Metta Theatre are looking for an exceptional composer to join the writing team of our new musical of Great Expectations (book and lyrics Poppy Burton-Morgan, book and music Shola Adewusi).

You must have an in-depth knowledge and passion for contemporary pop (including R&B and soul), as well as a background in catchy/hooky melody writing for songs. A knowledge of musical theatre form is desirable but not necessary. The book/lyrics are in an early draft form and have been in development since June 2018 - it’s currently being written for a cast of 8 performers, and it’s anticipated that it will be a sung/rapped through musical with minimal spoken dialogue without underscore/beats.

You must be able to commit to composing an hour’s worth of material by w/c May 20th 2019 when we will be workshopping the piece for a week at the National Theatre studio May 20th - May 24th. Ideally there will be a fortnight’s worth of writing days with Poppy, and possibly Shola (who may contribute additional melodies), before December 21st 2018, and a further fortnight’s worth of writing sessions between March and May 2019.

If the collaboration proves successful then after the May workshop you will receive an additional fee to finish writing the score, and the full production will premiere and tour in spring 2019 (minimum 8 weeks, mid to large scale venues). The first production will be produced by Metta Theatre and will be directed by Poppy Burton-Morgan and designed by William Reynolds.

Fees - £2000 seed commission to cover the first 60 minutes of music.

£4000 - remaining fee, subject to acceptance of the work after the NT workshop in May 2019. This is a guaranteed advance against a 2% royalty. Please note that Metta is based in London, and rehearsals will mostly take place here. The full production will mostly likely open at a regional theatre outside London, for which attendance and subs will be paid in line with UK Theatre/Equity Guidelines.

If you're interested in the role please send the following to

  • 200 words OR a 60 second video on why you're the right person/people for this role

  • Your CV (max 2 pages)

  • An example of a song you've written in a contemporary pop idiom (MP3, soundcloud or youtube link)

  • A setting of the first draft lyric "IT IS MY SHAME" (see below) (MP3 recording - need not be a studio quality demo - eg the vocal line can be recorded on a phone)

Please see below for:

  • A brief background to the project & Metta Theatre

  • A synopsis of Act 1

  • The lyrics to "IT IS MY SHAME", the song to be set.

The deadline for applications is 5pm on October 24th. Shortlisted applicants will hear by October 26th whether they will be invited to meet with Writer/Director Poppy Burton-Morgan to discuss collaborating on the project.

We take our commitment to diversity very seriously, and while we are simply after the best candidate for the job, we do actively encourage applications from women, BAME and disabled candidates.


Miss Havisham is done with men. Instead she surrounds herself with dazzling young boys and manipulates them for her own enjoyment. When she takes orphan Pip under her wing he falls hard for her favourite, Estefan, and sets in motion a chain of events that will bring revelations for them all.

Our version of the Charles Dickens novel is transposed to contemporary London - Miss Havisham the vengeful owner of Satisfaction nightclub, and Pip’s adventures in social mobility and romance are played out amongst the bars of Chelsea and the streets of Soho.

Different characters have their own musical/choreographic style - so our protagonist Pip spits a series of spoken word monologues and raps - the energy of hip hop beats fueling his burning desire to better himself and leave their shitty council flat behind. Perhaps he drifts into a more Ed Sheeran place in his ballads. Miss H inhabits a world of soul/R&B - belting out a series of bitter anthems on the hardships of being a single black woman. The haughty Estefan, full of surface glamour, occupies a more glittery pop aesthetic, meanwhile pip’s Aunty Jo matches a simple and authentic character with the musical simplicity of quietly moving guitar led, singer-songwriter style ballads.

The whole thing is pretty faithful to the original story and its themes of social mobility and the British class system. We condense the plot down to follow the eight principal characters: Pip, Estefan [originally Estella], Miss Havisham, Jo Gargery [originally Joe], Jaggers the lawyer, Herb Pocket, Bentley Drummle and Magwitch - many of whom are gender swapped, resulting in a series of multiple mother/son relationships. As well as exploring these relationship dynamics, the controlling idea is that of characters searching for love. But love is hard to find when deep down you feel unloveable, whether because of orphanhood, poverty or the tone of your skin, and self acceptance is a long time coming for some of our characters.


Metta Theatre exists to change the world. Established in 2005 by visionary Director Poppy Burton-Morgan and Motley trained Designer William Reynolds Metta Theatre is at the forefront of cross-art-form theatre practice, known for combining emotionally powerful performances with imaginative theatricality and striking visual style. We make exceptional theatre and opera that represents and celebrates the diversity of our world. Metta Theatre is one of the UK’s leading touring companies – making exceptional theatre and opera at the mid, large and small scale and touring that work throughout the UK. Previous partners and collaborators include the Young Vic, Soho Theatre, Southbank Centre, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Oxford Playhouse, Manchester Royal Exchange, York Theatre Royal and Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds. Metta are an Associate Company at Exeter Northcott Theatre, Theatre By The Lake Keswick and were artists in residence at the V&A in 2018. Recent productions include their 5 star smash hit UK and International tour of Jungle Book which has now been seen by over 35,000 people, their circus musical Little Mermaid and the 15 week UK tour of their hip-hop musical In The Willows.



Pip, a 16 year old working class boy, stands nervously outside an unremarkable door in Soho. He knocks, and the beautiful and proud Estefan lets him in. Inside he finds himself within a run down nightclub, Satisfaction - run by the fearsome Miss Havisham, still wearing the same wedding dress from 16 years ago when she was jilted at the altar [Satisfaction]. Pip returns from Satisfaction to the small council flat he shares with his aunty Jo in Croydon and tells her of Estefan [Golden Boy]. She warns him off falling for a boy like Estefan. Alone in his bedroom, thinking of the hunger in Miss Havisham’s eyes, Pip remembers meeting a strange hungry-eyed woman, an addict called Magwitch when he was a small child [Pip’s flashback rap]. Two years pass in the flash of a song [The boy became a Man] as Jo observes Pip changing through his frequent meetings with Miss H and Estefan. One day Pip is summoned by a lawyer Jaggers and told he will come in to a fortune (at the bequest of a secret benefactor) but to be eligible for the inheritance he must move to Chelsea where Jaggers will oversee his education into society [Jaggers Song]. Pip thinks back on a life of being shamed for his poverty and makes the decision to better himself, leaving his life with Aunty Jo behind [It Is My Shame]. In Chelsea Pip meets Herb Pocket, a comic and charming young Sloane and becomes a man about town [gentleman/socialite montage/Herb song] happy to flash his cash while he has it. Having come into his inheritance Pip revisits Miss H to tell her that he thinks he knows who his benefactor is. Miss H reveals nothing about that, but confesses her rage against the man who left her at the altar, and all men who treat women of colour like the bottom of the dating pool [Single Black Woman]. Miss H announces that she’s re-opening Satisfaction. The newly styled Pip meets Estefan again at the club. Estefan behaves rather differently now that Pip has money. Over the course of the evening they grow closer [Montage dance number] and at the end of the night they kiss, but nothing more. A week later Bentley Drummle, a City banker appears at Satisfaction and Estefan leaves the club with him. Jo comes to visit Pip in his new Chelsea flat and Pip snubs her, ashamed at her lack of polish [The gap between us]. Nonetheless he confesses to her that he’s going to tell Estefan how he feels about him. Pip goes to Satisfaction to meet Estefan, but Estefan declares that he’s moving to LA with Bentley. Pip is heartbroken and appeals to Miss H for help. Realizing that she has done to Pip what was done to her Miss H is filled with remorse. [Unhappy Endings]


Drama, revelations and ultimately a happy ending of sorts for Pip and Estefan...


PIP, our 18 year old protagonist, alone in his bedroom, in a shabby council flat in Croydon.

Having been snubbed once again by the stylish and moneyed Estefan - for whom he has spent the last two years admiring - he is making the decision to escape his upbringing and his class destiny - to accept Jagger’s offer to leave. To better himself.



It isn’t fame

It isn’t money

It’s something small enough to barely speak aloud

It is my shame

It is the story of my youth

It is not ever being proud of who I am

And not allowed

Into the places

The special places

With their special clothes


Don’t let him in

He isn’t one of us

He doesn’t talk like us

He doesn’t dress like us

He doesn’t smell like us

It is my shame


It isn’t fun

It isn’t funny

It’s not a quirky portrait of a plucky lad

Cos being poor

Having no money

The truth is squalid and

Exhausting and it’s sore

It is a wound that never heals

Because until they let me in

I’m still that little smelly boy

Who had the shoes with all the holes


Don’t let him in

He isn’t one of us

He doesn’t talk like us

He doesn’t dress like us

He doesn’t smell like us

It is my shame

But I will rise and rise and rise and rise

Just let them stop me

Just let them try

And I will never never let them see me cry

Just let them try