Student writing a new musical with foundry10 mentors

At foundry10, we’re interested in using the dramatic arts to develop creative leadership in students. This means, we believe, given the opportunity to really dive into a creative idea, students of all ages, can discover themselves as leaders not only in their confidence in their artistry but as leaders in their cultural community.

One such student we’ve had the pleasure to work with is a young woman, who approached us with an idea to write a new musical. Lydia Hayes, a 14-year-old musical writer, has been working with mentors at foundry10 for the past year on developing her new musical, “Behind the Glass.” In January 2017, she had her first staged table reading with a captive audience and a cast of talented student performers from the community. Village Theater Kidstage hosted the event in their second stage space. The evening was exciting, complete with stage lights, pizzas and snacks, surveys, and plenty of discussion and feedback. Lydia sang the songs she’s written, accompanied by Michael Nutting, her fantastic music composing mentor, and the event and discussion was facilitated by her script mentor and foundry10 dramatic arts programs director, Chelsea LeValley. Lydia invited the Village Theater Kidstage class of students who are working on a new musical together. She wanted their feedback since they’re also students writing a musical and are her age. In addition to that class, other students in the community who are writers or interested in being writers, including a member from the foundry10 New Musical Project team, and also the Village Theater staff who have a lot of experience with new musicals, attended her reading and gave much positive and critical feedback, much to Lydia’s eager acceptance. Below are some thoughts from Lydia on her experience:

“I’m learning about putting together all the pieces of creating a musical. How to write music and all about the components to a song and to tell a story through a song. I am also learning about the little details of writing a play, how to connect different scenes believably. And of course, how to combine songs and script. I wanted to write a musical because I wanted the experience but also, I’ve always seen musicals and thought to myself, I would have done it like this, or it should have been like, and when I heard this story, my first thought was that this would be a great musical. It was a really good experience to see and hear my script, with voices other than mine and what’s in my head, come to life. It made me think about things like, I thought it would come across like this, but when it was read it was completely different. Also, having a small group of people watch and give feedback was really important and helpful because they could hear it for the first time without knowing everything about the story and what everything means, so if they watched and got confused, that was very useful for me so that I know what needs to be more clear or explained. In the future for this script, I’d like to have another staged reading with the actors also singing the songs, get more feedback and make some edits, then have a full performance of it and maybe submit it to some different people and places and events.”

Lydia’s work is continuing to progress in her one-on-one sessions with her mentors as they incorporate feedback from the previous reading. The summer months plan to bring a workshop where the actors are taught the music and perform it as a staged reading for Lydia and the community to enjoy and give her further feedback on her work. Lydia is boldly stepping into her creative leadership, taking feedback from others, and synthesizing it into what she wants to incorporate into her art. Her confidence and ability to follow-through have been qualities artists who attended her reading expressed they found inspiring. We are looking forward to sharing her work with a larger community.