For the last few weeks I’ve been rehearsing a new fringe scale musical back home in Exeter. If you’ve never visited, Exeter is a regional oasis of liberalism. It’s a historic city with a stunning quayside where you can sit back and enjoy the sun and an increasingly thriving nightlife. It’s a city where amazing independent businesses sit side-by-side with the big players on the hughstreet, and it’s thought to be home to the smallest street in the country – Parliament Street. It’s cultural scene is currently undergoing a lot of change as senior leaders of key buildings move onto other things and new paths and partnerships are formed across the city. It feels like an incredible exciting opportunity, and I hope that we seize and run with it.

So as I sit on the train back to London, it’s a bitter sweet feeling to leave behind friends, family and freedom from the hustle and bustle of London life. I went for a run this morning through a forrest of blooming bluebells and while the overcast clouds made the view bleak, it reminded me just how much I love being able to just jump in my trusty golf and drive somewhere without checking city-mapper first for the latest delays or worrying about how packed the 5pm tube will be.

I was lucky to be working in Exeter on this visit. Producing and assistant directing a new musical called Hot Flushes. It’s a musical comedy at times, a drama at others, about a homicidal BHS pensioner who takes matters into her own hands and pays sir Phillip Green a visit. The show has been a real privilege to work on, not least because of its South West based cast and creative team. It’s seriously clever book and lyrics are by Exeter-based writer Lucy Bell, beautiful music by Charlie Coldfield and Tom Johnson, and directed by Anita Parry. LX Design by Lewis Plumb and Sound Design by Duncan Chave. There’s also the acting and vocal talents of Michelle Ridings, Katy Sobey, Charlie Coldfield, and Dave Plimmer. Big thanks to Charlotte and Olya who run Maketank, a spacious new artists haven on Paris Street near to a cute plant shop that also serves coffee. If you fancy coming along to the show, it’s touring to Clevedon, Bristol, Camden, and Exeter. Visit Documental Theatre’s website for ticket details.

Continuing the musical theatre theme of the last couple of weeks, Monday brings around our third recording of All That Scratch, a podcast I run with Charlie Norburn as All That Productions, and The Other Palace. We’ve got some really brilliant new musical theatre writing to share with you again this time, and we’re especially proud of the female representation in the writing teams and the range of subject matter the material covers too. Get yourself to to find out more and subscribe to the podcast or listen to the previous episodes. You can also search for them on iTunes and Spotify.

Of course, there’s also been a lot to do this week towards the Exeter Fringe Festival, a project I’m working on with Elaine Faulkner bringing over 100 performances to the Barnfield Theatre and Exeter Phoenix over 10 days this summer from 26th July. We’ve programmed the festival and are busy putting events on sale and preparing to announce the acts, so keep your eyes peeled for that over the next few weeks.

I can’t wait to get back to the greenery and clean air of the south west, but for now, it’s off on the jubilee line for me and home for a quiet weekend. Though of course, it’s not really. I’ve lined up a School of Rock matinee and Les Mis in the evening (one last time before the original staging closes).

A x