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Meet our Musical Director

As rehearsals for our latest show are underway, we asked our Musical Director Jamie Payne a few questions about the show, the cast and his musical inspiration.

How many productions have you been involved with for Spa Theatre Company Juniors? 

Since joining the production team in 2018, I've been musical director for 5 shows including The Addams Family, In The Heights, The Little Mermaid, Suessical and now Les Mis! We've spanned a huge range of musical genres across these shows and I think it is a testament to just how talented our company is. 

What has your inspiration been behind the musical direction for Les Miserables? 

With Les Mis being as popular as it is, there are so many versions and performances to reference and learn from. I remember watching the 10th anniversary concert for the first time and feeling every last drop of emotion squeezed from every instrument on the stage. David Charles Abell - who conducted both the 10th and 25th anniversary films - is definitely someone to look up to in this area. If we can achieve the same from our live orchestra during the shows, there won't be a dry eye in the house! Interestingly, other musicians who have inspired me over the years are playing for our show, so the standard couldn't be higher!

What’s your favourite song in this year’s production? 

Without a doubt it would have to be 'A Little Fall of Rain' sang by Eponine and Marius. When I first heard it performed by Michael Ball and Lea Salonga I was blown away by how simple yet emotional that song was. Now I have to keep it together each night and guide our cast members to inflict the same emotion I feel onto our audience. 

If you were a character in Les Miserables who would you be and why? 

Javert! True to his goals, persistent and holds a grudge! Maybe it's the teacher in me but I love the self discipline and high standards he has of himself. Although he's strict, we get to see a real emotional side of him as we pursue his storyline throughout the show. 

How do you think the young cast are coping with the responsibility of delivering so many epic and challenging songs in such a popular musical? 

As well as they always do! They understand the scale and commitment that came with Les Mis, and all of our leads are holding themselves to the highest account. We talk about the versions of the show they've been listening to, who their favourite singers are for each role and what new ideas we get from watching the professionals do it. They all want to put on the best show possible and are rehearsing their socks off. 

What can the audience expect from this year's show? 

For the first time since The Addams Family in 2018, we have a live 14 piece orchestra for this show. It's not scaled down in any way, so we will have a full, very rich live sound which will only add to the atmosphere and emotion demanded by this show. The children won't fully realise the accolades of the professional musicians they have supporting their show, but it will be a brilliant learning experience for them. Bring tissues, because there will be crying involved! 

Of all the Spa Theatre Juniors productions that you’ve musically directed, which has been your favourite?  

I'm going to have to say the one that never made it to the stage: In The Heights. Due to COVID, our rehearsals were cancelled and so was the show, but we had brilliant lead roles in that show and such a difference in musical genres. I would love to get everybody together to do a performance of In The Heights in the future! 



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