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Meet The Writers: Ted Hamilton

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?

I played Fagan in a production of Oliver in grade 6. It was absolutely a formative experience. I loved it!

When was the moment you decided to write for the theatre?

In the past, I played guitar on scores for contemporary dance, theatre and film. Through these experiences, I came to understand what an important role music can have in a dramatic context.

Whose work do you admire and why?

Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Leonard Bernstein.

How do you like to write? What is your process? Where do you find inspiration?

I tend to write alone, but I love to collaborate with all kinds of other artists. I have found that I compose my best work when there are other elements involved in a given piece: action, drama, dance, text, etc. I can be inspired by almost anything, and often am.

What do you want to see more of on stage?

I find some of today's new musical theatre works a bit generic, erring too far into the pop arena style-wise, almost by default. I love to see new genres and styles of music embraced and incorporated into the musical theatre realm. Hamilton, for example.

If you had to pick one musical cast recording to be your "desert island record" which would it be?

That's a tricky one but because I started out my musical career playing in rock bands, probably the original cast recording of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Complete this sentence: "I write because...”

I have something to say something to share, a story to tell.

What's a tip you have about collaboration?

The sum of the two collaborating talents should be greater than the parts. Listen, listen, listen to your collaborator's ideas and always be sure that you understand exactly where they are coming from. Communicate.

Why did you join the Writers Workshop?

An opportunity to meet other musical theatre artists and to gain insight/experience into the nuts and bolts of writing songs for musical theatre.

What is your favourite thing about the Writers Workshop?

It is constantly pulling me away from my comfort zone as a composer. I've enjoyed the challenge of collaborating with several different artists. I am constantly amazed by the art that we all pull out of thin air, week after week.

Ted Hamilton is a Vancouver based multi-disciplinary composer and sound artist working in contemporary dance, theater, film/TV and performance art. His music and collaborative creations have been produced and performed in Canada and internationally for over two decades.

Ted is also a songwriter and composer of choral music, art song and music for musical theatre.

The musical 39... and Ticking, book and lyrics by Sharon Heath, music by Ted Hamilton, was nominated for The Ovation Award for best musical in 2010.

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