Jamie: From Screen To Stage

We had another packed house at The Hospital Club last night for our latest ProductionBase TV Networking evening – a huge thank you to everyone that joined us on the night, as well as our great guest speakers.

We were joined on stage by Jamie Campbell, the inspiration for the West End’s newest hit musical, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, which opened at The Apollo Theatre earlier this month to rave reviews. The show is based on Jamie’s story, as a 16-year-old boy from a council estate in the North-East who wants to wear a dress to his end-of-year school prom, and the BBC Three documentary that followed his progress.

Joining Jamie on stage was Jes Wilkins, the Chief Creative Officer at Firecracker Films, the production company which made the film back in 2011, as they took us through the creative process; from commissioning and creating the original documentary, to adapting the story for the stage.

Jamie revealed that the BBC Three show, Jamie: Drag Queen at 16, was made after he decided that having a film crew with him would make him feel safer attending his school prom as his alter ego, Fifi. After jotting down his ideas for a documentary, he emailed them to every production company he could find on Google. Firecracker loved the pitch, and shortly afterwards the film’s director, Jennie Popplewell visited him at home in County Durham, where they agreed to film his story.

Jamie Campbell & Jes Wilkins on stage for ProductionBase TV Networking

The response to the film was overwhelmingly positive, with a huge outpouring of support on social media, and positive reviews in the press. After seeing the show, Jonathan Butterell, the theatre director at Sheffield’s Crucible theatre, decided the story was perfect for a musical adaptation, and having successfully got the production commissioned, Jamie was approached to ask for his permission to use his story.

The writing team behind the theatre production comprised Dan Gillespie Sells (lead singer of pop band The Feeling) who wrote the music, Tom MacRae (scriptwriter on TV show including Doctor Who and the sitcom Threesome) who wrote the book and lyrics, and Butterell himself to guide the pair, who were both working on their first musical.

The show, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, opened in February this year to rave reviews, including a 5-star rating from The Times, which described it as “a sparkling coming-of-age musical with a twist”, with Jamie and his Mum in the audience to see his story on stage for the first time.

With such a hit on their hands, it was only a matter of time before the show made the move to the West End. Ann Treneman, theatrical impresario and co-owner of six West End theatres watched the production in Sheffield, and after seeing the audience reaction, and the standing ovation which closed the show, decided to take the risk and stage Everybody’s Talking About Jamie in the capital. The show opened earlier this month, with John McCrea starring as Jamie, and seems all set to be a long-running hit!

Thanks once again to Jamie & Jes for joining us last night! For more information on ProductionBase TV Networking nights, head over to our Events pages, where you’ll find details of our wide range of previous top speakers from across the industry, and information and booking details for our upcoming events.