In a remarkable feat that has set University Centre Weston (UCW) buzzing with excitement, a song from the musical The Circle, has been shortlisted for the esteemed Stiles and Drewe Best New Song 2023 prize.
This exceptional recognition not only places UCW on the theatrical map but also highlights the incredible talent and creativity flourishing within its community.
The Circle, is a captivating new musical script by UCW’s own Eloise Hodder together with songwriter Rachel Walker Mason, which earlier this year was performed in workshop form by BA Hons Musical Theatre UCW students in the Berkoff Theatre.
The narrative of The Circle revolves around the lives of five women who have become virtually invisible within the complexity of their roles as mothers, wives, daughters, teachers, and friends.
The characters seek solace and empowerment by joining a songwriting group called The Circle, where they find not only a supportive community but also the courage to reclaim their identities.
With tough competition, the shortlisted song, Drown Without Water, which was written by respected musician Rachel Walker Mason (Grammy voting member and winner of ISSA Best International Female Album 2023), was one of 197 entries, making it to the top 12 finalists. The song is best known for being brought to life by the soulful voice of current UCW student, Poppy Morley.
Eloise Hodder, HE Programme Co-ordinator at UCW and script writer for The Circle, said: “Earning recognition from Stiles and Drewe for the Best New Song 2023 Prize is an unprecedented achievement for this story, but also for the students of UCW, who have played such an important role in bringing the musical to life.
“The song’s shortlisting for the award brings UCW’s name to the forefront of the international musical theatre community. The prestigious accolade, featured alongside only eleven other finalists from a pool of 197 entries, highlights the calibre of creativity nurtured within UCW’s walls.
“The Stiles and Drewe Best New Song 2023 Prize, in particular, carries immense potential for the musical. Beyond providing a platform for emerging talent, the award serves as a launchpad for works of exceptional promise. It symbolises an avenue through which The Circle can evolve, mature, and find its way to a wider audience.”
Songs from The Circle musical are available to listen to on streaming platforms:
Good for a Girl co-written and performed by ELERI and Eädyth.
Let the Women Eat performed by Sharon Rose
Drown Without Water performed by Rachel Walker Mason