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New musical film Cells to be released episodically from 19 April

We are pleased to be partnering with Metta Theatre – one of the UK’s leading production companies devoted to British musical theatre – to announce the release of a film of a brand-new musical, Cells, written, developed and recorded entirely during lockdown by the award-winning writer/director P Burton-Morgan and composer Ben Glasstone and starring Metta’s recently announced Patron, the Olivier award-winning Clive Rowe alongside rising star Lem Knights.

A university science lab. A kebab shop at 2am. An online gaming forum. Two strangers’ lives become intertwined. Alan Bennett meets The Streets in this tender and uplifting new work, giving voice to the lives of two everyday blokes.

Metta are partnering with Royal & Derngate and two other major regional venues – Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough – and we will being hosting episodes of the film on our websites. The first episode will be launched on Monday 19 April, with subsequent episodes released daily, and the full film will be available on Monday 26 April, along with the album to be released on Spotify and other digital platforms.

The film, in episode form and then in its entirety will be free to all to access via YouTube with a suggested donation (£3 per episode, £10 for the whole film) – all of which will go to the three theatres to help support their recovery.

Cells is written and directed by P Burton-Morgan (Madam Butterfly UK tour, In the Willows, UK tour, Jungle Book UK & International Tour), with music by Ben Glasstone, mixed and mastered by Simon Small and the Musical Director is Phil Cornwell. The Director of Photography is Jon Dickinson, the films are edited by Will Reynolds. Phil Cornwell plays keys and double bass and Curtis Volp is on guitar.

P Burton-Morgan, who in 2020 won the Writers Guild of Great Britain Award for musical theatre book writing for In the Willows explains, “I’ve been talking to Clive about writing something specifically for him ever since we met 4 years ago, so I’m thrilled to have this opportunity. It’s been a wild adventure creating a music video musical for this brave new world of ‘digital theatre’ in which we find ourselves. Hopefully we’ve succeeded in taking the best of both theatre and film to create something intimate and unique.”

James Dacre, Artistic Director at Royal & Derngate said, “In a year in which new musicals lie at the heart of our work, we’re delighted to be supporting Poppy and Ben to launch this touching story of a powerful new relationship formed between two strangers.”