from Hot Flush 2.

2008: Mark Allcorn for “My Turn Soon” from Singles.

Submission

Submission

How to Submit:

Whilst there is no entry fee, writers must be members of Mercury Musical Developments (MMD) to enter, as this organisation administrates the Prize for us.

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Entry Requirements for the MTI Stiles + Drewe Mentorship Award

We ask writers or writing teams to ensure they meet the following entry requirements:

• Entrants must be resident in the UK*
• Entrants must have written a full draft of the musical entered. Full draft means a complete script, with all songs written.
• Your musical cannot have had a professional production

Entrants should complete the online form and check list.

Please submit:

Initially, we require following to be uploaded via the online form as one document in PDF format:

1. A synopsis no longer than 500 words
2. A full character list
3. A full track list


• From the draft of the musical, entrants must submit three songs. Two songs should be submitted in the context of their scenes. A lyric sheet should be uploaded for the third song. The maximum page limit for all of this material is 20 pages. The selected scenes and lyric sheet should be in PDF format.
• Soundcloud links must be included in the relevant section of the online form for all three songs. Please ensure you also detail the full song title next to the link.
• PDF sheet music (piano and vocal arrangement) must also be uploaded for all three songs.
• Entrants should highlight on the online form which of the three songs they want to be considered for ‘Best New Song’. The entrant can select one song only for consideration. The song must be suitable for performance by one singer, either male or female, with piano accompaniment. Songs should be able to be adjusted to comply with this.
• All material should be presented anonymously. Only the online form should carry personal information.
• If the musical contains any copyrighted material, please upload proof that the underlying rights have been secured. If the musical is wholly original or based on material now in the public domain please upload a signed letter stating this.

General notes

• Entries must be uploaded via the MMD website.
• Please label each file uploaded SHOW TITLE_ followed by key words/information as applicable):
• “Song title”_scene
• “Song title”_lyric sheet
• Synopsis
• Underlying Rights Letter

Please note, if you do not upload your files or label them accordingly we will be unable to download your application.

• The judges may ask writers to produce a full draft of their musical in PDF format at any time.
• You may only enter the same musical for consideration for the Mentorship Award twice. This can be done on consecutive years. The judges will not consider a musical a third time.
• Due to the volume of submissions, neither Stiles and Drewe nor MMD are able to give individual feedback regarding the final selection.

Entry Requirements for Best New Song

Entrants should complete the online form and check list.

We ask writers or writing teams to ensure they meet the following entry requirements:

• The song must be from a musical, although the musical does not need to be complete. Stand-alone cabaret songs will not be accepted.
• The song must be suitable for performance by one singer, either male or female with piano accompaniment only. Songs should be able to be adjusted to comply with this. Duets or ensembles are not eligible.
• The song cannot have been included in a previous professional production.
• If you are part of a song writing team, at least one of you must be a paid up member of MMD.
• Writers can submit a maximum of 2 songs; either written solely by themselves, two songs with the same collaborator or two songs with different collaborators.

Please submit/upload:

• A Soundcloud link to the song(s) pasted in the relevant section of the online form. Please ensure you also detail the full song title(s) next to the link.
• PDF lyric sheet for the song(s)
• A show synopsis no longer than 500 words

General Notes

• If a song is selected as a Best New Song finalist, the writer(s) will be required to provide a PDF sheet music (piano and vocal arrangement).
• Due to the volume of submissions, neither Stiles and Drewe nor MMD are able to give individual feedback regarding the final selection.
• Please label each file uploaded SHOW TITLE_ followed by key words/information as applicable):
• “Song title”_lyric sheet
• Synopsis

Please note, if you do not upload your files or label them accordingly we will be unable to download your application.

If you have any questions about the submission process please email: martin@mercurymusicals.com

Deadlines:
Submissions open: Monday 7th November 2016
Submissions close: Wednesday 25th January 2017
Finalists announced for Best New Song Prize: TBC
Mentorship Award and Best New Song Prize winners announced: At a West End gala in May/June 2017, details to be announced).

The Wicker Husband

Book by Rhys Jennings
Music & Lyrics by Darren Clark

Number of Acts: 2

Cast
Number of Principals (Male): 5
Number of Principals (Female): 4
Number of Puppeteers: 3

Band
Guitar
Double Bass
Violin/Viola
Percussion
Flute/Woodwinds

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Rhys Jennings, Darren Clarke, Anthony Drewe, George Stiles and Sixpence (the dog).

THE SHOW

The Wicker Husband is a new folk musical by Rhys Jennings (Book) and Darren Clark (Music & Lyrics). It is based on a short story of the same title by Ursula Wills-Jones and weaves the tale of The Ugly Girl and her understanding of the cruel world she lives in.

Ostracised by the village because of her appearance, The Ugly Girl becomes the envy of her community when a mysterious old basketmaker makes her a husband woven from living wicker. The ensuing jealousies and rivalries tear the community apart as the villagers seek to destroy The Ugly Girl’s husband and happiness. 

Woven from an exciting blend of folk music, storytelling and puppetry, The Wicker Husband tells the timeless tale of the outsider, of the battle for self-acceptance in a society that constantly reminds us what it is to be “Ugly”. It is a magical story of love, redemption and revenge in which beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.

HISTORY

The Wicker Husband began its life as a short story published on the internet by Bristol based author Ursula Wills-Jones. Rhys Jennings (Book) stumbled upon the story one night whilst touring as an actor and was immediately entranced by the idea of it as a stage show. In 2013, whilst performing in The Grumpiest Boy in the World, Rhys met Darren Clark (Composer & Lyricist) and asked him to read the story. Darren immediately saw it’s potential as a piece of musical theatre.

They worked on the show when they could in between their other projects and brought on board Charlie Westenra (Director/Dramaturg). With Charlie’s assistance and guidance, they organised a series of workshops at The Unicorn Theatre, The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the The Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the piece began to take shape.

In 2016, they launched a successful crowd fund bid in order to fund their work and raise the profile of the show. Following this, they entered the show in the inaugural MTI Stiles & Drewe Mentorship Award, which they went on to win in May 2016. They also won a place on the Incubate Scheme at Little Angel Theatre to work on the puppetry elements of the piece. The show was also a finalist for The Kevin Spacey Artist of Choice Award 2016 and shortlisted for the Jameson Bursary. In addition to this Darren was awarded the Dunedin Operatic Executive Trust Scholarship to support his writing for the show.


TRACK LIST

Act One
1. Once Upon a Withy
2. The Ugly Girl
3. My Wicker Man
4. The Heart of the Weave
5. Once Upon a Withy (Reprise)
6. Will Ye Lend Me a Suit
7. Fix It
8. Made to Hold You
9. Fix It (Reprise)
10. T’ain’t Right, T’isn’t Natural
11. The Sparrow’s Tale
12. Come Sit By The Fireside
13. He Had His Wicker Way

Act Two
1. Once Upon a Withy (Reprise)
2. Have You Seen My Husband
3. Do Not Sing of the Willow
4. What Have They Done To My Children
5. Fix It (Reprise)
6. The Wicker Maid
7. I Have Come a’ Walking
8. My Wicker Man (Reprise)
9. I’ll Supply The Withy
10. 10. Hope in the Glass

LOOK + LISTEN

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