We chatted to Kathryn Mincer about Mia: the Musical and how easy it was to create a musical during lockdown.

Could you tell me more about what Mia the musical is about? It is a story about a young woman named Mia – she is unable to feel any emotions, just a numb nothingness all the time. The only way she can feel any emotions is when people donate their unwanted feelings to her; which allows her to experience sadness, anger, disgust, fear, etc. But one day, she gets an emotion she’s never had before … happiness. This turns Mia’s life around as she tries to understand who sent her this, why they sent this to her … and when can she get some more.This is a musical theatre production that approaches feelings and mental health in a whole new way, as we follow someone who lives without the emotions that define us as human beings.

How did the idea for the musical come about? The idea stemmed from my personal experiences, as someone who lives with Borderline Personality Disorder. I struggle with emotional regulation and find that I am most content when I feel nothing – and this brought about an interesting idea, of how would life be if people could pick and choose their feelings? If they could donate what they didn’t want to someone else?It felt extremely relevant; especially in a time when the world is suffering from a shared trauma (aka. pandemic), and people are struggling with mental health issues more than ever!

How did the Samaritans become involved? So, I knew that I wanted to pair up with a charity and use the show to help spark a conversation about mental health. I contacted the Samaritans about this project, and they were extremely helpful in providing us information about signposting for audience members after the show, as well as explaining media guidelines they have when it comes to mental illness being portrayed. We therefore have chosen to donate a percentage of ticket and album and streaming sales to the Samaritans so that they can continue the great work that they do!

How difficult was it to create the musical during lockdown? The writing of the book and lyrics wasn’t too bad actually!! If anything, having that time with little to no distractions meant that I could fully form the idea and bash it out pretty quickly. The tricky parts where finding composers that shared the same vision for the show as I did. There were many composers who just played pretty music, but didn’t capture the essence of the storytelling and character that I really needed from them. Luckily, I have two marvelous composers now; Sheridan Lloyd and Josef Pitura-Riley, who are bringing this show to life between their full time work!And thank goodness for Zoom! We could not work in a socially distanced setting without it. (Not sponsored!)

What is next in store for Mia the musical?  At this moment, we have a couple of Producers who are interested in partnering with us to put this show on. We hope to be able to perform Mia: the Musical live in theatres at some point, but restrictions may mean that we choose to stream it for online audiences.In the meantime, we are completing the music for the show, and looking at uploading the show’s cast recording onto streaming services in 2021 so that you can get a taster of the show!

By Emma Clarendon