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News and events

Symphony of War Declared
The second novel in the Kaddon Keys series is available in ebook.

WFC 2013
Impressions from the World Fantasy Convention held in Brighton in 2013.

Threat Of Massive Closures To Lincolnshire Libraries
Lincolnshire County Council plan to shut down two thirds of Lincolnshire libraries, and to slash mobile library services. They must be stopped.

The BFS Award Nominations, And A Hiatus
This is possibly the best kind of jury duty there is.

FantasyCon 2012
The annual convention of the BFS at Brighton was the first convention to feature a dance-off between Joe Abercrombie and Tom Pollock. It may not be the last.

SFF Imprints Launching
Berkley UK will debut, and Elsewhen Press is to expand into print.

Novacon 41
The 41st Novacon convention, held in Nottingham, featured John Meaney as Guest of Honour.

Lincoln Book Festival 2011
YA authors in costume, steamy paranormal romance, and eye-popping visual appeal from the 2011 Lincoln Book Festival.

Eastercon 2011
Pictures from the 62nd Illustrious Eastercon at the Hilton Metropole in Birmingham.

Genre for Japan
The science fiction, fantasy and horror community is rallying in support of the people of Japan hit by the devastating earthquake and tsunami and its aftermath.

An Interview With John Beachem
John riffs on zombies, trilogies and his plans for The Lorradda Stone, and the Dumbledore and Gandalf deathmatch in this interview.

British Fantasy Awards 2010
Pictures and results from the award ceremony of the British Fantasy Society.

The Heady Heights of Book Reviewing
Take a peek into the Headline offices, where bloggers were let loose on defenceless authors for the Headline Meets Online do on the 24th March.

The In-Between  

The In-Between Musical

28th March 2012

I don't often go to the theatre. As a fantasy and sci-fi fan I like that sense of wonder that comes from giant spaceships, fire-breathing dragons, krakens, flying cars and the odd horde of angry elves. It's hard to fit that lot on stage, so it's always been my impression that, aside from the occasional adaptation of Terry Pratchett's Wyrd Sisters, fantasy and science fiction don't do well on stage.

I am, of course, dead wrong: Shakespeare's plays are full of fantasy elements (the witches in Macbeth, fairies in A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, and various ghosts in Hamlet and other plays). However Shakespeare didn't have to compete with the kind of 3D special effects that build a bridge over the uncanny valley to drive armies of orcs over it, right into our homes. Fantasy may have a long tradition in the theatre, but these days it's a hard sell.

The In-Between

So Laura Tisdall has a lot of work to do to persuade people fantasy still has a place on stage. She's a music graduate of the University of Surrey and she has recorded a concept album for The In-Between, a musical she wrote and hopes to put on at the West End. You can listen to the whole of it through that website, and I recommend you do. It's good.

The story is about Flick and her sister Alice, who have had to cope alone following the death of their parents. Flick has come to expect nothing special from life, until one day she steps through a space into a parallel world known as the In-Between, where she meets Calicus, a guide who spends his time leading people between the worlds. But other guides are starting to go missing and tears are appearing in the walls of the In-Between. So Flick has to choose between holding on to her past, her sister and the world she knows, or taking a risk and trying to save much more.

It sounds like one of those subtle, character-driven fantasies rather than one that's driven mainly by special effects, so it's well suited to musical theatre. But moving from a concept album to a show that people can go and see is another hurdle. I asked Laura about the process:

"I need to get enough interest to prove to a producer it's worth putting on. It's more crucial because there's so little fantasy in theatre so they don't necessarily think audiences would go see that genre - or no-one's prepared to take the risk to be the first to do it - which is a shame, because I love both, so would love to see more!

There is currently no creative team or cast attached to a live stage production, although I've had interest from a few industry people since the launch. I've been working on the show for about 3 years and finished it in summer last year, which was when I decided to try and record the concept album. I've worked a little professionally in theatre I since graduated 2 years ago, but it was really heartening that so many actors from the West End got behind it to take part.

There are different ways to go about putting on a show, but often (with the ones that make it to say the West End or Broadway) there is a producer (who gets the funding) backing the development from quite early on. The thing is, unless you're an established writer like Andrew Lloyd Webber it's incredibly hard to get them to even look at new work, almost impossible for work not based on a pre-existing story. So essentially, what I'm trying to do is something that's quite a different approach to the standard. A few big shows in the 70s/80s, like Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, did concept albums first to get people interested using the music, but it's not something people have done much in recent years, particularly since the internet made sharing music so much easier. So, basically, for a number of reasons, I have to prove there is an audience out there that would go see fantasy in a theatre and, more specifically, would be interested in this story."

Fortunately for Laura there is interest. The In-Between YouTube channel has seen over 17500 video views since its launch in February. It remains to be seen, however, how much people's enjoyment of the music will translate into curiosity about the story behind it, and whether that curiosity will turn into bums on seats.