fbpx Skip to main content

The Songbird Café – In Development

The Songbird Café is our new show in development, under commission from Brighton Festival with a view to being part of the Festival in 2023.

The Songbird Café will be a family-friendly musical that tours to parks. We think it might be a magical cafe that has portals in booths that transport the audience to other worlds in different parts of the park.

The idea behind The Songbird Café is to explore the crisis in mental health, loneliness, and isolation which our members have said is the most pressing theme they want to explore, this has been exacerbated by the pandemic.

However, The Songbird Café will be a magical, uplifting experience for all the family. We want people to sing and dance together and to have a good night out.

It is being developed by the Creative Team (below) in collaboration with our members from January – June 2022.

There are four different artists who are each leading the development of their art form, in collaboration with Naomi Alexander, BPT’s Artistic Director, who is directing the production.

The writer, Rebecca Manley, lives in Brighton. She is going to be working with a group of people to create the world of The Songbird Café. She will be leading fun workshops to create the world of the show, the stories we tell, and the characters.

The set and costume design is going to be led by Tim Simpson from Plunge Creations, based in Portslade. You might have seen their work on The Masked Singer or around town for the Snowdog Trail. Tim will be working with a group of people to create the set and costume design. Take a look at their website here to get an idea of what might be possible.

The composer and lyricist is Guy Hughes. He is going to be working with a group of people to create the music, songs, and lyrics for The Songbird Café.

The choreographer is Kane Husbands. You might have seen his work with The Pappy Show which they toured to Brighton a couple of years ago. He will be working with a group of people on ideas for dance and movement that could bring energy and life to the show and hopefully get the audience moving too.

Find out more about our Creative Team for The Songbird Café below.

[image credit: Julian Howell, BPT Member]

Cast & Creative

Naomi Alexander


Naomi Alexander is the Founder and Artistic Director of Brighton People’s Theatre. She co-directed our first show, Tighten Our Belts. Previously she has worked at Battersea Arts Centre and Old Vic New Voices.

Luisa Hinchcliff


Luisa Hinchcliff is an Arts Producer, working across theatre & dance, supporting a range of artists working to create bold and ambitious works. Alongside supporting independent artists, she has worked with numerous arts organisations The Place, the Unicorn, Watermill and National Theatres, as well as lecturing at Goldsmiths College and Mountview Academy.

Guy Hughes

Composer and Lyricist

Guy Hughes is a composer, musical director, and actor with previous experience working with the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe, Cheek By Jowl, Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman. His recent musical, The Lost Musical Works of Willy Shakes, was included in the Telegraph’s Top 20 shows to see at the Fringe 2019.

Kane Husbands


Kane Husbands is a theatre director specialising in movement, physical theatre and choreography. He has his own company, The Pappy Show, and is an associate for National Youth Theatre and Squint Theatre. He was part of Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures and 2016/17 Re:Bourne, Overture cohort.

Rebecca Manley

Writer and Lyricist

Rebecca Manley is a playwright of national standing. She has been commissioned by National Youth Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Albany Theatre and was a member of the Royal Court Writers group in 2015. Her productions have been performed at The Lowry, Latitude Festival, Soho Theatre and the Arcola. Rebecca is currently on the Women in Film and Television mentoring scheme and has a TV comedy drama in development with Objective and is a participant on the 2018 BBC TV Drama Writers’ Scheme, partnered with Kudos North.

Tim Simpson

Set and Costume Design

Tim Simpson is the Managing Director of Plunge Creations. They make ambitious sets and installations with a number of high-profile clients including St Pancreas Int. Station, Tiffany & Co., London Fashion Week, Kronenbourg 1664, Lego, Argos, Thorpe Park, Cirque De Soleil, Madame Tussauds, and Pixar. Along with an incredibly talented team of makers and designers, Plunge has a range of technologies and a large workshop space to produce large-scale, ambitious, creative design projects.

Lou Cope


Lou Cope is a Performance Dramaturg with over 15 years of experience in working with artists, organisations, and academic institutions to creatively and collaboratively develop both their processes and productions. Shows Lou has worked on have won: 2 Olivier awards, The Benois Prize for Dance, The Critics Choice Award, UK Theatre Award, Total Theatre Award, Amnesty International Freedom of Speech Award, ACTA Eastern Eye Award, Herald Angel Award & a Lustrum Award. She is also Dramaturg in Residence for South East Dance and works as an Organisational Dramaturg to a number of companies. She is an alumna of the Clore Pulse Leadership course.

More productions