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Inspired by… Classics student transforms the Ancient World into modern day musical

Posted on 02/04/2014

Classics student Stephanie Fitchett

With a passion for music and a natural affinity with the Ancient World, Classics student Stephanie Fitchett seems to have found the perfect way of combining both her loves – by writing her own show Odyssey the Musical.

The rock opera, which has already had a successful run in Canada, opens in Maidenhead tonight (Wednesday 2 April) and tells the story of Greek hero Odysseus as he embarks on a 10 year journey home after the Trojan War.

We caught up with Stephanie, known by the stage name Khamsina, to find out what inspires her, how she juggles her studies with writing and performing, and what she’s planning next…

What was your inspiration for Odyssey the Musical?

I always loved The Odyssey and since I started writing music I thought that I would turn it into a musical one day, including writing this ambition in my personal statement for university! The summer of 2012 was extremely wet and produced the perfect conditions to spend time in the studio turning my ambition into reality.

What do you enjoy most about studying Classics at Royal Holloway?

It’s the people teaching and studying Classics which brings the subject to life, and Royal Holloway has more than its fair share of people who get as excited about the Ancient World as I do! Each discussion, whether with lecturers or fellow students, expands in unexpected directions as they each have their own angles on the topics.

How do you juggle your studies with writing and performing?

As always with balancing multiple activities, one will have to take a back seat in preference to the other. I have honestly found it hard to juggle both, but I also think that overall I have been successful in ensuring that neither suffers detrimentally. One advantage I do have is that one leads to inspiration for the other and therefore both are constantly in the forefront of my thinking.

What have you found most challenging and rewarding about the project? 

The biggest challenge about putting on a new musical, funded completely independently, is getting interest from either the industry or the public in what you’re doing. But it has been hugely rewarding to work through those challenges, to have built up a cast and a show from scratch, and be about to put it on for a second run. It was previously performed in Toronto, Canada, where it was extremely well received and there was huge enthusiasm, with standing ovations for all three sell out performances. The dedication from the current cast, who are all volunteers, makes the hard work required for this project easier and more fun.

What are your plans for the future?

To keep writing. I aim to make music a full time career and I have plans to go into composing for the theatre. I also have a number of personal projects I want to explore and I'm currently working on a musical /spoken word /contemporary dance show based on the story of Persephone, which will be called Kore.

Odyssey the Musical is on at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, in Maidenhead, from Wednesday 2 April until Saturday 5 April. For more information, click here.   



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