The Choir of Man is the runaway hit of the international music and theatre scene currently at The Arts Theatre in London. We got to speak to one of the creators, Nic Doodson about the show and what theatre excites him and inspires.
Can you tell us about The Choir of Man what drew you to create the piece?
The Choir of Man is a celebration of community and male friendship that just happens to be placed in a pub. I wanted to create a show which was a reflection of my experience of masculinity and male relationships and I wanted to place it in an environment that was at the same time familiar but also ripe for reinvention. A pub seemed perfect. Before creating The Choir of Man I had spent the majority of my 20’s and 30’s travelling the world singing in a band; I had also spent a lot of that time in pubs. They say make art about what you know….and thus The Choir of Man was born.
How did you choose the songs to be used in the show?
A lot of arguing!!! We had certain rules about songs –
1) They had to tell a story in themselves
2) They had to be known to large parts of our target audience
3) They had to be fun
There was a very long list of songs that eventually got whittled down to the ones that are currently in the show.
Is there a message you want people to take away from the show?
Yes there is. We want people to understand that we are better together than we are apart. If anything, Covid has shown us what we miss when we don’t have a community and we can’t see our friends and family. This show celebrates being together, laughing together, crying together…whatever it is, it’s together.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
Honestly, I love being in a position to be able to create a platform for talented actors, creatives and crew to do brilliant work. There is no greater joy than employing someone talented and good and giving them the opportunity and environment to shine.
What production changed your life?
About 25 years ago I saw a very small circus show called Que Cirque at (the now long deceased) Islington Festival. It was the first modern circus show I had ever seen and it was completely mesmerising. Not only because of the circus skills, but also because of the way they interacted and played with the audience. They constantly brought audience members up on stage, but in a really gentle and inclusive way. They created problems for the audience to solve and it was pure genius. At the very end of the show, they put a beer pump into the central pole of the circus tent and started pulling pints. Brilliant, just brilliant. It changed the way I saw theatre and certainly influenced me in a big way when it comes to playing with an audience.
What kind of theatre excites you?
I like big spectacular shows and, coming from a concert background, I am very partial to big production values – so shows like Moulin Rouge (amazing, saw it on Broadway) and SIX are very much up my street. I love the escapism and spectacle that theatre can provide.
Who are your theatrical heroes?
I think I’d go all wobbly if I met Sir Trevor Nunn, Dame Judi Dench or Lin Manuel-Miranda. Heck, I go wobbly when I meet most people in the industry – but of the many people I admire, those three are very much up there.
What’s next for you, any new projects?
I’m creating and directing a show called “Noise Boys” which is a sort of Tap Dogs meets Beatbox hybrid show. The show opens in July 2022 so right now we’re deep into development and getting the final shape of the piece.
Where can people follow your work on Socials?