Musical Director

In the role of Musical Director I compose, adapt and perform music for the stage. I know you’ll have three important questions in mind when choosing an MD for your theatre production:

  • Do they understand my creative vision?
  • Can they translate that musically?
  • And can they direct musicians to deliver a powerful and evocative accompaniment?

A showcase of some of my most recent directorial work follows. You’ll get a sense of the scale and type of productions I’ve worked on along with my versatility as a director and intuition as a composer. Hopefully, it will help you answer these questions and do get in touch if you’d like to sound out some ideas.

When writing music for the stage, wherever possible I like to include the company in the creative process to help foster a sense of ownership and engagement.

Jim Hustwit Musical Director
This House – National Theatre, Chichester Festival Theatre & Garrick Theatre

Acoustic Jim & The Wires used to be my performing alter ego and we played pre-show performances in the Lyttleton foyer at the National Theatre. One summer, we were invited to perform on the outdoor stage and the Director of Music, Matthew Scott, came to watch. He needed a band and MD for a show… and the rest is history.

After two sell-out runs in the Cottesloe and Olivier Theatres and an Olivier nomination, This House returned for a five-week run in Chichester and three-month run in the West End’s Garrick Theatre.

Written by James Graham, directed by Jeremy Herrin it’s a suspenseful and at times hilarious drama based on the actual events from 1974 to 1979 when Thatcher came into power. The music (score by Stephen Warbeck) tracks the period with additional offerings from Bowie and the Sex Pistols.

Herr Puntila and His Man Matti – RADA

I was musical director for this play in May and June of 2016. I had the pleasure of working with Director Simona Gonella in creating a very abstract interpretation of Mr Puntilla.

Highlighting the profound difference between the have and the have nots, the music took on British 1970s protest influences from the likes of Billy Bragg and The Sex Pistols.

The final year RADA graduates were an incredibly gifted group and what was important for me was to ensure that they felt a part of the process in the defining the sound for the play.

This play comprises some of the best comedy that Bertolt Brecht wrote for the theatre and contains two of his greatest characters – Puntila and Matti.

Mr Puntila, an aristocratic landowner, has a dual personality. When sober he is a tyrant who cares nothing for the people who work for him and dictates to his daughter, Eva, that she must marry a weak-willed diplomat. However, when inebriated, he will happily hire anyone who needs a job and is determined that Eva should marry the man she loves, his driver Matti.

If I can help with your creative project or you would simply like to discuss your options then please drop me a line.

Merchant of Venice – Almeida Theatre

Shakespeare’s most controversial play, this production was “among the most exciting productions of the last decade” according to The Guardian. This was the original Rupert Gould production for the RSC and had a live band. As Associate Musical Director, my role was to take Adam Cork’s score and record it for playback. Assuming the role of a Record Producer, I assembled a super group of musicians and booked Assault and Battery studios in London to record the score.

Additionally, I worked with the cast on several sung numbers.

Consensual – National Youth Theatre

“Think of Sexual Relationship Education as a war zone and you’re the journalist. Give the facts, show the photos, but don’t get too close unless you want your head blown off.”

Consensual is a new play written by Evan Placey and directed by Pia Furtado. It explores teen sex issues and not least, sexual consent.

It’s a modern play set in the present and as such, we were musically recreating a modern school and youth environment. With theatre friendly influences of Grime and Dubstep, the music had an aggressive and urban feel. There were several sung numbers with lyrics borrowed from modern artists.

When working with such talented youngsters it’s very important to work closely with the company and use their creative input. That way they are an active part of the creative process.