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Paul Ackerley

Senior Lecturer in Music/Musical Theatre Triple Threat

Paul Ackerley is a Producer specialising in outdoor and site-specific performance, and a Composer.  He is currently Senior Lecturer and Module Co-ordinator for Events Management, Module Co-ordinator and Composer for Musical Theatre Commission and Resident Producer on the Musical Theatre Triple Threat programme.

Current programme development work includes leading on an international partnership with the Bulgarian State Opera, University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria and with faculty colleagues to develop an immersive theatre exchange with UCLA, Los Angeles. Current academic work includes conducting a life-cycle assessment of Chichester’s Musical Theatre programme to assess its sustainability, using case study research, in completion of an MA in Leadership and Management.

He is co-leading the University’s pioneering Musical Theatre Commission programme of immersive musicals with colleague Joel Scott. These have included writing original music and text for Moonlight Club, an industrial adaptation of Woyzeck, Autarky an imagining of the aftermath of a global pandemic disease, The Last Kiss! based on the making of an early sound film, with a 35-piece orchestra and Without Blinking, performed at TESTBED1, London documenting a child’s survival of cult kidnapping. Future productions include a new commission with State Opera, Stara Zagora, and associates including, Dessislava Stefanova and Dr. Mercia McDermott (2020) and a performance of the first-ever British theatre production about World War I: J.R. Ackerley’s The Interned in association with the hotel in Murren, Switzerland, of its original setting, and schools in Putney and Fleetwood, Lancs. (2019)

As Composer he co-founded and toured percussion ensemble, Left Hand Right Hand, throughout Europe and North America and the important electronic and industrial group Zahgurim performing at the Berlin Atonal Festival, Drastic Classicism at the ICA and The Icehouse, Phoenix, Az. He studied under Gavin Bryars and musical collaborators have included Karl Blake, Lol Coxhill, Anna Homler, Motionhouse, Joel Scott, Jane Buckler, Suzanne Joinson and Lila Dance. His early work has been re-issued by Cold Spring and the Austrian Klanggalerie label who have commissioned a new album and live performance in Vienna (2018).

Paul is also the Creative Director for Creatives Across Sussex whose cultural regeneration programmes include influential model urban and rural singing programmes: Singing Streets, Whispering Woods and Town To Earth, the latter devised as a widening participation partnership with University of Chichester and case studied by Arts Council England. Creatives Across Sussex are currently supporting Mid Sussex District Council’s skateparks redesign commission. Previous commissions include the Ahead of the Game Festival, a series of large-scale outdoor performances as part of the London 2012 Games Cultural Olympiad which included a mass-participation choral event in specially-lit woodland at night, based on Laulupidu in Estonia; a travelling pop-up festival run by young producers, based on Roaring Hooves in Mongolia; a carnival created by people with learning disabilities in partnership with Embaixadores, Brazil and an immersive theatre production and on-line game by Goat and Monkey Theatre attracting 80,000 gamers about the Victorian plant hunters, for the Great Gardens of Sussex. The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister used his Sitting Room Symphonies initiative, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of orchestral concerts on housing estates, as an exemplar of music as a social action.

Paul spent ten years with Arts Council England as a relationship manager leading on Combined Arts in the south east region, reviewing and implementing the National Carnival Strategy, co-founding the country’s first independent practitioner-run regional Carnival network and leading a series of colloquia on outdoor arts and audit of regional theatres, leading to a regional network of venues able to support the creation of outdoor productions.

Paul gives specialist talks on Industrial Music; The works of JR Ackerley and  The life and work of Alfred Hitchcock and his published articles include: Engaging Communities in Song, Culture Hive, Arts Management Association, April (2016); Street Art – A Different Animal, Arts Professional, February (2002); Up & Underground – Art Dossier, Ministartsvu Kulture RH, Zagreb, Issue 5 (2002); Trip to Stara Zagora, Mailout – Artswork With People, East Midlands Arts, February/March (1991)

Paul trained at Royal Holloway College, University of London and the De Montfort University, Leicester.