What has Andy Collyer got to do with Somerset?
Like Richard, I’m actually an import from East Anglia. I moved here (Weston-Super-Mare) in ’82 which means Somerset has been my chosen home for more than half my life. During that time, I have lectured at Weston, Bridgwater, Yeovil, Strode and Exeter Colleges, and Bath Spa University.
When I gave up teaching to become a full-time writer, mates in the biz said, “Come to London – London’s where it all is.” London is a great place – to visit – but where are the rolling hills? Where are The Levels? Where’s Weston Beach? I do shows that go on in London, but I make them at home, in Somerset.
As a professional Musical Director, I worked closely with Bruce James Productions MD’ing, musically arranging, and composing for shows at the Octagon Yeovil, and the Playhouse Weston-Super-Mare (I jointly ran summer schools for a decade at both venues).
In addition to the Playhouse and the Octagon, I have also worked at Strode Theatre, The Brewhouse and The Tacci-Morris in Taunton, the Swan and Quedam in Yeovil, The Princess in Burnham, The Blakehay and the Tropicana in Weston, and the Grove Park Bandstand as a Musical Director and performer.
I’ve been the Musical Director for Yeovil Pantomime Society and The Wayfarers in Taunton. I’ve done several “Aladdins”, my fair share of “Jacks” and enough “Dicks” to last me a lifetime, but this is only my third “Cinders” in two decades of panto.
Working on In Search of Cinderella has been a blast. It’s extremely rare to have new music for a panto (usually it’s a string of pop hits), and writing a new score was fun in itself. And I got to work with mates old and new; always a bonus.
But, above all, it has been wonderful to give something to the Somerset Community that has looked after me for all these years; the Theatres; the Theatre People.