Zara Nunn

Award: Music-led creative collaboration (Fusion)

Year: 2020

Genre: Musical Theatre

Instrument/voice type: Composer

Location: London


Zara is a composer, writer, lyricist, orchestrator, musical director and live artist. In addition to her established career as a contemporary musical theatre writer, she also works across multiple disciplines including writing incidental music for straight plays, writing for media, cabaret, comedy, production, classical, choral and broadcast.
She is currently working on her musical short film 'FLOMO', written specifically to be filmed and performed by actors in isolation. Recently short-listed for The Space and BBC Arts ‘Culture in Quarantine’ series it will be available to view later this month.
Earlier this year, she began work on her new musical 'In These Walls', which takes an imaginative look at the effects that urban regeneration has on communities, people and personal stories. Selected for BEAM 2020, and supported by Arts Council England, the initial work on this piece was originally intended to be part of a larger development, showcase and performance project which has had to be completely restructured because of the current situation. She hopes to take 'In These Walls' into full R&D and workshop early next year.
Other projects rescheduled for 2021 include work as composer on a full production and tour of 'Josephine', a new piece chronicling the extraordinary life of Josephine Baker, which Zara has been part of the development and workshop team for since 2016.
Recent work also includes the stateside World premiere and UK premiere of her song 'Santa Rosa Sunset' which was commissioned as part of 'Hear Her Song' by The Canales Project and the University of Wolverhampton in partnership with the United Nations Decade of Women.
Last year she was commissioned by the ABRSM to write six new pieces for tuned/untuned percussion and piano accompaniment, subsequently published in the 2020 exam syllabus.
She is a twice PRS awarded artist. In 2018 she received her second funding award for her debut cabaret concert Zara Nunn: Live at Zedel. Her return concert 'Zara Nunn: Back in Town' was due to take place in May of this year, but this has now been postponed until late 2020/early 2021.
In 2017 she received her first funding award from the PRS which, with additional funding from Arts Council England and support from the Old Vic Lab enabled her to write, compose, orchestrate, musically direct, produce and showcase the first draft of her new musical 'In Versions'.
Her other professional engagements include: Genesis Inc. (Hampstead Theatre); Cinderella (Oxford Playhouse – nominated for Best MD in the GB Panto Awards); Josephine (Bear Trap Theatre/The Egg, Theatre Royal Bath 2 x R&D); The Tempest (Watford Palace Theatre); Yarico (London Theatre Workshop); Results Day (Rose Theatre, Kingston – short film); Alice in Wonderland, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe (Royal Theatre (Royal & Derngate), Northampton); Aladdin, Dick Whittington, Much Ado About Nothing, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Cinderella, Jack & the Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty (Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham); Elmer (Birmingham Stage Company); Arts Educational Schools; Arabian Nights, Alice, Peter Pan, The Doctor’s Daughter, Life of Pi, The Greek, Grimms’s Tales, An Artist & a Mariner, The Time Machine (Royal Central School of Speech & Drama); Beggar’s Opera, Babes in Arms (Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts); Various Cures for Lonliness (Trinity College of Music at The Albany); Oldham Theatre Workshop, English Pocket Opera Company, National Youth Music Theatre and the International Schools Theatre Association.
Alongside her professional composing and musical direction engagements, Zara spent nearly twenty years working extensively in music and theatre education where she specialised in major large-scale devising and performance projects both in the UK and overseas.
This brilliant award from Help Musicians will fund the writing, composition, research, development and collaborative workshop of my new piece, ‘Moving Water’, which fuses contemporary music theatre with audio drama (radio/podcast).
Made in collaboration with director Marina Calderone and sound designer Adam Welsh, 'Moving Water' is a dramatic exploration through music & soundscape of Riddoch Syndrome (the phenomenon of a blind person being able to see moving objects) and of an unlikely friendship between two women, both isolated in very different ways.