The story of getting to this point is full of chance, coincidence and luck. Mark Hooper had met with Alan Sharland and Sam Swallow in London in late 2014 to film and observe an AnimAlphabet Education session at a school in Shepherds Bush. Al and Sam had created a fantastic music programme for young people; affording them the opportunity to learn the principals of music in an exiting and engaging fashion.
After hearing the music for the first time, it was clear that this should not only be an education programme, but a musical for young people. The package was there, fantastic characters, stunning visuals, wonderful music, clever lyrics... all it needed was a story to tie it all together.
About a year later, Mark and his business partner Dean Penn arranged to meet with Al and Sam to discuss the idea of turning AnimAlphabet into a magical musical for families. Needless to say, by the end of the meeting there were four excited people who were ready to get to work right away.
Fast forward a couple of week and we now find ourselves in South Hill Park: an arts centre about an hour outside of London in a town called Bracknell. We are in the venues 'Wilde Upstairs', a beautiful room decorated with red cloth and fairy lights - it wouldn't look out of place in a scene from Moulin Rouge. In the room are friends, family, educators and creatives who have agreed to participate in an ideas session for the musical. Board pens, flip charts, print outs and some dodgy recordings of the music on Dean's phone were the tools given to bring the story to life.
The mission was simple, to devise a story around a series of songs written for the soul purpose of inspiring young people to participate and take an interest in music. We knew the musical had to do just the same...