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Iris Theatre announces new season of new musical theatre

Season preview

IRIS Theatre has announced a new season of new musical theatre and submissions are open for Xmas Factor 2018.

As well as Xmas Factor returning for its sixth year, Iris Theatre’s Workin Process programme will present three new full-length musicals.

Iris Theatre’s Workin Process programme, now in its fourth year, developed out of the need for a platform for new musical theatre writers to showcase their work. Annually, the programme supports up to eight new musicals showcased in a central London location at The Actors’ Church in Covent Garden.

This autumn, Workin Process will see three new musicals presented in their full form at the iconic London location and the return of annual new writing showcase, Xmas Factor, for its sixth year after last year’s sell out Xmas Factor: All Stars which saw the company produce a 100% crowdfunded album of new musical theatre songs.

The 2018 autumn season includes Haymarket by Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld, Atmosphere by Miranda Walker and Michael Childs, The Lightning Road by Flora Leo, and Anna Karenina by Maria Shepard.

Haymarket, which was first produced in Chicago this year, is the true story of Chicago’s infamous Haymarket riots in 1886, a story of protesting anarchists for fair working rights that resulted in a corrupt trial and the death of five innocent men. Set against a backdrop of bluegrass and Americana folk music, the show is told by a cast of twelve actor musicians. Written by Alex Higgin-Houser and David Kornfeld and directed by Sally Beck Wippman, Haymarket will come to the Actors’ Church for two performances on September 18 and 19.

Atmosphere, written by Miranda Walker and Michael Childs, follows Zoneo – a ruthless weather controller whose extreme weather orders have wreaked havoc in the world. As a zealous young intake of outcasts fight for a new world order they must choose between life and liberation. It will showcase for one night on September 21.

The Lightning Road, written by Flora Leo, follows the lives of Cole and Emmy from their first encounter as teenagers in Wisconsin, to the battlefields of war-torn Europe. This is a story of camaraderie, courage and faith. The journey of a boy who became a priest and then a soldier, and the girl who gave him something to believe in. It will showcase for one night only, October 26.

New musical adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s famous Russian book Anna Karenina was first performed in a sell-out run at Oxford University. Now, it’s first time performed in London, this story of aristocracy, class, passion and affairs set in the opulent world of 19th century Russia will take audiences to another world. With music written by Maria Shepard and a book by James Tibbles, Suzy Cripps and Maria Shepard, this musical brings some of the best of what Oxford has to offer to London on November 24.

Back for it’s sixth year, Xmas Factor has been a staple in many musical theatre fan’s calendar for a rollicking night of the best new Xmas songs from the hottest new writers of the festive season. Submissions are now open for the competition at and finalist’s songs are performed in a special one-off concert at The Actors’ Church (November 30) where the audience gets to vote for the winner.

Following last years special All Stars event, the competition is going back to its core and inviting hot new writers to submit new Christmas inspired songs for the event. Last years finalists also had songs professionally produced in a crowd-funded album of winning songs, which is available to stream on Spotify and Apple Music.