In our "Meet The Writers" series, we're learning more about the participants of the CMTWC Writer's Workshop. The Writer's Workshop meets every two weeks in Toronto where, under the guidance of head teacher Leslie Arden, participants learn and practice the craft of composition and lyric-writing. Check back every Monday to meet a new writer!
What was your introduction to the theatre?
Being from a small town, I didn’t have a lot of access to theatre. I remember watching the films “Chicago” and “Rent” and thinking they were the best things I’d ever seen. It wasn’t until I was in high school when my brother was in the pit band for Les Miserables, that I saw my first live musical. Even though it was a high school production, I felt a lot of emotions that evening, and I knew I was hooked from then on!
When was the moment you decided to write for the theatre?
A few years ago I was writing my own pop/indie, style music at Langara College’s Singer-Songwriter Program. And my teacher would tell me that she hears a lot of musical theatre in my songwriting. So the seed was planted there. Then in 2015, my partner’s name was drawn for FringeKids Toronto, and he asked me if I wanted to write a children’s musical with him. I felt a little intimidated, but said yes. It was nice to have that deadline, and I liked the material, so I had a lot of motivation to jump in and do my best!
Who is someone's work you admire, and why do you admire it?
I admire so many people! I’m currently in love with Pasek and Paul. Their songs are so raw, and intimate, and it’s like they’re writing my thoughts before I think them.
How do you like to write? What is your process? Where do you find inspiration?
I find that my creative thinking is the best in the morning, before I go on any social media. Before my brain is clouded by other daily activities. But I like to work with dim-lighting, sitting at my piano, and writing in a journal instead of on a computer. I get inspired by new music, new shows, a new book I’m reading; anything new. People’s stories are also inspiring to me. And being amongst nature!
What do you want to see more of on stage?
I don’t think I have a favourite type of show I like to see. I love seeing a new piece of theatre. Original, diverse, Canadian musicals, please!
If you had to pick one musical cast recording to be your "desert island record" which would it be?
Am I stressed that I’m on this island? If so, let’s keep it light. Legally Blonde The Musical.
Complete this sentence: "I write because..."
It’s therapeutic, and a challenge, and creative, and rewarding.
Why did you join the Writers Workshop?
I wanted to advance my craft, and I heard it was being taught by Leslie Arden. Sold.
What is your favourite thing about the Writers Workshop?
Learning not only from my own compositions, but from everyone else’s. It’s also so neat to see the different songs and perspectives come from the same assignment.
What's a tip you have about collaboration?
Explore the ideas your partner is presenting. Come with your own ideas, but don’t be married to them in case it isn’t working for the scene.
Trevor Barker is a singer-songwriter, composer, music director, and coffee enthusiast from Toronto. Originally from the small town of Devlin, Ontario, Trevor was always surrounded by music and learned his chops from his piano- playing grandmother, father, and older sister. He's a classically trained pianist, who also learned a lot by ear, playing the latest country, pop, and rock hits on the radio without sheet music. Into his late teen years, Trevor discovered musical theatre, and immediately fell in love. He spent the next 5 years on stage performing in musicals such as RENT, Beauty and the Beast, Footloose, White Christmas, The Buddy Holly Story, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Pirates of Penzance, Fiddler On The Roof, High School Musical, Spamalot, A Chorus Line, and West Side Story. Trevor went on to study songwriting at Langara College's Singer-Songwriter Program in Vancouver, BC, where he learned to develop his skills as a solo and collaborative artist. Trevor recently finished composing and music directing Tuck & Daisy (T&D Productions) at FringeKids in Toronto! He is currently performing his original compositions in Alex In Wonderland at Solar Stage Children’s Theatre.