The Story behind Educational Musicals
In 1997, Anita Dalton (Editorial Director) was directing the pantomime, Dick Whittington, Tim Spencer (Composer) had written the music, and one evening over a drink, Tim suggested that he could turn it into a nativity play.
It was Tim wanted to provide parents with a more enjoyable experience after seeing the same nativity play over and over. The idea began with that of the three wise men entering stage left to a calypso number!
Tony (Chief Executive), then discovered through a brief conversation with a primary school head, the problems schools were facing to find a good nativity play for the Christmas season. Tony, being the salesman he is, asked Tim to write The Star Child, a unique and modern retelling of the events leading up to the birth of Christ, which he then sold to the headteacher. In fact, he sold 35 that year!
Anthony James (Artistic Director) was working in schools teaching children how to make models such as Viking longboats when he wrote a show called The Monster of the Maze. This play was about of Crete and the monster who lived in the maze of passages under his castle. He believed that if children performed a show with music they could relate to, they would remember that story for the rest of their lives.
Anthony asked Tim to write the music for his show and then asked if he knew anyone who could sell it. Yep, you guessed it! Tony got involved, and Educational Musicals was born.
Tony Dalton – Chief Executive
We are still trying to figure out what he does!
You may find out before us, as he is the one who usually answers the phone. We think this shows that he is not as busy as the rest of us!
Anita Dalton – Editorial Director
Her job is getting your orders out within 7 days while running the office, and usually taking your ‘phone call. At the same time she is our Editorial Director who attempts to correct the spelling and grammar of our talented authors and composers!
Originally a folk singer in the late 60s, Anita has acted in amateur theatre productions since 1966, with her most recent role as The Wicked Witch in the pantomime Babes in the Wood in 2019. She had appeared in some 58 productions, including Noises Off, Calendar Girls and various musicals. She has directed 12 productions, including Under Milk Wood and Yes Prime Minister and produced two outdoor extravagances at Kenilworth and Warwick Castles. At the same time has run a young stagers group, She got her training from Eltham Palace in the late 60’s where they ran courses for Producers, as going to drama school then was too expensive!
Along with all this she is also our resident poet for authors who find rhyming difficult!
Anthony James – Artistic Director
“Don’t blame us; it was his idea!” Not only was Educational Musicals born from his idea that autumnal eve as Dick Whittington paraded across the stage, but he is also in charge of the shows we publish, making sure they all meet his special formula. Anthony also creates our unique art packs – and then tests them on us!
He has a Diploma in General Art & Design, certificate in Theatrical and TV Make-up, and a BA Hons in Theatre Studies from The Central School of Speech & Drama in London. As well as writing and producing our plays, Anthony has appeared in 50 amateur and professional productions, including The Country Wife, Oliver, Little Shop of Horrors, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He was Press Officer for the ‘String O’ Pearls Revue Company’ touring ‘1939 & All That’ and Vice Chair of Nuneaton Arts Centre between 1993 and 1995.
Anthony’s ‘Creaturama’ concept was a touring exhibition of his alien models and costumes with accompanying workshops which visited over 400 schools across the country. His Creaturama Dinosaur exhibition broke all attendance records at Coventry’s Museum & Art Gallery. The success of ‘Creaturama’ lead to regular appearances of BBC’s Blue Peter.
Anthony has worked for the BBC on a range of shows as a Vision Designer, such as Blue Peter, Noel’s Telly Addicts, Style Challenge and Out of Hours. He has performed in and written several shows including A Grin Without a Cat based on the extraordinary life of the writer, Lewis Carroll.
Tim Spencer – Composer
Tim graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire in 1996. He completed three senior musicals, which have been performed throughout the Midlands. He also completed six junior musicals, in conjunction with Anthony James, which have been performed in over 150 schools throughout the UK and the rest of the world.
He has also completed six pantomime scores which are performed throughout the Midlands every Christmas. His orchestration includes work for Dave Willets (ex Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables), and Mark Rattray (Lanza and The Magic of The Musicals), and has had these performed throughout the UK and the Sydney Opera House.
Tim has also worked for the BBC for their Children’s series, Playdays, as composer/musical director and has musically directed six shows in the West End.
Daniel Dalton – Author
Daniel has a Masters in Politics and International Relations from Warwick University, along with a Certificate in Journalism, and spent several years as a professional cricketer. His love of sport opened up the opportunity to see the world having played cricket in South Africa, the West Indies and the Far East. He got the wanderlust bug and has now visited several South American countries such as Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
His work awakened his interest in Educational Musicals as a qualified ECB cricket coach in primary schools and inner-city areas, which led him to write his first musical, Gettysburg.
He has been involved with theatre since a young age having appeared in many productions. His favourite shows were The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, and Antigone.
Get in touch with Daniel via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel Hewitt – Composer
Daniel Hewitt graduated from London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, where he attained his BA Degree in Drama and Education. He has appeared in countless amateur and professional productions, including Godspell, Romeo and Juliet, and Jesus Christ Superstar. Daniel has worked with county and national youth theatre groups, sung in several choirs in many prestigious venues, including the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and the Royal Festival Hall.
He was a member of the pilot cast for Central’s CENTRed Theatre Company, for their production, Merlin’s Child which toured the borderland castles in the summer of 2000, taking in Rhaglan Castle and Tintern Abbey en route. Daniel also collaborated on the creation of this score.
As a composer, Daniel has written scores for The Wind in the Willows, A Grin Without A Cat (with Anthony James), An Ensemble of Rhythmical Musical Expression, Rite, and Decadent Times to name but a few. He is proud to be associated with Educational Musicals and is thrilled to mark his professional debut with St Nicholas. Daniel currently teaches music and drama in Indonesia.
Get in touch with Daniel via email: Daniel@educationalmusicals.co.uk
Katherine Brookes – Composer – Author
Katherine graduated with a BA Hons from the University College of North Wales, Bangor in 1993, and studies for her PGCE in secondary education at the University of East Anglia. Her teaching career began in 1994 as head of music at Caludoon Castle School in Coventry, becoming Head of Expressive Arts at Hagley Park Sports College, Rugeley in September 2004.
Having been involved with music since her childhood, Katherine was playing the recorder at age 4, won the Cyril Collins Bursary Award for her piano playing at 12, and by 15 was a grade 8 pianist and flautist.
She is a supporter of the National Trust and plays at various venues throughout the country. Her favourites being Dunster Castle in Somerset and Calke Abbey in Derbyshire. As a well-known accompanist for local artists and organisations in Coventry and Warwickshire, she has taken part in many charity concerts. She is principal accompanist for the Atherstone Chorale, while also finding time to be the organist at her local church.
As an accomplished flautist, she has performed at the Swan Theatre in Stratford as well as with several local orchestras. She has also musically directed shows including The Wizard of Oz at the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth.
As well as composing for Educational Musicals, Katherine has written several musical arrangements for various groups and organisations within the Warwickshire area.