Developed by Perfect Pitch

Co-produced by the Mercury Theatre Colchester and TBO Productions


Book, Music & Lyrics by Gus Gowland


Directed by Ryan McBryde; Designed by Fin Redshaw; Musical Direction by Paul Herbert


20 April – 5 May


Made in Colchester production


Mercury Theatre Colchester and TBO Productions today announce the world première of the brand-new musical – Pieces of String with book, music and lyrics by Gus Gowland. The production, directed by Ryan McBryde and designed by 2017 Linbury Prize Finalist Fin Redshaw, opens on 27 April at the Mercury, with previews from 20 April and runs until 5 May.


When Jane returns from her father’s funeral to start clearing the house she grew up in – packing away the family photographs, closing a chapter – she isn’t prepared for the untold story she’s about to discover threaded through her past, a story that threatens to unravel her relationship with her own children and shake her understanding of who she is.


A new musical set simultaneously in the 1940s and in the present day, Pieces Of String tells how Jane’s father, Edward, came back from the Second World War with a secret that would change his life forever – a secret that he would carry until the day he died.


With hauntingly beautiful music and a heart-rending human story, Pieces Of String is a tender, funny, emotionally-charged exploration of how three generations of one family learn to deal with a story that nobody’s been brave enough to tell until today.


Times may have changed but some battles still need to be fought.


Gus Gowland. Book, Music and Lyrics.

Most recently Gowland wrote a short musical, Sick!, which was performed at LOST Theatre as part of Accidents & Emergencies, while his short play Clocks & Teapots was performed at Rada Studios and the London Transport Museum as part of London Omnibus. He co-wrote and directed Barren, Love Love Love(Canadian Fringe Tour) and wrote and performed in Tell Me on A Thursday at the Camden Fringe and wrote two songs for Copyright Christmas, for Olivier Award-winning theatre collective Duckie at the Barbican. He has also produced and directed a season of Miniscule Musicals at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, one of which was performed at the Duckie 10th anniversary birthday party at South Bank Centre and he also co-wrote the song Home, with Alistair Brammer for the MAD Trust album – The West End Goes MAD for Christmas. Gowland was shortlisted for the inaugural Perfect Pitch award in 2013 and his songs Take Me Back and Turning Stones have been shortlisted for the Stiles & Drewe Best New Song Award. In addition, he was also one of 5 music industry experts to form the UK jury for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014.

Ryan McBryde directs. His credits include The Invisible Man (Queens Theatre, Hornchurch), Before the Party, Cinderella, Jack And The Beanstalk (Salisbury Playhouse) Faust I, 1984, Spring Awakening and The Crucible (Schauspielbühnen, Stuttgart), Angus, Thongs and Even More Snogging (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Hamlet – The Musical (Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Richmond Playhouse), Saturday Night Fever (Theatre Royal Bath and UK tour), The House of Mirrors and Hearts and The Jabberwocky (Arcola Theatre), A Day at the Racists (Finborough Theatre), The RSC’s 50th Anniversary Gala (RSC), On the 20th Century (Union Theatre), The Life, The Ruling Class, Sweet Charity, Spring Awakening – The Musical, The Who’s Tommy, The Full Monty, Hysteria, Hair, Deathtrap and The Fox (The English Theatre, Frankfurt).

Production supported by the Linbury Trust


The Mercury Theatre Colchester is the most active producing theatre in East Anglia and is a vital centre of excellence in the East’s growing creative economy. The Mercury exists to put theatre at the heart of the community it serves and to make work in Colchester that reaches audiences and generates critical attention regionally and nationally. The Mercury is a champion of regional arts, both as an active co-producer with other venues and companies and also touring our own productions to audiences across the UK. On-site production and workshop facilities create sets, props and costumes for both for in-house productions and touring companies, including the National Theatre.



TBO Productions have produced a veritable smorgasbord of productions Rhinestone Mondays (UK Tour), Haunting Julia (UK tour), Soho Cinders (Soho Theatre), Sherlock Holmes – The Best Kept Secret (UK tour), September In The Rain (UK tour), Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be (Theatre Royal Stratford East), April in Paris(UK tour), The A-Z of Mrs P (Southwark Playhouse). Recent productions have included, Associate Producers & General Managers for Harvey (Birmingham Repertory Theatre / Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Buskers Opera(Park Theatre), Tap factory (UK tour), Mindgame (UK tour). Their latest production, Son of a Preacher Man is currently on a nationwide UK tour.



Perfect Pitch, supported by Arts Council England, is currently the only non-profit theatre company in the UK dedicated exclusively to creating, developing, producing and promoting new contemporary British musicals. Their mission is to create a high standard of new British musical theatre that reflects and connects with today’s diverse and contemporary Britain. Perfect Pitch aim to predominantly work with artists whose work is contemporary, challenging and innovative. Musicals that could break boundaries and help us develop an audience’s perception of what the musical theatre art form can be. They work in partnership and collaboration with venues, writers, producers and creatives all over the UK and beyond.



Listings Information 

Pieces of String

20 April – 5 May

Performance times vary

Tickets £12 – £27 & discounts

01206 573948