Distillery Takeover Week at Taunton Brewhouse 20 – 25 September

Oscar Killen

This is the second in our series of interviews with visiting artists who are at the Brewhouse as part of the Distillery Takeover week between Mon 20 – Sat 25 September. They are receiving seed funding and organisational support to help develop their ideas, which will be presented as a ‘scratch’ performance to a live audience at the end of the week.

This is an incredibly exciting initiative to encourage and support artists and companies, made possible by funding from the Weston Culture Fund, specifically for a programme of activity to develop and support regional artists under Taunton Brewhouse’s Distillery strand.

We thought it would be great to get to know the artists a bit better, so we have asked them some questions – some serious – some less so.

Next up is Oscar Killen a composer and musician from the South West with a love of musicals. He is working with director Hope Thain and writer Pearl Andrews-Horrigan, a musical adaptation of the fairy tale, TWELVE DANCING PRINCESSES.

So Oscar:

1.How are you feeling about putting on a performance in five days?

It’s exciting but almost daunting! This is my first R&D week and getting to know actors and flesh out original ideas in a long form story is a new challenge for me, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I’m thrilled to finally be given the opportunity to do it.

2. What are the challenges?

Making atmospheric music and understanding how to reflect a characters personality in music. It’s so fun to try and use new sounds and ideas that I wouldn’t normally use in my composition.

3. What do you hope to get out of the experience?

I hope to discover a new facet to the music I create. I grew up performing in theatres but haven’t composed music specifically for this use before. It’s definitely the most ambitious project I’ve undertaken but it’s going to teach me so much.

4. What was your inspiration for the piece?

I’ve been friends with Pearl for years and we met through doing a musical theatre summer school, as soon as she brought up the idea of writing a musical we started discussing sounds to use, textures and musical influences. The story based around feminism and being in a strict overbearing school made me want to be involved the moment she introduced me to the project.

5. What’s the best part for you about working in the theatre?

The people, everyone at the Brewhouse has been so accommodating! I also love that as a group we’re doing something new every day and putting our heads together to solve problems and create new ideas.

6. Artists often have other jobs on the side or to keep them going between work. What sorts of things have you done? Highlights? Worse jobs?

Through the pandemic I worked in an Amazon warehouse on the night shift. Glad to be out of there and working on things that make me happy.

7. And a last one because I’m nosey and love to know what people like– what’s the last book you read or film you watched?

I watched The Lego Batman last week. Delightful.



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