BRINGING IT BACK TO THE NEW...
Founded in 2019 by theatre director and actor Brendan Matthew and actress Laura Hyde, CR8TRACT is a new theatre company based in the artistically gentrifying area of Peckham, South East London. The idea for the company began when Brendan Matthew was training at the world renowned dance academy Doreen Bird College of Dance and Theatre Performance. Brendan was in his graduating year and had created a new devising company called 8TRACT and they had their first productions of 'Counted Sheep', a devised piece inspired by 'The Scream' by Edvard Munch and a new interpretation of William Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' called 'Drunk Wherein Sleeping', which focused on the inner turmoil of Lady Macbeth.
Over twelve years later and the company is back! This time with an ethos to revive or bring to life musicals and plays that challenge society or social conceptions, or that delve into history and the darker side of it all.
MEET THE TEAM
BRENDAN MATTHEW - Artistic Director
Brendan is an actor, theatre director and choreographer. He trained at the Royal Academy of Music on the musical theatre course, at the Doreen Bird College of Dance and Theatre Performance and at the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology.
As an actor and singer, Brendan came into the public knowledge as a member of the International Singing Group GREGORIAN and has toured all over the world with artists such as Sarah Brightman, Narcis Iustin Ianău, Fernando Varela and Amelia Brightman. He has worked with such stars as Bette Midler, Joanna Lumley, Peter O'Toole, Paul O'Grady, Johnny Depp, Cilla Black and Elton John, to name a few.
His theatre credits include Gerald in 'The Gentle Hook'; Cosme McMoon in 'Glorious' & Henry Angell in Agatha Christie's 'The Unexpected Guest' (Sidmouth Rep Company/ Paul Taylor Mills); 'Thursford Christmas Spectacular'; Carabosse in 'Sleeping Booty' (Bridge House Theatre); Albus Dumbledore in 'Voldemort and The Teenage Hogwarts Musical Parody' (UK Tour); the title role of Guy in 'Guy the Musical' (UK Tour); Marvin Shellhammer in 'Miracle on 34th Street' (No. 1 UK Tour for Paul Taylor Mills); Dr Von Whackoff in the 20th Anniversary production of 'Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens' (Just the Tonic); The King in Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Cinderella' directed by West End actress Alexandra Young; Tom Stoppard's 'Jumpers' (Tabard Theatre); Gareth in Howard Goodall's 'Girlfriends' (Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre); Man 1 in 'Songs for a New World' (Battersea Barge); The Tailor in 'Merrie England' and Herbie in the European premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Me and Juliet' (Finborough Theatre); Ensemble in 'The Boy Friend' and the Olivier Award Winning Opera 'La Boheme' (West End); Edmund in 'High Society' and 'The Diary of Anne Frank' (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); Ensemble in 'Fast Forward 3' (National Theatre); 'A Bushel and a Peck' (Jermyn Street Theatre); Greek Mother in Law in 'BA Bride' (Ectetera Theatre) and Dylan in '1916 the Musical' (Workshops and West End Live).
TV and Film credits include 'Paul O'Grady LIVE Christmas Special (ITV); 'Elton John at the Royal Albert Hall'; 'Any Dream Will Do' (BBC); Tim Burton's 'Sleepy Hollow' (Paramount Pictures); 'Coming Home' (LTW) and 'The BRIT Award 2003' (ITV).
Directing Credits include co-directing 'Sleeping Booty' & 'Dick Whittington' (The Bridge House); 'Around the World in 80 Days' and 'The Hired Man' (Union Theatre); 'Gangbang' (The Vaults); the Off West End Award nominated 'My Land's Shore' (World and Welsh professional premiere); 'Babes in Arms', Howard Goodall's 'The Kissing Dance' - nominated for 7 Off West End Awards including Best Director, 'Face the Music' starring Strictly Champion Joanne Clifton, 'The Apple Tree' and 'Little Me' (All Star Productions); 'Cinderella' (Crypt on the Green); 'Girl on Girl' (Courtyard Theatre) and numerous seasons of 'NewsRevue' (Canal Cafe Theatre) . He was Associate Director on 'Singing in the Rain' (West End); 'Now We are Sixty' by Giles Brandreth and starring Russell Grant (The Kings Head); the first Professional revival of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta 'The Grand Duke' (Finborough Theatre) and 'Slay it with Music' (Greenwich Playhouse and The Space) for A Stage Kindly.
For CR8TRACT Theatre Company, Brendan directed 'Godspell' (Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre); 'Cleopatra' by Lyndon Samuel and Robert Gould at the Actor's Church in Covent Garden and critically acclaimed Christmas "Panto for Grown Ups" 'Peter Pandemic' at the Canal Cafe Theatre.
Choreography credits include 'Mother Goose' (UK Tour); he was assistant and dance captain to Anthony Van Laast and Chris Baldock on 'The Royal Christmas Gala with Sarah Brightman and Gregorian' International Arena Tour; 'Robin Hood and his Merry Mam' for Berwick Kaler and Damien Cruden (York Theatre Royal); 'The Winters Tale' (The Rose Playhouse); 'The Hidden Talents of the Ticket Tearers' (Old Vic Theatre); 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying', the UK premiere of Maury Yeston's 'Phantom' and 'The Musical of Musicals the Musical' (Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre).
CR8TRACT has always been a long term ambition for Brendan and he is excited to be working alongside his partner in crime, Laura Hyde on what he hopes will be a new and brilliant adventure.
Twitter - @brenmatthew
Instagram - @brenmatthew
BEN LEVY - Musical Director and Associate Artistic Director
Ben is an award-winning professional musical director, singing teacher, choral conductor and composer, recently named as the 2022 Off-West End Award Winner for Best Musical Director for Godspell (Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre). His training includes an MA in Musical Direction from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts and BA (Hons) degree in Music from The University of York alongside extensive qualifications in singing. He is a registered Vocal Health First Aider with Vocal Health UK and is currently working toward his PGCert in Vocal Pedagogy with Voice Study Centre and The University of Wales (Trinity St. David).
In theatre, Ben’s musical direction work has seen him work across the UK, Europe and USA, with credits including:
As Musical Supervisor/Director: Evita (City Academy), The Producers (City Academy), Ordinary Days (Off-West End, Cockpit Theatre, winner of OffCom Award), The White Handkerchief (Derry Guildhall, BBC Northern Ireland, BroadwayOnDemand), Godspell (Off-West End Revival, winner of 2022 Offie Award for Best Musical Director), The Music Of James Bond (National Tour, Germany), West End Misfits (The Other Palace, London), Peter Pandemic (Canal Café Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (Grimsby Auditorium, Imagine Theatre), Sleeping Beauty - Associate Musical Director (Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Imagine Theatre), Edges (The Playhouse, Derry), I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! (The Playhouse, Derry), Sweet Charity (Emil Dale Academy), Matilda (International College Of Musical Theatre), Pippin (SLP College), Kiss Me Kate (SLP College), The World Goes Round (Camp Baco, USA), Lizzie And The Dark (Opera Schmopera)
As Assistant Musical Director/Pianist: The Sound Of Music (Cyprus), Brass (Mountview, Bernie Grant Arts Theatre), Crazy For You (Mountview, Pleasance Theatre), My Favorite Year (Mountview), Fiddler On The Roof (Mountview), Death Takes A Holiday (Mountview), The Piper Of Hamelin (National Youth Music Theatre), Threepenny Opera (The University Of York)
As a choral conductor, he directs BBC Children in Need and Interlude Choir, London, having previously enjoyed appointments conducting Military Wives Choir, York, Harmonize Contemporary Choir, Park Grove Children’s Choir, Vocal Point, Easingwold Singers and BBC York in Harmony.
Alongside musical direction, Ben is in very high demand as a singing teacher with extensive experience serving on the faculty at some of the country’s finest performing arts colleges including Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, Laine Theatre Arts, International College of Musical Theatre, Emil Dale Academy, All In Actors, PQA Full-Time Academy (Technical Singing, module lead), Momentum Performing Arts Academy and SLP College, Leeds where he was Director of Music and Head of Singing for SLP Junior Academy. He is Resident Vocal Coach/MD for internationally acclaimed Spirit Young Performers’ Company and Musical Director/Singing Teacher for South London Youth Theatre. Otherwise Ben enjoys occasional engagements as a singer and accompanist, leading choral and vocal workshops and is a registered music examiner for ICMA Contemporary Examinations Board.
LAURA HYDE - Founder, Co-Executive Producer and General Manager
Laura is an actress, singer, dancer and choreographer, originally from Birmingham but has lived and worked in London for over 10 years. She started out as a contemporary dancer joining the Birmingham Youth Dance Company at 16 and then she continued her dance training at The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.
As a dancer she worked for Glyndebourne Festival and touring Opera and Opera De Lille before refocusing on musical theatre and training with Associated Studios. She has worked across various art genres including musicals, Shakespeare and immersive theatre. She has appeared in award winning sketch comedy show NewsRevue three times and recent credits include playing Golda in the UK premiere of Bark! The Musical at the Edinburgh Festival and pantomime Robin Hood for LP Creatives at The Ropetackle Arts Center, she will be returning to LP Creatives this Christmas at The Leatherhead Theatre.
She has worked with Brendan as Associate Choreographer on various productions including The Grand Duke at The Finborough Theatre. She is very excited to be working alongside him to bring CR8TRACT Theatre to life!
Twitter - @LauraRuthieHyde
Website - www.laurahyde.co.uk
Instagram - @lauraruthiehyde
LAUREL DOUGALL - Founding Co-Executive Producer
Laurel Dougall is originally from New York, New York but has lived in London for 13 years and has dual citizenship. Laurel's love of performing began at an early age when she performed in the ensemble of Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat as a young girl. Soon she was taking singing lessons, and she studied Voice and Musical Theatre at the Grammy recognised specialist secondary school The Hamiliton Academy of Music in Los Angeles.
After graduating from Hamilton Musical Theatre Academy, Laurel studied Ballroom Dance and Human Development at University and eventually returned to New York. While living in New York City, Laurel worked as an early childhood music educator and performed and recorded an album with a group called Ephraim's Harp, led by Lisa Despain (on top of periodic gigs as a wedding singer etc.).
In September 2013, Laurel finally bit the bullet and enrolled in a 1 year professional training course in London to kickstart her Musical Theatre career. Whilst training, Laurel was was one of two people selected out of 45 to compete in the prestigious Stephen Sondheim Student Performer of the Year 2014 Competition, and was also specially selected to sing in Master Classes with Hannah Waddingham and Stiles & Drewe.
In Laurel's first year out of training, she created three unique roles for three UK Premieres of three musicals Off West End. Laurel played pathos-filled Claire in See Rock City, and then went from playing strong-willed Hungarian circus owner Madami Manzini (who does "One Extroadinary Thing" by sacrificing her life for the freedom of others in The Grand Tour) to playing the highly comedic ("astonishingly, grotesquely funny") role of Myrtle Meshbesher, the eccentric wife of a NY Police Commissioner in Irving Berlin's musical Face the Music.
In Laurel's second year out in the industry, she combined a bit of pathos with farce to portray Northerner Dorothy Hardcastle in The Kissing Dance, Next she played the lovely role of Mrs. Darling as well as striking Tiger Lilly in Stile's and Drewe's Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure. Laurel also won heat one of the Phoenix Artist Club's Talent 2016 Search for a New Musical Theatre Star Competition singing "Your Daddy's Son" from Ragtime and gained amazing praise in the Grand Final later that year. Laurel most recently played uppity Mrs. Wade in Leonard Bernstein's Wonderful Town, where she also enjoyed doing some fun dance choreography.
In the Spring of 2017, Laurel was given the great opportunity of playing the lead role of Lizzie Curry in 110 in the Shade, the musical adaption of N. Richard Nash's 1954 play The Rainmaker. It was a huge undertaking to learn the 11 stunning songs Lizzie sings in the show, as well as the rich text which accompanies the music, and Laurel loved every minute of it!
In addition to performing on stage, Laurel has filmed a Nestle advert and a business ident, and she is working with a music management company to produce some of her own original music.
In her spare time, Laurel loves hanging out with her family, teaches early childhood music, plays the the piano, flute and basic guitar, and competes in triathlons. She also occasionally conducts choirs, is fluent in Spanish, and is CRB checked
Production Manager - Jack Jury
Consultant Producers -
Daniel Mawson, Leoe & Hyde
Claire & Alasdair Evans
Andrew Yon & Aaron Clingham of All Star Productions
Thank you for your support!