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The Fallen Elm

Toby Jones as John Clare
Toby Jones plays John Clare, the ‘peasant poet’, in a musical and literary celebration of Clare’s life

After two hundred years of scrutiny of his life and work, John Clare speaks his mind. Writer Stephen Plaice and composer Julian Philips combine forces to create The Fallen Elm, an intimate and deeply moving portrait of the poet that celebrates the extraordinary power and fertility of his work and brings us closer to the man who loved the limelight, yet longed to return to the chair by the fire in his Northamptonshire home.

The performance at Bush Hall on 26 Apr 2020 has been postponed due to corona virus. Future dates tbc.

Bloom Britannia is a comic opera set in the fictional Southern town of Melhaven. The announcement of the winner of a national competition to regenegerate the coastal towns is imminent.The Mayor of Melhaven has pulled out all the stops, hoping to boost its bid for the money to save the declining resort. But it only survives on its black economy, and when the judges arrive for their final inspection, the cracks start to appear, not only in Melhaven, but in post-Brexit Britain as a whole. The first act of Bloom Britannia was performed at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill in April 2019 to great acclaim.

The performances at St Mary in the Castle in October 2020 have been postponed due to corona virus. Future dates tbc.

Together with the writer Zoe Palmer, Stephen is currently working on the book for Darktown is Out Tonight, a musical about the career of the volatile composer and producer Will Marion Cook who brought the first black musicals to Broadway at the turn of the twentieth century. The show follows the development of African-American theatre music through the era of ragtime and jazz, beginning with Cook’s hit shows, Clorindy and In Dahomey, which took America by storm. It also tells the parallel story of Cook’s wife Abbie Mitchell whom he cast in Clorindy, aged just fourteen. Mitchell went on to star in the première of Porgy and Bess, and was the first singer to record ’Summertime’. The musical will be premièred at the Guildhall School of Music in 2023.