Lewis Cornay wins New Music Theatre Award 2023

The winner of the annual New Music Theatre Award has been announced.

Composer, lyricist and librettist Lewis Cornay has won for their new musical Harry & Greta, which is a dystopian retelling of Hansel & Gretel in a future word ravaged by the effects of climate change. In the show, there’s no home to go back to and no adults to look after them, so Harry and Greta must unite the children, save the planet and put things right.

The award was announced last night, 11 December 2022, at the annual British Youth Music Theatre (BYMT) Let It Snow event at Shoreditch Town Hall.

Ten shows were originally in the shortlist, and a final four were pitched last night to a judging panel that included New Wolsey Artistic Director Douglas Rintoul, Consultant Rachel Victor-Sampson, BYMT Young Company members Amelie Lloyd and Cherry Kwan, BYMT alumnus Luke Bayer and BYMT staff members.

The winning show, Harry & Greta, will be developed through 2023 and performed at The New Wolsey, Ipswich in early August 2023.

Lewis Conway will work with a dramaturg and arranger to create the show, which will also be workshopped with BYMT’s Young Company in the Spring.

Conway’s new play Daddy Issues recently premiered at the Seven Dials Playhouse in London.

They were also a finalist in the Stiles + Drewe Best New Song Prize 2022 for their song ‘I Don’t Feel Like Me Anymore’ from Snowflake.

Award winner Lewis said in a press statement: “I am over the moon to be writing a brand new musical for BYMT. As a previous young member it feels incredibly full circle to be welcomed back. I know how formative and inspiring the experience can be and I look forward to being able to create in such a nurturing environment. My piece- Harry & Greta– is a dystopian, retelling of the classic tale of Hansel & Gretel. Basically, what happens after our protagonists escape from the witch? Set in the future, the children must unite to find new ways to evolve in a world ravaged by climate change. I can’t wait to work with the young people and collaborate on innovative approaches to climate justice!”

New Wolsey Artistic Director and Chief Executive Douglas Rintoul said: “The calibre of the applications for this award and the level of creativity shown was deeply inspiring. This award is vital in supporting new music theatre voices and giving a platform to the concerns and investigations of a new music theatre making generation. We can’t wait to host this incredibly exciting, energising and unique project here at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.”

BYMT Creative Director & Chief Executive Emily Gray said: “We are delighted to be working with a young writer so in tune with BYMT’s collaborative process and developing a new show that will have space for our young company members to explore and influence the highly pertinent subject matter, whilst also having a lot of fun with Lewis’s playful and contemporary composition style.”

The New Music Theatre Award, organised by the British Youth Music Theatre in partnership with The New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, finds and supports exciting new writers, lyricists, composers, music producers and creators under the age of 30 and based in the UK or Ireland, giving them a platform to develop a brand-new piece to full production with the young people of the BYMT company.

📷 Main photo: Lewis Cornay

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