An online concert showcasing songs from original musical Alive in Wonderland is being held to help fund the full show after its previous funding was lost when its planned 2022 performances were cancelled.
The show had been two years in the making, with the idea beginning during the Covid pandemic.
Down the rabbit hole
During the first lockdown in 2020, Ewan Fellows, who was a student at the time, began writing a musical based on an idea which he says came to him in a dream, where he was performing Alice in Wonderland, but it was shut down due to Covid.
He said: “I started making these parallels between Alice in Wonderland and how nonsensical and confusing it was, and how nonsensical and confusing Covid was.”
Combining the two ideas, he came up with a story which follows the inhabitants of Wonderland after Alice’s visit, and the beginning of a deadly virus spreading across the land.
After three months of writing dialogue, composing music, and planning staging, the musical was in its first full iteration, with a cast comprised of Ewan’s friends and classmates.
In 2021, Ewan submitted his script to a competition titled ‘The Future Theatre Fund’, and won a £10,000 bursary towards his project, as well as industry mentoring. This funding, and the newfound publicity, allowed Ewan to hold online auditions with the hope it would eventually lead to an in-person performance.
As it was online, people from different areas in the UK auditioned, which meant that when the lockdown was lifted they were not able to continue with the project. However, many of these performers, along with members from every iteration of the cast, are able to take part in the upcoming online concert.
Ewan said: “The Alive Project has allowed them a chance to be able to still be involved in Alive in Wonderland without having to travel to Sheffield.”
Cancelled due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’
In 2022, in-person auditions were held, the venue was set as The Montgomery Theatre, and the show had performance dates in June of that year. Two weeks before the show’s opening night however, it was cancelled due to ‘unforeseen circumstances’ as stated by a post on the Alive in Wonderland Facebook Page.
Ewan said this roadblock only made him tougher, saying: “Coming back from that has given me even more strength and determination to stick with this, that’s why I created The Alive Project, to finally get something out there.
“None of it has been seen, no songs, no scenes, no characters. This concert allows me, and the cast, to showcase what we’ve created.”
Coming together in that isolation
The Alive Project is made up of many songs from the musical, sung by members from each of the casts, including two members who have been in all three iterations: Liv Wortley and Nova Storm. The videos, filmed individually by the cast members themselves, have been edited together by Ewan into a full concert.
He mentioned the parallels between The Alive Project, and the Covid pandemic in which the musical was first written, saying: “It’s very similar actually to what most theatre companies were doing during the lockdown. A lot of companies would film themselves in their home and they’d edit it all together into this wonderful collaboration.
“It still ties in with what Alive in Wonderland is all about, this idea of isolation but coming together in that isolation.”
The Alive Project will premiere on the Alive in Wonderland YouTube channel on 15 May, so, as the White Rabbit would say…
Donations towards staging the full show are being collected at: https://gofund.me/fdb2f34d