I sincerely hope over time to be able to add other writers and directors to this page but for now …. here’s me …
For details of the amazing people involved in out first production The Legend of Lady Rock, please visit our current productions page.
Sarah Walker-Smith is the creator of Pgical Productions; realising a lifelong dream to write wonderful stories and create them for others to enjoy whether on or off stage.
Sarah began writing at a very young age. Her first memory is of a small red notebook her grandparents gave her when she was three and managing to get as far as ‘Once upon a time there was a princess who lived in a castle ….’. Perhaps not entirely original but you have to start somewhere!
When at home Sarah would write whenever she got he chance; locking herself in a cupboard with a typewriter! By the age of 14, as well as lots of short stories she had written two plays (one Agatha Christie style murder mystery and one called ‘The Grass is Always Greener’ about a dissatisfied family who are helped by the SSFG – the Secret Society of Fairy Godmothers – and then realise they liked what they already had better) and the start of a novel about a female James Bond called ‘Amber’.
The writing was replaced by acting and performing as Sarah then joined various drama and musical groups and started to learn about the theatre.
But the desire to create stories, especially those linked to history in some way, never went away. By her early twenties, inbetween acting in several plays and musicals a year, she was back to forming ideas for new shows in her head; a musical about the Carpenters using their music, an adaptation of the Ivanhoe story set in 1940’s paris, a set of auditions where the audience get to chose who gets the part …. and one she would still dearly love to complete … an adaptation of the novel Chocolat by Joanne Harris.
Sarah began writing the story and libretto for The Legend of Lady Rock in around 2001 after a visits to the Isle of Mull. See further The Making of Lady Rock. But to due work and life generally taking over she put this down until summer 2014 when she decided to complete it.
In 2012 Sarah was lucky enough to be involved in the developing the world premier of a brand new musical version of Alan Siletto’s Saturday Night and Sunday Morning written by Stephen Williams and Cathy Spoors. As a director of an entirely new work Sarah was able to create the full concept and staging of the musical far more than with an established work and got the writing bug again; this time deciding to develop an idea she had originally had around 2003 to tell a story from several different perspectives so the audience’s understanding of the situation and initial biases change from their initial view. The working title of this piece for 7 actors was called ‘Christmas Paradigms’. Sarah wrote the first draft of the script and lyrics in 2012 but then had to stop again as she didn’t have the ability to write the music.
People often consider which comes first – the music or the lyrics? And is it better to have a single mind create both or a collaboration between a lyricist and a composer? The answer is that there is no best answer. There are many successful examples of doing it both ways. But for Sarah the songs tend to come together; in fact, possibly because of her directing experience and desire to ‘tell great stories’, the whole musical tends to form as a single idea for her. For this reason, as well as the fact that collaboration is hard when you have a full time job and a family and therefore end up writing in the middle of the night or on holiday, Sarah finally took the view that it would be better for her to attempt to write an entire piece to bring the whole integrated vision together; even if that meant the music itself wouldn’t be as good as it could be with an expert composing it. But she had a problem … she didn’t write music nor play an instrument. So she could hear the songs in her head but simply had no way of writing them down or being able to get anyone else to be able to play them. Dilemma …
Then one day she saw an iPad advert showing someone writing sheet music on an app. After searching the App Store she found Notion Mobile for the grand price of £5.99 and with the aid of a trusty music theory book (or two) and a lot of patience (a new skill!) she started to tap away note by note, bar by bar, line by line and instrument by instrument until she had a fully orchestrated score for the whole of The Legend of Lady Rock. The app could play back what was written so Sarah could keep adapting it until it matched the songs she could already hear in her head. Problem solved … she was now able to fulfil her lifetime dream of writing and creating musical theatre… and in time very much hopes to be able to help others do so too.