Category Archives: Sheffield Crucible

A look back at 2014..

I’ve been lucky to have been involved with some brilliant projects this year, many of which have been included in a number of the “Best of 2014” lists that are inevitably played out every run up to Christmas. Here are some of my favourites-

The Cripple of Inishmaan transferred to Broadway in April – directed by Michael Grandage & staring Daniel Radcliffe, it gained six Tony nominations (including one for me for best Sound Design). It featured in a number of “Best of..” lists including Ben Brantley from the New York Times and Time Magazine’s “Top Plays and Musicals 2014”.

Kes, my first full length ballet, opened at the Sheffield Crucible in February, choreographed by Jonathan Watkins. It got some fantastic reviews and responses from the Sheffield audience, and featured in The Guardian’s top 10. Keep an eye/ear out for its return…

Greanpeace’s Lego Campaign against Shell attracted a lot of attention (attaining nearly 7 million views on Youtube at time of writing) and was so successful that Lego subsequently ended it’s £70m contract with the oil giant. I re-arranged the song “Everything is Awesome” for the film along with vocalist Sophie Blackburn. The film was even parodied by a Danish TV show

Fathers and Sons directed by the brilliant Lyndsey Turner at the Donmar Warehouse also appeared in Michael Billington’s top theatre of 2014..

If that wasn’t enough, it was the year that McCullin won Best Feature Film Score at the Music + Sound Awards in Cannes (and “Biafra” was performed from Daniel Hope’s album Spheres.. also finding itself onto Classic FM’s Chillout album); its sequel Attacking The Devil won Sheffield Documentary festival; A Streetcar Named Desire was broadcast across the world for NT Live from the Young Vic; Hamlet was filmed for cinema release at the Royal Exchange Theatre; the animated promo for Stand Up To Cancer was broadcast simultaneously across all UK television channels; and nearly thirty films for Tesco’s Christmas TV advertising campaign were arranged and recorded in Abbey Road with a brass band. Not to mention The Merchant of Venice transferring to the Almeida in London from the RSC; East is East opening in the West End; The Last Days of Troy written by poet Simon Armitage at the Royal Exchange; and a whole host of other brilliant collaborations that are due out next year.

Here’s to an equally as exciting 2015!

1984 a new ballet choreographed by Jonathan Watkins for Northern Ballet

Very pleased to be collaborating again with director / choreographer Jonathan Watkins (after the success of Kes earlier in the year) on a new ballet based on George Orwell’s 1984. Staged by Northern Ballet, with a live 30 piece orchestra, the piece will open in Autumn 2015.

I’ll be putting up more information closer to the time. For more information about Northern Ballet, visit their website here.


KES opens at Sheffield Crucible

Very happy that Kes has officially opened at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre to a brilliant response. A dance theatre adaptation directed and choreographed by Jonathan Watkins based on Barry Hines’ celebrated novel A Kestral For A Knave, I wrote and produced the hour and a half score.

The reviews have already been coming in –

“Alex Baranowski’s impressive score marries rippling, Nyman-esque piano figures with a keening, locally sourced flugelhorn…” (The Guardian) ****

“This unique production hits every note near-perfectly, bringing together an insistent and compelling new musical score, ravishing movement, puppetry and top notch performances to create a really special and fast-moving experience – even for those who turned up expecting a more traditional telling of this classic tale.” (Independent) ****

“The movements of the characters echo the freedom-constraint dichotomy of the environment.. the long-arcing strings and pizzicato percussive sounds of composer Alex Baranowski’s score play with the same elongation-punch counterpoint” (Observer) ****

“Makes your heart soar” (The Telegraph) ****

I’ll be putting some musical snippets up of the music very shortly, and I’m planning to release some of the music in the future. Feel free to join my mailing list here to be notified of its release and to receive the odd free music track.

Chester Hayes in Kes

The Last Days of Troy by Simon Armitage

Thrilled to be working again with Nick Bagnall composing for The Last Days of Troy, written by poet and novelist Simon Armitage – opening at the Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre on 8th May 2014 and transferring to The Globe in London June 2014. The cast includes Lily Cole as Helen of Troy.

I last collaborated with Nick Bagnall on the epic Henry VI trilogy last year at The Globe; and Betrayal at the Sheffield Crucible with John Simm.

For more information about the production visit the RET’s website here


“Kes” dance theatre piece at Sheffield Crucible

I’m presently deep into writing and rehearsals for Kes which is premiering at the Sheffield Crucible from 27th March to 5th April 2014. A mixture of dance, puppetry, physical theatre and of course music (an hour and a half of it), the production is directed and choreographed by Jonathan Watkins (who I previously collaborated with at the Royal Opera House for Ballet Black).

A re-imagining of Barry Hines’ celebrated book A Kestrel for a Knave the production tells the story of Billy Casper, a boy shaped by the contrasting worlds of an industrial working class Barnsley.. and the natural landscape around him.

For more information and to buy tickets, visit the Sheffield Crucible’s website here.

Once the show is opened, I’ll be putting a selection of the soundtrack up here on my website and to download from iTunes. To keep up to date with the release and the odd music freebie, feel free to join my email list here (it won’t be passed on to anyone, ever).

KES Picture

World Premiere of “Kes” dance theatre adaption by Jonathan Watkins

Excited to announce I’m writing the original music for a very special dance theatre adaptation of Kes directed and choreographed by Jonathan Watkins opening at the Sheffield Crucible in March 2014.

Based on Barry Hines’ celebrated book “A Kestrel For A Knave” the production is being designed by Ben Stones and will feature eight professional and 20 young local dancers to combine dance, physical theatre and puppetry in this world premiere production.

I previously collaborated with Jonathan for “Together Alone” with Ballet Black at the Royal Opera House and for short film “Sofa” commissioned by Channel 4.

For more information and to buy tickets (twelve performances only!) head to the Sheffield Theatre’s website here.



Betrayal with John Simm at the Crucible

I’ve just started work on music and sound for Harold Pinter’s Betrayal showing at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre from 18th May 2012. Directed by Nick Bagnall it stars John Simm as Jerry and Colin Tierney as Robert. Very pleased to be back at the theatre so soon after the success of Othello late last year (with The Wire stars Dominik West and Clarke Peters in the title roles).