DI BOTCHER ANNOUNCED AS SPECIAL GUEST PERFORMER AT THE WEST END GALA OF THE 12th ANNUAL STEPHEN SONDHEIM SOCIETY STUDENT PERFORMER OF THE YEAR AND 11th ANNUAL STILES + DREWE PRIZE
The Stephen Sondheim Society and Mercury Musical Developments today announce Welsh actress Di Botcher as the special guest performer at the 12th annual West End Gala for The Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year and the 11th anniversary of The Stiles + Drewe Prize.
Botcher will reprise her show-stopping performance of the Sondheim classic ‘Broadway Baby’ from the National Theatre’s acclaimed, Olivier Award-winning revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s Follies. She is perhaps best known to TV audiences as Aunty Brenda in Ruth Jones’s hit comedy-drama Stellaand recently made her debut as series regular paramedics boss, Jan Jennings in the popular, long-running medical drama Casualty.
The 2018 competition is being staged at the Savoy Theatre on Sunday 10th June at 3pm, hosted by Olivier Award winner Tracie Bennett. Chris Hocking returns to direct the annual gala, with musical direction by Mark Etherington.
In addition, the London Musical Theatre Orchestra will orchestrate the winning song of the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Prize and perform it at one of their private play-throughs in Autumn 2018.
Freddie Tapner, Founder and Conductor of London Musical Theatre Orchestra, said today, “LMTO are delighted that we can offer this opportunity to the winner of the Stiles & Drewe Prize. As a composer, there is nothing more thrilling than hearing your work performed by a full orchestra, and we can’t wait to give that experience to someone this year. Good luck to all entrants!”
This annual competition, co-produced by The Stephen Sondheim Society and Mercury Musical Developments, sees twelve of the top student performers from musical theatre and drama schools across the UK each perform a classic song by Stephen Sondheim and a new musical theatre song, written by members of Mercury Musical Developments. The first prize is £1,000. Writer and broadcaster Edward Seckerson returns to Chair the Student Performer judges with Rebecca Caine (the original Cosette in Les Miserables, and Christine in the original London and Canadian companies of The Phantom of the Opera), Rebecca Trehearn(Olivier Award winner for the recent London run of Showboat), Stephen Ridley (Musical Director for American in Paris and The King and I) and David Benedict (Sondheim’s official biographer).
The Stiles + Drewe Prize supports and develops new musical theatre writing via its two distinct arms. Recognising an outstanding song from a new musical and supported by The Entertainment Business, the winner of Best New Song receives £1,000 to put towards developing their work. Judging the Best New Song entries with Stiles and Drewe will be Sharon D Clarke (Caroline, or Change, The Lion King, We Will Rock You) and writer/director Susie McKenna (former Creative Director of Hackney Empire).
In addition, the winner of the Stiles and Drewe Mentorship Award – now in its third year, generously supported by Music Theatre International (Europe) – will also be announced at the Gala. One new musical and its writer(s) will be selected to receive mentorship over a 12-month period, culminating in an industry showcase. Along with Stiles and Drewe, the 2018 judges were composer Grant Olding, the Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate James Dacre and Chichester Festival Theatre’s producer Amelia Ferrand-Rook. A song from each of the three finalist shows will be performed at the event.