Rebecca Atkinson-Lord (Former Director of Theatre at Ovalhouse), and Rebecca Applin (Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Award) are asking people to help bring their musical to life from their own home.

New musical Cautionary Tale was in development when the Covid-19 pandemic hit and the workshop performances had to be cancelled. Now the musical’s writers are giving people the opportunity to perform it in their own home and share their recordings online.

For five weeks, Rebecca Atkinson-Lord and Rebecca Applin will be releasing sheet music, backing tracks, Tik Tok choreography, character sketches and script extracts. In week six, some of these recordings will be then used to create a live zoom version of the musical. Record the weekly section by yourself or with your friends and family and share it online using #CautionaryTaleMusical.

Cautionary Tale is the story of Gloaming, a town filled with perfectly ordinary, yet perfectly remarkable people. The inhabitants of Gloaming all have special talents and interests; the Hamingtons, for example, know the answer to any question you can think of, the Bittingworth  sisters are so strong they can lift an elephant and the Trockles can make pretty much anything you like out of knotted string. One day, in the mists of time, the town elders decided that the best way to keep the town safe was to forbid anything that might be a bit too dangerous. The adults of the town have to suppress their talents and conform but it’s hard to live a life of stifled potential. There is one place where they can go to remember what it’s like to feel human – The Black Dog, an ordinary pub where it’s OK to be extraordinary. 

This new musical about growing up and growing glum features a book and lyrics by Rebecca Atkinson- Lord (Founder of Arch468; Director of Theatre at Ovalhouse, 2010 – 2016), music by Rebecca Applin (Cameron Mackintosh Resident Composer Award holder at the New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, and Mercury Theatre, Colchester), and choreography and additional material by Mark Iles (The Brook Under Siege for Medway Council and as performer: Elf the Musical, Dominion Theatre; Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane).

Talking about the news Rebecca Atkinson-Lord comments, “I wrote Cautionary Tale at a time when I was really unhappy because I felt trapped in a life that didn’t feel authentic. It’s a show about finding joy in the darkest of circumstances and right now it feels like we all need a bit of help to be happy, so it seemed like the right thing to do to share it with people. The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that we can’t finish making and staging the show as we’d planned and to see years of work come to nothing has been incredibly sad for the whole team. I hope that people will help us make it happen anyway by staging bits of it in their own homes and sharing them online – and maybe we can all remember how to find a bit more joy.”

To enable people to learn the music, the weekly package will include sheet music, a backing track, the lyric sheet and a note bashing track. This will be accompanied by Tik Tok choreography, character sketches, a script extract and character summaries. Also available on the website will be a model box tour and the plot synopsis. Download all the excitement from https://www.cautionarytalemusical.com/.