In our "Meet The Writers" series, we're learning more about the participants of the CMTWC Writers Workshop. The Vancouver Writers Workshop meets every two weeks where, under the guidance of Daniel Maté, writers learn and practice the craft of composition and lyric-writing.
What was your introduction to the theatre?
My introduction to musical theatre in general was when I was given a cast recording of Hair at the age of 12.
When was the moment you decided to write for the theatre?
My introduction to doing music for theatre was when I was hired to do sound for a production of A Winter's Tale at UBC, directed by the uncle of my friend. I purchased a ridiculously expensive but wonderful synthesizer for the purpose...
Whose work do you admire and why?
My favorite writer for theatre is probably Strindberg. I appreciate the courage it must have taken to begin to break through the walls of propriety at the time of his writing, although the ground had been laid by Ibsen.
How do you like to write? What is your process? Where do you find inspiration?
My typical inspiration creeps up on me after working a little while on a problem. It usually announces itself with little fanfare, insisting gently that I pay attention because there's something important about it. Inspiration comes when I'm not thinking.
What do you want to see more of on stage?
I'd love to see more political, community-driven amateur theatre onstage, involving non-professional writers, actors and singers.
If you had to pick one musical cast recording to be your "desert island record" which would it be?
My favorite cast recording for a desert island would probably be Hair, only because I remember it from my childhood.
Complete this sentence: "I write because...”
I write because I honour whatever sacred voices find me a convenient organ for their speech.
What's a tip you have about collaboration?
Here's what I've learned about collaboration: it's a process of finding out what your collaborator really wants, beyond even what they claim to want.
Why did you join the Writers Workshop?
I joined the Writers' Workshop because I'm working on a musical with a friend, who suggested I participate.
What is your favourite thing about the Writers Workshop?
Probably my favorite thing about the workshop is the level of trust and mutual appreciation I have to establish with my co-participants.
I've written songs since I was ten, conducted multiple choirs for many years, done a lot of incidental music for theatre and film, musically directed numerous productions including Threepenny in 2016, teach privately, perform with my wife and with my lovely band Illiteratty. In 2006 I helped created the first Downtown East Side Opera, called Condemned.