Lee has choreographed for National Youth Music Theatre Company, Salisbury Playhouse and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds where he is currently working on the pantomime Cinderella which opens on December 7 and runs through until January 20 2008. Here, Lee speaks about his choreographic experience and current projects with Francesca McCoid.
How long have you worked with National Youth Music Theatre and what do you most enjoy about this?
I have been involved with the NYMT for just over a year. Caroline Leslie the Artistic Associate, whom I worked with at the Salisbury Playhouse a few years ago, invited me on board for the nationwide auditions for the 2007 NYMT Company. We auditioned/work shopped almost 1500 young people and then offered 60 of them a place and divided them into two companies. One company performed Fiddler on the Roof at the Bridewell Theatre earlier this year and the other Little Me, more recently at the Bloomsbury Theatre. I choreographed both of these shows, and the thing I most enjoy about working with these young people is their energy and amazing talent. They really are outstanding, disciplined and focused. A few previous NYMT members came along to see Little Me including Matt Lucas and Sheridan Smith and they were both excited about what they saw. This group of young people are the next generation of performers to come through and it’s a joy to be part of that.
What are you future career plans? Is there a particular direction you would like to take your work in?
I’m currently working on a play called Black Eyed Susan, which is a swash buckling melodrama at the newly restored Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds. Aside from that we’ve started the National workshops this month for the 2008 NYMT company when we will audition young people from Newcastle, Liverpool, Cardiff and London for a production next year. I plan to continue working in this field.
What made you want to become a choreographer?
From being a dancer I think it’s a natural progression to either teach or choreograph. Although I do occasionally teach, I find choreography very rewarding. Recently I’ve been working with actors who are strong performers but have very little dance background and I find it very exciting to get them to create a scene or tell a story through movement. Also as I’m sure so many choreographers will say, I started to choreograph because I felt I could do a better job than some of the people I was working with.
Pantomime. It’s great being part of the first production in the newly restored Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds. It’s also a thrill to be asked to work on the first Pantomime there since the reopening following major restoration and redevelopment programme. We have a strong company of actors and ensemble. The Pantomime is being set in Russia and the music has been especially written for the production. Which is a joy and very exciting for me. It will be interesting and challenging working with the actors to get them to move with a Russian Folk style. It will give the whole show a very stylish look. Cinderella opens on December 7 and runs through until January 20.
Since you spoke to Francesca last year you have become part of a new Youth Theatre Organisation-could you tell me more about this?
Myself and the rest of the creative team from the NYMT have established a new theatre company, called The Company. Our aim is to give young people aged between 15 and 23 a foundation for a career in the theatre. We are about to start a series of auditions around England, then begin workshops in April and May, followed by our first musical production of The Rose and the Ring at The Dancehouse in Manchester this summer. August 2008.
For more information please visit Lee Crowley/ UK Choreographers Directory or contact Alice on 020 7713 0730 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.