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Jack Godfrey (Babies)

Summer is over. Exams are looming. But Year 11 are only talking about one thing: babies. Not real ones... but the plastic simulator dolls they’ve been tasked with looking after for a whole entire week. With a blistering pop-rock score, this new(born) British musical follows nine students as they discover that becoming a parent means changing more than just nappies. Friendships are tested, dreams are questioned, and the true meaning of responsibility rears its terrifying head. Babies is a joy-filled, heart-wrenching comedy about growing out of growing up.

Written by Jack Godfrey and Martha Geelan, Babies has already been on quite the journey. In 2021, Jack and Martha submitted one of the songs that features in Babies called "Hot Dad" to British Youth Music Theatre to be included for the New Music Theatre award, in which it went on to win. As a result, Jack and Martha were commissioned to finish the musical in preparation for a short run at the New Wolsey Theatre. From then, development workshops were held in 2022 and 2023 prior to an appearance at West End Live and an initial release of four tracks from the musical.

Babies will now embark on a three staged concert performances at The Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue on the 10th, 11th and 12th November. We took the opportunity to speak to Jack Godfrey to tell us more about Babies.

Q) How did your journey of writing ‘Babies’ begin?

We started writing the show at the end of 2020, during one of the lockdowns. I sent Martha a spontaneous introductory email and we started talking about the possibility of working on a project together over a number of zoom calls. We found ourselves gravitating towards the idea of writing a show about teenagers and then we heard about the British Youth Music Theatre’s New Music Theatre Award, which was basically a competition to pitch a show for one of their casts of young people to perform. We decided to apply for the award with a brief synopsis and two and a half songs, and then amazingly we won. And that’s where it all started! Q) Can you tell us a little bit more about the story of ‘Babies’?

Babies is a pop rock comedy musical which follows nine year eleven students who get given robot baby simulator dolls to look after for one week as part of a PSHE project at their school. Each of the nine students has a different experience with their baby over the course of the week and chaos ensues. The style of music in the show is rooted in an early 2000s punk rock pop sound, very much inspired by our own teenage years, but there are also more contemporary pop and MT songs in the mix as well. Basically we’ve tried to create a funny, silly world that also takes you on an emotional journey over the course of 90 minutes, with a group of characters who everyone will hopefully be able to see some element of themselves in.

Q) How have you found the process of creating this new musical? What have been your favourite moments of the process so far?

The very earliest version of the show took place in the summer of 2021 at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich with our BYMT cast. We got to work with a group of about 25 young people who were all extremely talented and passionate about the show, and that was definitely a massive highlight in our journey. It was amazing for us to get to work with actors who were the same age as the characters they were portraying, and to see the way they connected with the characters and the story. I think that was the moment we both really felt “wow there’s something in this” and we’ve carried that feeling with us every step of the journey ever since. Q) What challenges do you think come with writing a new musical?

Babies has a totally original storyline and a collection of characters who all go on their own different journeys over the course of the show, and so the biggest challenge for us was probably first of all figuring out each character’s trajectory and then figuring out how to weave all those storylines together over the course of the show. Babies is very much an ensemble piece and so finding the balance of all those elements, so that we don’t spend too much or too little time with any particular character, has definitely been a big challenge. But we are both massive perfectionists when it comes to writing so it’s been a challenge that we’ve fully embraced and enjoyed! Q) How do you think this musical will resonate with audiences?

We hope that everyone will feel connected to at least one of the characters and their experiences in the show. The most important part of Babies for us has always been the characters, and we can’t wait to share all of them with our audiences. Q) Why do you think theatre fans should come and see ‘Babies’ – what can we expect?

Some absolute bangers, some very silly comedy and a moving story about friendship, family and figuring out who you are! We just want audiences to lose themselves in this little world that we’ve created and fall in love with these nine teenage parents and their fake robot babies as much as we have while writing the show.

For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


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