Dundee Rep Theatre is delighted to announce that recent transatlantic collaboration piece, Hi, My Name is Ben has been selected for the Annual Festival of New Musicals following its successful premiere in the US this Spring.

The show’s creators, Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie from Noisemaker are the first Scottish writers to have been selected for this prestigious festival, now in its 31st year. The National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals attracts theatre producers and makers from around the world for this industry-only event to discover eight new musicals presented in 45-minute concert presentations over two days taking place in October this year.

Hi, My Name is Ben is the captivating story of a New York man who has an extraordinary impact on the people around him – despite not being able to speak. The idea for the musical became a reality for Scott and Claire during a two-week residency, when the duo became the first Scottish writing team to be selected for the Johnny Mercer Writers Colony at Goodspeed, an organisation dedicated to the preservation, development and advancement of musical theatre. The show began life at the Johnny Mercer Foundation Writers Colony at Goodspeed Musicals in 2017.

Since then, the development of Hi, My Name is Ben has been a transatlantic collaboration with support from Goodspeed, Dundee Rep Theatre, Creative Scotland, Scottish Ensemble and the National Theatre of Scotland. In 2018, a developmental workshop took place in NYC, followed by a concert performance of the show at Dundee Rep in collaboration with the Scottish Ensemble string orchestra. In May 2019, the first developmental production was produced and presented by Goodspeed Musicals at the Norma Terris Theatre, Chester, directed by Dundee Rep Artistic Director, Andrew Panton.

Scott Gilmour and Claire McKenzie, co-founders of Noisemaker, said:

“We‘re thrilled that Hi, My Name is Ben has been selected for NAMT this year. Having our work showcased on such a global platform is an honour for us both, and we’re proud to be the first Scottish writers to be given that opportunity. It’s particularly special to be presenting BEN at the Festival, as this will be the first time his story is told in New York, where it all originally took place. We’re excited for this next step, following its development at Dundee Rep and recent premiere at Goodspeed Musicals.”

The award-winning duo founded Noisemaker, and have worked with Dundee Rep on a variety of exciting projects over the years including The Snow Queen and the TMA and CATS award-winning, Little Red and the Wolf. The collaboration continues later this year on the World Premiere musical, Oor Wullie, set to open at Dundee Rep in November this year, before embarking on a national tour in 2020.

Andrew Panton, Artistic Director of Dundee Rep, said:

"It’s fantastic news that Ben has been selected for the NAMT Festival of New Work, the most important international showcase for new musical theatre writing. It’s a privilege to have been involved in the development of the show and we look forward to continuing to be a part of Ben’s story which has already touched so many people."