Over the course of six weekly jam-packed online classes, we will follow the journey of the musical from its origins to the international phenomenon it is today. Together we’ll cover a century of theatrical and social history, exploring how musicals work, their impact, and how they came to exist.

From key composers to “game-changing” musicals, this is the perfect chance to learn more about your favourite musicals, discover lots of new ones, and build an appreciation for the ever-changing world of musical theatre. 

With the help of a recommended listening each week (like a show-tune book club), documentary footage, and archive performance watching, you’ll discover a huge range of musicals old and new. This course is aimed at beginners, people who love musicals and want to know more about them. There is no written work or assessment, so just sign up, come along and enjoy!

The course has run at Birmingham Hippodrome since 2018, and has been a sell-out success. With most of the UK’s theatres closed due to covid-19 this year, I am taking the course onto the internet and directly into your homes via zoom (full instructions for how to use zoom will be provided for anyone who needs it).

Classes will run for 6 weeks on Monday evenings from 7-9pm, starting on Monday 11th Jan 2021. There will be an optional introductory ‘how to use zoom’ session for anyone unfamiliar with the software on Sunday 10th Jan.

You must be over 18+ to attend this course.

Feedback from previous students:

“It was an excellent course, full of context and brilliantly presented by an enthusiastic knowledgeable and friendly expert”
“I have had a wonderful time on this course. Every session brought me something new, even when I already knew the musicals discussed”


MON 11 JAN | Week 1: The Origins of Musical Theatre

what makes a musical? what does musical look and sound like? and where does musical theatre come from? this first session will answer these questions and give you a tool-kit to explore the next five weeks of musical theatre history.

MON 18TH |  JAN Week 2: The Musical Play

From Showboat through to Oklahoma! this class will explore the what early musical theatre looked like and the ways that musicals like Oklahoma! And Showboat changed the game forever.

MON 25TH JAN | Week 3: The Golden Era

Picking up where Oklahoma! left off, this session looks at the developments of the famous ‘Golden Era’ of musical theatre in the 1940s, 50s, & 60s, including West Side Story, Gypsy, Hello Dolly! And Fiddler on the Roof.

MON 1ST FEB | Week 4: Rethinking the Musical

Starting with Hair! This week’s class will explore four new directions in musical theatre during the 1970s: the rock musical, dance musicals, the introduction of black voices in musical theatre, and the work of Stephen Sondheim.

MON 8TH FEB | Week 5:  The Global World and the “Mega-Musical”

From Evita to RENT, this session will examine changes in the ways musicals were made in the 80s and 90s, the introduction of spectacle (think flying helicopters and falling chandeliers), and the musical as a business including Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, and The Lion King.

MON 15TH FEB | Week 6: New Directions in Musical Theatre

The final session will explore the legacy of Jonathan Larson’s RENT, and look at new trends, ideas, and voices in contemporary musical theatre including Wicked, The Book of Mormon, and Hamilton.