Make Your Own Musicals, a company started in lockdown, has been making musical activity packs for children to write their own original mini-musicals at home. Now, for the festive season, they are branching out into family pantomime packs to fill the void many families will be feeling this year.
Make Your Own Musicals was designed as a way of offering original theatrical activities for children to do at home. Each activity pack contains child friendly writing guides, original backing tracks, and corresponding sound effects, as well as fun extra pages such as print-out tickets and cut-out costumes and props. The packs are crafted to inspire confidence and creativity at a time when it can seem hard to find.
Their panto pack will join an ever-growing collection of shows, based around a variety of themes. They have already created a baking musical inspired by the popularity of The Great British Bake Off and musical, Waitress as well as other packs based on superheroes, video games and Halloween.
Brand champions and supporters of the company and their ethos include noted West End actors and creatives such as John Owen-Jones (Les Misérables, The Phantom of the Opera), Rebecca Trehearn (Showboat, City of Angels), Natalie May Paris (Six), musical director Chris Poon (Legend Trippers, Rent), Lizzie Bea (Hairspray, Kinky Boots), Aaron Lee Lambert (Hamilton), Jenna Boyd (Come From Away, I Can’t Sing), composer Howard Goodall (Bend It Like Beckham, The Hired Man), Luke Latchman (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) founder of MTAS Willy Mukendi (Catfish The Musical) and Louise Dearman (Wicked, Evita, Guys and Dolls).
Louise Dearman says:
“As a child I would have absolutely loved Make Your Own Musicals. What a brilliant way to encourage children to get creative and discover the many skills it takes to produce a musical. Genius! I can’t wait to try it with my little girl.”
Make Your Own Musicals was started by two 2020 musical theatre graduates from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Jonathan O’Neill and Isaac Savage, in collaboration with theatre producer/director Adam Lenson after they met in an industry wide Zoom meeting.
“I work daily with professional musical theatre writers and I was amazed by how the packs Jonathan and Isaac have created teach the core skills of storytelling, character and songwriting needed when making a new musical. I truly believe that Make Your Own Musicals can help usher in a new generation of creative talent who will also have a great time bringing their shows to stages in homes everywhere.”
The activity packs are designed to be suitable for children aged between 6 and 14 and for use both at home or in the classroom. However, the new panto pack is the first designed for the whole family. It incorporates classic panto features and characters for you to put on your own panto at home, so why not get your dad to be the panto dame, or dress up as buttons for a night?
“After graduating with a degree in musical theatre into an industry that was no longer running, I wanted to find a way of using my skills to do something positive. Since many theatres were closed, I thought why not give children and their families everything they needed to make their own musicals at home?”
They have also created a free mini masterclass booklet in storytelling, character building and lyric writing which can be downloaded for free for everyone who joins their mailing list.
Affordability is a key part of the company’s core values and as such, the musical packs are priced at just £20. The time spent on an activity pack is flexible from a few hours to a few weeks and everything in between. The packs can be used in short bursts to create individual songs, scenes or dances, or can be treated as an ongoing project to create a musical extravaganza to perform in your living room, complete with homemade costumes, props and set.
Make Your Own Musicals‘ pantomime kit will be released in mid-November and you can hear music samples from their previous shows on their website. The company is also releasing gift cards in time for Christmas with the aim of bringing creativity to families everywhere.