Work In Progress Theatre was founded in 2020 by a then 17-year-old Erica Hartley when she began writing new musical Where The Bees Fly. In early 2021 the company produced their first production; a digital cabaret titled What Theatre Means made up of songs performed by company members in their own homes. This was a huge success and included the first public premiere of material from Where The Bees Fly. Following the success of this, the company grew and found its feet, and things began to fall into place behind the scenes. Joshua Clayton joined the team in Spring 2021 as Producer and Music Supervisor, and the company continued to gain a following and take shape over the following months.
The team collaborated with other creatives and cast from around the world to produce a new virtual cabaret under the title of 'Underrated!', released in July 2021, and the development of Where The Bees Fly continued through to the end of the Summer. In September 2021 the company embarked on an exciting 4-month long development period, workshopping the show with a cast and rewriting the show as necessary, which drew to a close in December 2021.
Early 2022 saw the creative team for the company expand, growing to a team of 5, and the company gained many more professional contacts. A showcase cabaret performance of original works from the shows in development was created, titled Work In Progress: In Progress, performing twice to a packed out audience at The Theatre Cafe on London’s West End in April 2022, with several smaller performances in the lead up to this. During this period writing also started on our second production, Dinner With Gatsby, excerpts of which were premiered as part of In Progress. The company has also gained the support of youth arts charity RicNic as part of their new Commissions scheme, with performances of original material taking place in Oxford in March 2022. Where The Bees Fly premiered in June 2023 in co-production with RicNic, featuring a company of emerging Walsall-based performers, band, and crew, accompanied by a variety of community days and schools engagement work.
The Work In Progress Team are now working on the next steps towards producing Where The Bees Fly and Dinner With Gatsby for audiences, developing plans for the future of the company, and raising the funds to enable us to stage our productions in full. We can't wait until we are able to share what we're working on with the public, and hope that you'll support us in our mission to create theatre with a message!
Our mission is:
To create theatre which interests and challenges our audiences through the communication of important messages relating to world issues.
To provide opportunities for young creatives to break into the industry and be a stepping stone in their transition from training to professional careers.
To bring theatre to members of communities who don’t otherwise have access to the arts, and inspire the next generation of creatives.
To create theatre in the most ethical, moral, and environmentally friendly way that we can.
Our vision is to create positive change, to inspire the next generation, and to leave the world better than we found it.
More information on who we are, what we stand for, our development plans for the company, and how to work with us can be found below: