Twelfth Night, A Shakespearean Rock Opera!
Hello, I’m Dylan J Morris, student of Maths at Durham University, mad fan of Liverpool FC and composer of the Shakespearean rock opera (!) Twelfth Night. I’m delighted to have been invited to write a blog for the BSA about my show – which is based on my favourite Shakespeare play – to explain how it came about and where you can find the music and get involved. If music be the way to make Shakespeare accessible to young people – read on!
How did it all begin?
Two years ago, when I was 17, I climbed to Everest Basecamp and was convinced it would be one of the biggest achievements of my life, and certainly the most significant of that year. But, as I walked those 12 long and lonely days, I was actually starting on a much bigger journey as the first few melodies of Twelfth Night formed in my mind and I started to create a plan to write a musical.
At the time I was at Altrincham Grammar School for Boys in Cheshire, studying Music A-Level, so I was no stranger to composing. My early love of music led me to play trombone from a young age and I got involved with every band and ensemble I could. When I was cast as Caiaphas (the true hero!) in the school’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Year 12, a passion for musical theatre exploded in me which sparked the beginning of the road to Twelfth Night.
I wrote the score and libretto for Twelfth Night in just 4 months during my last year at school and, amid A-Levels and university applications, we performed the show to an audience of over 200. It was a Herculean task which completely consumed my life, but was by far the most rewarding and exciting time I have ever known. This was only heightened after the performance when I saw the amazing reaction of the audience, and from that moment I knew I’d created something that merited more than the one performance I’d bargained for. So Think Harder Productions was born – a company run by myself and my family, devoted to fulfilling the potential of Twelfth Night and hopefully future works as well.
Twelfth Night was performed a second time at the Northenden Players’ Theatre Company after a member of the committee saw our first show and invited us to come to perform it at their theatre pretty much on the spot! In addition, the show is currently being used as the basis for a workshop at our local Stagecoach youth theatre company which we are very excited about and I will be holding a Q&A session with performers and watching their performance in early October. We have also been approached by a number of the RSC Associate Schools which are looking to stage the show and are looking forward to helping with these as much as we can.
I have been incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to professionally record Twelfth Night as an album with an amazing band and vocalists. This has been a dream of mine for a long time and it’s wonderful that the album is now available on the streaming sites Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. Using the backing track from the recording we are also planning to take the show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2020 with friends from Durham.
Twelfth Night is an hour-long rock opera, faithfully telling the story of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night through different styles of rock, jazz and contemporary music. With a manageable cast of 10, simple staging and appealing storyline it is ideal for a school or student-led project. The show has been described as a modern-day ‘Joseph’ and we hope it will be welcomed by groups looking to perform new works.
We’d love to make Twelfth Night available to schools and musical theatre groups to perform either in its entirety or excepts/workshop format so here’s how to get involved:
- Listen to or buy the album on Spotify or Amazon Music
- If you would like to request a CD please contact us (details below)
For more information about how to get involved and request performance rights please visit www.thinkharder.co.uk or contact:
Managing Director, Think Harder Productions
We hope you enjoy the show and would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading!