Don’t get me wrong, I love West End glitz as much as anyone. My infatuation with musical theatre started in earnest at the age of 12, watching Fred & Ginger movies and Busby Berkeley extravaganzas on the TV. A good, old-fashioned, no-expense-spared show can still make my heart beat faster. But when it comes to staging my own work, my passion is for creating stories and situations using only the bare minimum of set, props and costumes, along with maximum imagination. Just as well, too: my budget doesn’t stretch to anything more. So Three Chairs and a Hat seems a fitting way to describe the small-scale musicals I’ve written and staged, with the help of a massively talented group of performers and backstage magicians. Here are some more details about our productions:
VERITY and DEXTER gave us two sides of one story on alternate nights at the 2023 Edinburgh Fringe, as the wedding of the century turned into an all-out disaster. Aunts and cousins, social media, the mysterious Moira Day and a herd of Moroccan donkeys—all created a quirky world on the Annexe stage of theSpace at Symposium Hall (The Annexe). We had lovely feedback from audiences and reviewers, and filmed versions of both Fringe shows are available on Scenesaver.
‘Fantastically clever … ticks over at an excellent pace … The dialogue is snappy, inherently human, and all the songs are great … I love the dissonant, two-voice, three-voice, all-voice harmonies’—
The Mumble ⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Sharp and witty … buzz with ambition …’ —
‘More than a hint of Sondheim … a lively cast … each [show] deepens and strengthens the other’ —
2nd From Bottom
‘Brilliant score and an amazingly talented cast’
‘Quirky, original … made me think without whacking me in the face — perfect Fringe. Brilliant!’
‘I was really impressed by the quality of the compositions and singing … I was left wanting more!’
VERITY made her original Fringe debut in 2019, after playing to full houses in Oxford.
She won BEST MUSICAL in the Scenesaver Birthday Honours awards.
‘…a veritable modern masterpiece’ … ‘an extremely talented bunch’ … ‘Nia … rhymes like a rapper’… ‘A fabulous piece on so many levels’—The Mumble ⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘I loved it! Such great performances from everyone, and fab music.’
‘I really enjoyed the story, the fantastic singing and the slick presentation – very humorous, with some comical dance moves …’
‘A brilliant show—really enjoyed it’
‘It was absolutely bloody brilliant!’
MRS PACK is about a real woman — a wet-nurse who suckled a prince, spied for a queen, and turned the Stuart court upside down. We had a great response to its première run at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe, and a video of that production is available on Scenesaver or our YouTube channel.
‘Beautiful … bright and lively but very moving, with a sense of empathy for all the people caught up in this tangled web’
‘Witty, catchy songs that tell an intriguing story, delivered by a talented cast … with verve and joy’
‘Entertaining, profoundly moving and thought-provoking. Brilliant, original and multi-layered writing … Beautiful music’
‘A poignant retelling of a little known footnote to the historical record, with exquisite music … fantastic acting’
MELODY is a one-act musical with a cast of two creating a world of characters. Melody Smart, a cheerful hotel receptionist, wins a singing lesson in the staff raffle—and finds her carefully constructed life unravelling to reveal secrets, passions, and more than a few buttered digestives. MELODY has played in Oxford, Abingdon and Ross-on-Wye and is being filmed for digital release in 2023.
‘A really compelling piece of theatre’
‘Nia Williams is a gifted and imaginative storyteller’
Nicola Lisle, Oxfordshire Classical Music.
‘Brilliantly written and superbly executed’
‘Moving, funny, fascinating, absorbing’
‘Poignant, funny, painful, uplifting and deeply human’
‘Poignant, thought-provoking and utterly engrossing’
‘Amazing storytelling, clever lyrics and music’
‘Well written, well directed, well acted—loved it’ . —
A talented cast of 15 women, directed and filmed by Wayne T Brown, brings Shakespeare’s female characters into contemporary contexts in this 35-video project. Launching with a video a day on international theatre platform Scenesaver, Shakespeare (She/Her) already had great reviews from the Edinburgh and Brighton online fringe festivals, and in 2022 was showcased at the Equality Shakespeare Festival, a digital initiative from The Shakespeare Institute and University College London to foster equality across race, gender and class.
‘An insightful piece of theatre … powerful … style and feisty passion’—Broadway Baby ⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Simple snapshots going straight to the heart of each of the women’—LouReviews ⭐⭐⭐
‘Fresh, innovative …a fast-paced production that is sure to keep viewers on their toes’—Theatre Weekly ⭐⭐⭐⭐
‘Witty, arresting, poignant and powerful … be prepared to see Shakespeare’s women in a completely new light’—Dr Chris Laoutaris, The Shakespeare Institute
Click the links below to see our other digital theatre and animation productions:
An animated version of Lady M, a musical based on a vlogger with a past.
Selected for the Berlin International Art Film Festival 2022
Semi-finalist, Palm Springs Shorts Film Festival 2022
The film is available in separate episodes as well as its full format:
PART ONE: MIDDAY HAGS—the first episode takes us back to Lady M’s past at Hannigan’s Department Store, haunted by the Hags and brightened by the arrival of Beth Mack
Selected as part of the Toronto Lift-Off Film Festival, 2021
Semi-Finalist, International Cosmopolitan Film Festival of Tokyo, 2022
PART TWO: MR KING—episode two introduces us to the eccentric boss of Hannigan’s
Finalist, Toronto Independent Film Festival of Cift, 2021
Semi-Finalist, Stockholm Short Film Festival, 2021
Award of Distinction, Canada Shorts Film Festival, 2021
PART THREE: BANKSY—in episode three we meet Barnaby Banks, victim of Beth’s increasingly ruthless grab for power
An exploration of loss, love and friendship in verse and song; featuring Matthew Allison
‘Poetic, musical meditations on the experiences of loss and ageing, they are meditative and honest.’—Donna Kaye Speaks
‘Evocative, reflecting the confusion and sense of life’s fragility … a gentle sense of rueful regret and puzzlement … very moving’—British Theatre Guide
‘Simple yet hauntingly wonderful … tremendously well performed … a trio of softly spoken yet deep and meaningful pieces of art’—Fringe Review
A dramatised version of my short story about isolation and obsession. Do you believe in ghosts?
Honorable Mention, Best Mobile Short, Independent Shorts Awards, Los Angeles 2021
Semi-Finalist, Indie Short Fest April 2021
‘A strong script and imaginative use of technology make “Haunted” compelling viewing’—British Theatre Guide
‘Nia Williams deploys a poetic knack for helping the audience visualise the frantic, whirling colours of her character’s fixations’—Broadway Baby
‘Lyrical in spades … Williams’ presence alone is enough to ensnare viewers’—The Wee Review
PAMELA DRYSDALE’S LOCKDOWN
Three Chairs performer Jane Hainsworth demonstrates her writing talents for writing in this one-woman comedy of errors about the unintended consequences of Lockdown on a naughty weekend away.
‘The quirky approach makes going for a walk on the wild side with Pamela worthwhile’—British Theatre Guide
Three half-sisters meet to clear out their late father’s cottage, and attempt to untangle the mess of his past and their own relationships. Meanwhile, has anyone seen Sister Dora? Our first staged musical played to full houses at the Old Fire Station and Burton Taylor theatres in Oxford. You can hear some of the songs from the show, performed by Rebecca Martin, Sarah Leatherbarrow and Jane Hainsworth, here.
Scores and scripts of all the stage musicals are available for hire. If your group or society would like to stage one of these shows, go to the Contacts page and drop me a line for more information.
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