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Jack Studio Theatre

7 – 23 September 2017

Presented by The AC Group  

the state of things the state of things poster




Book By Thomas Attwood, Music & Lyrics Elliot Clay

Original Story by Thomas Attwood & Elliot Clay


“Welcome to a day inside the town that time forgot…”



Hey Tom and Elliot, what’s the story

The State Of Things is about a high school band who find out the school is being forced to cut its music course. The show follows their fight to save it and learning to live and love in austerity Britain.  


Is this a story about millennials?  

The show is about teenagers growing up in the modern world. It often seems that young people feel the effects of decisions made by our government most harshly, because they’re wrongly perceived to be ‘disinterested’ in politics. But that perception seems to be changing…


Does this come from your own personal experience or observations?

Yes! The show is semi-autobiographical based on our own experiences and encounters with austerity both at school and at home.


What kind of rock music are you bringing?

E: I was influenced by quite a wide selection of styles when writing the music, so the end result is something that crosses many eras. Whether it’s Green Day, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Adele or even Barry White(!) it’s full of surprises.

T: They’re songs you’re more likely to hear on an iTunes playlist than something by Stiles & Drewe.

Trailer here


Who is your audience? 

Well, we hope the show will engage with as wide an audience as possible. Anyone who is or once was a teenager will recognise a lot of the issues we explore.


What are your politics and is this musical fiercely political?

E: I think that theatre at its best is always political, whatever issues it deals with. But at the end of the day our job is to write a story that moves and excites people - not a political manifesto!

T: My own politics has, of course, influenced the writing of the show, so it will be interesting to have a conversation with our audiences and see what discussions it opens up - no matter where you sit on the political spectrum.


What comes first, the music or the lyrics?

E: Ideally both at the same time. But not always. I can’t understand how someone can write a melody and not hear at least some words that go with it!


Could you give an example of how one of the numbers was created?

E: I actually wrote the entirety of one song in about 20 minutes - but I’m not telling you which one!


Which musical theatre guys do you admire and are they role models for your work? 

E: I consider Sondheim to be the ‘Shakespeare’ of musical theatre and am constantly inspired by his pushing of boundaries and attention to detail. However, it’s worrying over in Britain that there are so few young musical theatre writers getting their worked staged - hopefully audiences will come to our show and give new voices a chance!

T: Agreed, that Sondheim is a huge influence. But I’m also hugely inspired by James Lapine who not only writes his own work, but directs it too, which is what I’m doing here.

Finally, what’s the best bit in the musical for each of you?

Come along and watch and we’ll tell you afterwards…!




book by Thomas Attwood music & lyrics by Elliot Clay original story by Thomas Attwood & Elliot Clay


Thursday 7 to Saturday 23 September 7.45pm




In the run up to their GCSE performance, six teenagers discover the school’s music course is being cut, and their hopes of future studies are dashed. Set against the backdrop of austerity Britain this funny, feisty and heart-breaking new musical follows six unlikely friends as they stick two fingers up at THE STATE OF THINGS. The AC Group return to the Jack following their award-nominated productions of Macbeth & Side By Side By Sondheim.

See this brand new British musical on stage for the very first time!