LSW proudly presents a new incentive for 2009
inclusive of the Tim Williams Award Scheme

         

From Older Words - New Theatre Music
A Celebration of the Art and Craft of Theatrical Song
 

Just 'Do It'

The London Shakespeare Workout's (LSW) stated purpose reads:

‘To employ the works of Shakespeare and other major dramatic, cinematic, musical writers/thinkers as a tool towards effective interaction in order to (a) create new work and (b) promote confidence through the will to dream for all’. 

LSW now launches a new incentive - OLD WORDS; NEW THEATRE MUSIC - in joyful celebration of:

  1. LSW's late, great Musical Director, Tim Williams (honouring the inspiration he so plenteously offered through the art of song induced by great classical/lyrical texts) and

  2. the enlargement of existing LSW attributes via the 'WitSling' tradition (wherein the effective application of established written/musical literature feeds a refreshed/renewed literacy by embracing varying mixtures of cultural traditions/motifs),

Rameau wrote: "Put life into your song and you put spring into your step".  Multitudinous theatrical concerts thrill to 'duets'.
Here assurance will be scored through witnessing creative interaction in immediate renewal via 'do-its'

Each JUST DO IT (JDI) presentation/workshop will focus

  • on character/story through theatrical song inspired by an established source and

  • its ability to encourage new European voices striving to involve all by means of dedicated diversity.    

       Thou rememberest
	Since once [we] sat upon a promontory,
	And heard a mermaid on a dolphin's back
	Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
	That the rude sea grew civil at her song
	And certain stars shot madly from their spheres,
	To hear the sea-maid's music.

Brief LSW Background

Over its noted 11 year history, LSW has been about nothing if not the establishment of key precedents.  A sampling of LSW's historical achievement can be witnessed here

In all LSW has engaged via:

(a) an interactive application of dramatic literature and

(b) the specific exploration/development of new music through

  • interactive exploration of evolving meters;

  • the underscoring of dramatic text wherein the music/lyrics themselves become both set and costume;

  • a celebration of the art song. 

In all LSW has gloried in variety.  We have done so by;

  • pursuing our theme of renewal, and by  

  • offering meaningful opportunities to (literally) thousands of artists, regardless of background.  LSW has encouraged all to push artistic boundaries and revel in the cultural development of the world around them, holding as t'were a mirror up to nature.

"LSW works at the highest level," Michael Billington writes in The Guardian.  "What is most impressive is the commitment of the entire company and its rare passion for language."

In short LSW seeks to make language sing.

The JUST DO IT initiative simply aims to enhance this theme and a take forward past work/applications.

Celebrating Tim Williams

As I (Bruce Wall, LSW's Executive Director and [aside Dame Dorothy Tutin] Co-Founder) write this, I continue to hear Tim chortle in laughter as I insist to all and sundry that they must simply 'Do It'.  Occasionally Tim would good heartedly mock me by leaning over from behind the keyboard, bulging his eyes out and mouthing: 'Just Do It'.  Always the lads or ladies present laughed.  The point was made.  The art of 'doing' - the 'pro-action' - remained the one consistent.  It alone might become sustainable.  We were, after all, active verbs.  (Weren't we?)  At LSW the very act of 'doing' is source to any and all 'Brownie Points'.

Tim, himself, was a great exemplar of present indicatives.  He was a master of the art of 'just doing it'.  Tim's artistry was by way of the keyboard and the attendant electronic gadgetry he continuously delighted in.  A quiet man, the keyboard gave Tim his voice.  He rejoiced in responding to the continual provocation of both (a) classical/lyrical texts and (b) a multitude of original ones inspired by them.  For Tim those words sourced renewal.  'Music just flowed out of him,' Project Advisor, Julian Littman remembers. 

Tim found huge joy in encouraging others in finding/sharing the reality of their newfound/reborn confidence.  It is this memory that LSW seeks to honour through the Tim Williams Award Scheme. 

Outside of Tim's noted history within the musical/theatrical/media industries, he was responsible for all LSW scores/underscoring from 2003 onwards.  These included but were not limited to the original/revived productions of Alba, Animated Macbeth, Shakespeare and Sinatra, Blacking Iago, Will I Survive, A Homage Behind, Black Atlas and Lifting the Mask for which Tim wrote a magnificent 21 song score.  Small segments of the latter showcasing the verse of Paul Laurence Dunbar by highlighting both (a) the musical motifs of the lyric's time and (b) Tim's own gloriously contemporary sensibility/voice can be sampled here

Additionally Tim was responsible for the scoring of all LSW Films including six half hour documentaries (among which are the award winning How Do You Know My Daughter? and Killing Birds) and seventeen shorts.  Beyond even this, Tim composed literally hundreds of songs with lyrics drawn from LSW Wit-Slings (original verse inspired by a line of Shakespeare developed through LSW's Shakespeare/Drama Workouts/Lyricals). 

Always an effective mentor, Tim was uniquely skilled in working with a vast expanse of talent.  This ranged from young musicians and leading theatrical/musical lights to a vast plethora of young performers and prisoners.  In many ways Tim was the musical father to all.  His last LSW project (March 2008) was mentoring Maimon Pony, a young prisoner at the California Men's Colony (a prison holding 7,000 inmates) who served magnificently as Musical Director on LSW's 'Rounding Shakespeare' project.  Maimon later wrote:

“I doubted my own ability to accomplish what I said I would do, and found myself completely unmotivated to even try.  Had Tim’s music and your encouragement not contested my negativity, I would have had my name blotted from your script.

Your own and his faith in me sparked my interest anew, and began what was to be an unforgettable experience.”
 

The faith that Tim consistently exhibited/encouraged in the face of talent wherever he found it must and will be continued through the TIM WILLIAMS AWARD (TWA) SCHEME

At every JUST DO IT presentation three cash prizes in Tim's name will be presented and a great many more talents encouraged; confidences inspired (see below). 

How will the goals of a JUST DO IT incentive be actioned?

  1. Dramatic lyrics (including those of Shakespeare and other major/established dramatic/cinematic/musical writers/thinkers or that writing from the same not originally intended to be set to music) will be employed/adapted – re-found and re-newed – as (i) the book (or inducement thereof) for (ii) new musical/song writing.

  2. The widest range of musical formats will be encouraged and all revelry will celebrate the joy of the natural voice.  Here, interpretation in performance of the music/lyrics will ensure that the audience is vitally the first and last character in all.

  3. Following the inaugural programme, (which will be employed to establish the 'Just Do It' precedent and the Tim Williams Awards Scheme itself), each following programme - no less than two per year - will feature a theme which will (i) be timely to the current social/political climate (if not entirely universal) and (ii) reference through the programme itself classical/established literature.  As in past LSW 'Shakeathons', we may on or around the date of Shakespeare's christening, 23rd April, (frequently celebrated as his birth) there will be one programme devoted to original song and a theme in some way inspired by the Bard.

  4. In the truest sense the TIM WILLIAMS AWARD SCHEME will be about reaching out, always utilising the audience's response as a pro-active ingredient. 

It is our goal to see the union of Music and words do the dancing.  The instrument of silence will be potent because it will have been earned.

         

What is the LSW Commitment?

LSW’s goal will be to create programmes/documentaries involving new songs inspired by dramatic texts as befits the LSW stated purpose.   

How is this to be Accomplished?

LSW will seek to:

  • Offer an independent programme of 'Lyricals' - dedicated workshops offered free of charge to a wide variety of participants.  These will be based on LSW's internationally celebrated and time honoured 'Shakespeare/Drama Workouts'.  Herein new lyrics stimulated by a wide range of texts from major writers/thinkers (befiting LSW's stated purpose) will be employed and dramatic/musical skills honed;

  • Offer a similar series of complimentary workshops to leading drama schools, amateur musical societies and other major European centres of education and community outreach.  In all LSW will seek to unlock fresh potential;

  • Develop LSW's Young Film-makers Programme, wherein a separate film maker/producer (young in his/her career) will be given responsibility/mentoring/credit for the active oversight of a specific JUST DO IT Programme and the creation of a documentary set around a chosen theme.  This will include (but not be limited to) (i) research, (ii) assistance in publicising and marketing and (iii) overall artistic/administrative co-ordination of the end product documentary.  Effective mentoring will be offered for the Young Film Maker with a range of professional contacts;

  • Reach out to both (i) established young composers, lyrical writers and dramatic talents as well as (ii) hopefully inspiring those who, while possessing the necessary background, may not have previously considered investing in such a confidence base or those who work in a professional remit but have not yet expanded their key creative talents therein. 

    As an example of the latter there are a goodly number of professional Musical Directors who spend copious hours playing/scoring others' music yet often find themselves in a situation where their own dreams of original creation are practically sidelined.  The JUST DO IT incentive will seek to source such personnel out for active creative participation. 

    Additionally there are many dramatic voices whose commitment to their musical self can sometimes be - by simple logistics - derailed.  Here the JUST DO IT initiative will present an opportunity that is (a) realistic within a hectic timeframe and (b) offers an opportunity to learn from the educative ear of an objective audience. 

  • Further celebrate the music inherent in iambic pentameter and other time honoured verse forms;

  • Celebrate the many languages and musical traditions which make up our rich European cultural fabric. (At least one song in each JUST DO IT presentation will be presented in a language other than English.  Moreover, the option is open for a composer to do two settings - at least one being in English - through this endeavour);

  • Offer an effective showcase for young musical/instrumental/dramatic/film making talents to a larger audience inclusive of industry professionals who may be further able to develop/employ their skills.    

Documentation / End Product - WHAT DOES THE JUST DO IT INCENTIVE AIM TO PRODUCE?

It is arguable that film making is the most inclusive of all forms of literacy.

Utilising LSW's storehouse of film equipment, a talented film maker will be sought to make a documentary concerning the development/realisation of each JUST DO IT process, leading to a documentary specifically surrounding/leading the associated theme.  The documentaries will have their premiere in a special screening at the Curzon Soho, which will be entirely free and open to all industry members, family and friends, and additionally include live highlights of a couple of selected songs from the specific programme.  

Rights to any Artistic Work:

The artistic work shall remain the exclusive property of the artists concerned with naught but acknowledgement of LSW's JUST DO IT developmental incentive requested at point of future publication (e.g., recordings, interviews, programmes, etc.)

Presentational format 

   

Each JUST DO IT presentational (theatrical) programme shall employ a cast of no more than twenty singers incorporating a wide expanse of ranges and all songs will be presented in a simple presentational (studio) style.  The filming will in fact be incorporated as part of the theatrical process.  Here, the words and music themselves MUST do the dancing. 

In preparation of each:

The participating team of composers (encompassing a suggested team of between eight and twelve accounting for at least sixteen 'new' songs) will be offered in good time (e.g., three weeks)

  • TWO contrasting pieces of lyrical text of NOT MORE THAN 35 LINES each either being

    • (i) an original work as inspired by a noted writer/thinker or

    • (ii) from an established text (as previously defined) or a segment thereof not originally intended for composition. 

  • Each will additionally be offered

    • (i) a suggested dramatic scenario (such as will shared with the audience at time of presentation);

    • (ii) the possible potential for a dramatic lead in (of not more than three lines) which may or may not be employed and

    • (iii) at least one guideline (e.g., style/motif), each varying to ensure overall programme variety: 

      • (i) a musical style (e.g., baroque, jazz, blues, blue grass, folk, show tune, hip-hop, etc.,); and

      • (ii)  possibly a potential format (e.g., ballad, lament, uptempo belt, syncopated, etc.) if it was felt prudent. 

      In ALL instances the above information will be clearly shared with the audience at the time of performance by the host.  (Indeed, all the host will speak will be [i] the title of the piece; [ii] the dramatic scenario presented; [iii] the musical motif given; [iv] the name of the composer; [v] the name of the lyricist; [vi] the name of the originating performer.)  Through the openness of the specifications presented as outlined the uniqueness of each theatrical voices be it compositional or performing (e.g., the inherent diversity of the uniquely instinctive musical ear/sounds) will be given a fair opportunity to be heard.  All suggestions will be open to discussion with the Executive Producer, further ensuring the fostering of effective collaboration and all specifications (items i through iii) as noted above will be fairly distributed in one package to all composing artists at the same time .

    • (iv) the name/contacts/musical ranges of the singer(s) for whom the materials are to be composed.  Part of the JUST DO IT programme's goal is to bring new/fresh talents together (e.g., to proffer effective opportunities for all).

The appointed Performers and Composers/Musical Artists will liaise in arranging ONE rehearsal for the piece(s) in question, (with the assistance from the Executive Producer if required) noting that  

  • There shall be no more than one independent rehearsal after the music has been composed and this shall last no more than 75 minutes in duration;

  • If the Composer wishes to produce a song with an original lyric derived from a classical source him/herself, he/she is entirely free to discuss this with the Executive Producer;

  • If the composer wishes to have additional (live) instruments outside of the piano and electronic enhancement involved in the score he/she will themselves seek to involve such artists;

  • Assistance with a rehearsal facility with an electronic piano will be offered if the composer is not able to rehearse within their own domain in London.

  • Accompanists will be sought for composers not in based in the London/UK region itself;

  • That music for the specific song in question is required to be electronically submitted to the performing artist not less than 24 hours in advance of designated rehearsal and, finally, one copy of the music presented will be given electronically to the Charity for record ONLY prior to performance;

  • In every JUST DO IT showcase the Executive Producer will ensure that AT LEAST ONE of the highlights from the previous presentation is showcased in order to validate the importance of repetition and on-going (sustainable) development.

On the afternoon of the any said JUST DO IT evening presentation itself, composers and artists will come together within an appointed timeframe in jointure with members of LSW's JUST DO IT Advisory Committee in a designated space.  Materials will be reviewed and appropriate feedback offered.  Having had an opportunity to hear all entries the specific running order for the evening presentation will be set.

All performing artists will be required for the half hour call prior to the commencement of the specific JUST DO IT presentation. 

On Introductions & Transitions Between Songs

The appointed host of each 'Just Do It' Incentive/Tim Williams Awards Scheme Event will introduce each song with (as previously specified) ONLY (i) the title of the song itself; the names of (ii) the composer; (iii) lyricist, (iv) original performer(s) and (v) the dramatic scenario and (vi) the musical style as originally presented to the composer.

At the conclusion of each song, the performer(s) will take their calls ASIDE the composer and, where possible, lyricist in an equal line.  They will bow according to LSW tradition, e.g., first in unison to the audience; then (turning to their closest side) in face of the appreciation of their peers; then, (turning again), in appreciation of each other, and, finally, on the final revolve, to the audience again whence they will applaud in mutual approbation and continue doing so whilst returning to their seats.  As the final element is occurring the Host will approach in readiness for the following introduction.  Apart from the first song which will be notified in advance, the artists involved will NOT KNOW their call order until the programme item number itself is spoken by the Host.  On announcement all artists will head to their appropriate positions in the performance area and make ready to begin at the conclusion of the introduction as specified.  In this way it is hoped transitions between the sixteen numbers (i) should appear seamless and (ii) allow for the time utilised in each original composition to be maximized.  In the case where original backing tracks are applied, the composer is requested to rise at the announcement of his/her name in the introduction as well as participating in the call.  Before the final presentation of the awards themselves, all artists will rise and share in joint audience appreciation. 

THE TIM WILLIAMS AWARDS SCHEME (THREE CASH AWARDS TO BE PRESENTED AT EACH PRESENTATION)

    

Each JUST DO IT presentation will culminate in the presentation of three awards given in the name of Tim Williams, with additional items (e.g., in-kind sponsorship) sought in addition (e.g., complimentary photograph sessions, theatre tickets, memberships, dinners, etc.).  Each programme will additionally feature the performance of no less than two songs from the enormous catalogue of Tim Williams' works. 

JDI/TWA PROCESS OF DETERMINATION

Selection of each Tim Williams Award will be made by

  • a small professional guest panel representing a respectful range from within the professional industry;

  • after the inaugural presentation, at least one member of the voting panel will be creative participants who themselves profited from previous Tim Williams Awards programmes.  Moreover, while the votes are being quickly tabulated by a team of independent volunteers at the end of the competitive programme a performance of one or two of the winning items from the previous JDI/TWA programme will be presented in front of the audience.

  • members of the voting panel (i) will not sit as a group but separately in different areas of the performance space to ensure complete coverage and (ii) will embark on no discussion (public or otherwise) as to their determination on the items presented.  Votes for (i) best composition and (ii) best original lyric as inspired by a classical text will be marked on separate pages from (iii) best interpretation of song in order to ensure rapidity of final calculation by different bodies.  Each category will be judged on a scale of one to five where one represents 'below par'; two, 'competent/average'; three, 'good'; four, 'very good'; five, 'outstanding'.

  • Each JDI/TWA event will end with a repetition of the song that has just won 'best composition' and (if different) best interpretation of song with congratulations and thanks being offered to ALL participants.

At every presentation a guest from the voter panel will present a different one of the three awards as applicable with their expertise, making a brief comment on the overall experience at that time.  They themselves will not know the results before they announce the recipient.   

At each and every JUST DO IT presentation a Tim Williams (Cash) Award will be presented for:

  1. Best Musical Compostion (£120);

  2. Best Original Lyric Inspired by an Established Text (£120);

  3. Best Musical/Dramatic Interpretation of Song (£120)

 

Future Potential?

National Tours

LSW will bi-annually seek to tour a revue of songs inspired by the JUST DO IT programme to many small/mid-scale venues and village halls such as currently find themselves at considerable risk and much as Tim Williams himself appeared at in LSW productions.  Such venues have ranged from the Theatre Royal Bath to Yorkshire's Stephen Joseph Theatre; from the Cambridge Arts Theatre to the world's first underground venue in London's West End, Machim's Criterion Theatre. 

As per LSW’s tradition established through the Blacking Iago, Black Atlas, Lifting the Mask tours and in accordance with LSW's commitments to the Arts Council England; the Independent Theatre Council and the National Rural Touring Association, these tours will additionally accompanied by educational programmes (Workouts/Lyricals) offered on a complimentary basis to the venues and their associated outreach programmes.  Where possible each presentation will seek to offer new material in the local UK venue as developed by local young compositional/dramatic/musical talents through the workshops at hand.   

For Further information or to apply to participate in the Tim Williams Award Scheme
please contact the LSW Offices on 0207 793 9755 / 07916149002 or email londonswo@hotmail.com