Megan Shorey will never write a musical. Or so she tells me. But before I can wonder if I’m having a coffee with the wrong gal, she clarifies: “At Joymas Creative we write Music Theatre. Theatre with music, for theatre lovers; for people that enjoy a mental challenge, an emotional challenge; where the songs continue to drive the narrative.” So, if you’re looking for sequins and a kick-line, you’d better head elsewhere. Or stay – and enjoy something new.
Joymas Creative is a Brisbane-based, independent music theatre company that produces its own work, and has done so since 2009. It is headlined by the extraordinarily talented Megan Shorey – writer, director, producer, songstress, wife and mum.
I met Megan for the first time last week to chat about the launch of Joymas’ 2013 season. We covered kids’ illnesses, ballet school madness, starting prep and our mutual disdain for babies that don’t sleep, and then I remembered I had to do an interview. Not only is Megan one of the most delightfully articulate, clever and engaging women I’ve met, she’s also got her finger firmly on the pulse – and a good thing too – for 2013 will see Joymas embrace the often elusive, yet always intrusive Generation Y.
2013 will see Joymas embrace the often elusive, yet always intrusive Generation Y.
The 25 Project, directed by Cienda McNamara, is a piece that allows participants to upload their story in 25 words or less and have it inspire the creation of a larger, cross-genre work. ‘Tell us your story, we’re listening,” is the catch-cry and driving force of the piece that Joymas will premiere in Brisbane and hopefully recreate in fractured communities throughout Queensland, giving a voice to youth in those places.
In conjunction with The 25 Project, Joymas is releasing an app (Gen Y-ers are you feeling the love?) so that participants may have everything Joymas at their fingertips. It will, as Megan says, provide “an ongoing portal for contributors and creatives, allowing their voices, their stories to have a home both individually and collectively as a creative community.”
Joymas’ Artistic Director speaks earnestly about how she wants to embrace the now-ness of Gen Y. “It’s new for the brand Joymas to be delving into that generation but I think it’s important. I think it’s very, very important to reach them in ways that make sense to them and in ways that do reach them. I mean, they may be inspired to make a contribution at 3am after they’ve had a few beers. They don’t have to come to an audition at 5pm with their sheet music in the right key. I want to invest in the future of the genre.”
I want to invest in the future of the genre.
Also on the 2013 Joymas season calendar is an August concert of songs from past works, including further developments and new arrangements of the songs from One in Seven, Handle with Care as well as various stand-alone songs. Some of these works will also become available for purchase as sheet music – excellent news for artists who’ve been keen to add Megan’s compositions to their repertoire.
But the major work for 2013 is Spark which is, in Megan’s words, “the project that has been going for years and years and years. The demo was recorded 5 years ago. This is a big baby of mine.”
Spark asks the question “What if?” What if you could go back, back to a past time? What if you had a direct connection to one of the world’s greatest thinkers? What would you do with it? How would it change you? Also directed by Cienda McNamara, Spark will undergo two creative developments throughout the year and a theatrical imagining towards the end of 2013. Once again it is all original work. Megan is nothing if not passionate about the creation of original work.
In the past Joymas Creative has produced cabaret buy-ins, encouraging other artists to create and to have the courage to show their own work. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Ms. Shorey, beyond the music and the voice, is her desire to be accessible and to give other artists a leg-up into the industry. “ I’m only wherever I am because people have taken a risk, people have believed, people have supported me, people have gone ‘do it!’ People have bought, people have bought in, and it’s imperative to pay it forward, I think.”
We agree. Sensible. And Delightful.
Head to www.joymascreative.com to download their app, subscribe to their newsletter and check out all things Joymas for 2013.
With over 20 years of performance experience to her credit, Megan Shorey has appeared in Cabaret, Musical Theatre, Jazz and Classical engagements throughout Australia and Europe. Performance highlights include the Brisbane Cabaret Festival, Music Cairns, Melbourne Music and Cabaret Festival, Australian International Music Market, Queensland Music Festival, Ballarat Cabaret Festival, Brisbane Festival, Melbourne Fringe Festival, Australian Performing Arts Market, Festival Cairns, 9th Annual Cabaret Showcase and The Noorderzon Festival (Holland).
As writer/composer, Megan has presented works in national musical theatre festivals, written musical theatre scores for short film and been awarded a QNFA (for Best Original Screen Music) as Musical Director and Composer of the award winning short film Blueberry Lane. Her award-winning 2010 contemporary book musical Handle with Care (which showcased at the 2011 New Musicals Australia presentation – National Playwrights Festival) is in redevelopment. Other works include One in Seven, and Undies which performed this year at The Melbourne Cabaret Festival, Ballarat Cabaret Festival and The Judith Wright Centre.
Megan is now in demand as one of Queensland’s leading contemporary and musical theatre voice coaches at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University.