About Zara

Zara trained at the University of Glamorgan, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and London College of Music.

Most recently in 2019 she has been commissioned by The Canales Project and the University of Wolverhampton in partnership with the United Nations Decade of Women to write a song for the Hear Her Song initiative. Having received its world premiere in the States in May, Zara will perform the UK premiere of Santa Rosa Sunset at the gala performance in Wolverhampton in June.

Earlier this year, she completed work on a commission for the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) who asked her to write five new pieces for percussion and piano accompaniment to be included in their next exam syllabus to be published in 2020.

In 2018 she commendably received her second funding award from the PRS for Music Foundation via their Open Fund for music creators for her debut cabaret concert Zara Nunn: Live at Zedel, which took place in July. With a four-piece band and six guest singers performing with her, she presented much-loved material from her back-catalogue as well as four World Premiere performances of new songs written especially for the event.

In 2017 she received her first coveted funding award from the PRS for music Foundation also via their Open Fund for music creators, 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 show In Versions. This one-act musical was written during a five-week period in March 2017 and was subsequently followed by a week’s workshop with six actors and a final off-book industry showcase performance which also featured a six-piece band. The showcase took place at The Umbrella Rooms, Covent Garden.

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); 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); The MTA; 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.

In addition to her professional composing and musical direction engagements, Zara has worked extensively in music and theatre education and specialised in major large-scale devising and performance projects both in the UK and overseas.

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2019

2019

HEAR HER SONG

World & UK Premieres

Zara is very honoured to be one of ten British female composers to be commissioned for Hear Her Song by The Canales Project and The University of Wolverhampton in partnership with the United Nations Decade of Women.

Her song, entitled Santa Rosa Sunset, was written to honour the life and work of Elissa Fisher Harris.

Her song received it’s World Premiere at The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC in May and later that month received it’s West Coast Premiere at The Hammer Theatre Centre, San José.

In June 2019, Hear Her song premieres in the UK and Zara will be performing Santa Rosa Sunset as part of the Gala Performance hosted by The University of Wolverhampton. 

You can book tickets for this event here

More information from the Canales Project: “Hear Her Song is the debut initiative from The Canales Project, honoring distinguished women leaders through new songs inspired by their words, written by leading female songwriters and composers.

Since its inception in 2017, Hear Her Song has commissioned 40 songs, honored 38 leaders, employed 65 artists, and collaborated with 10 partner organizations, all with 11 countries involved.”

 

2018

2018

ZARA NUNN: LIVE AT ZEDEL

Thursday 12th July 2018

Very excitingly, Zara got to make her Crazy Coqs debut this July, which was made possible by generous support via her second award from the PRS Foundation for Music’s Open Fund.

Alongside her at the piano were: Curtis Volp on guitar, Dan Giles on bass and Cameron Sinclair on drums. She was also joined by guest singers: Simon Willmont, Jill McAusland, Charlotte Forster, Claire-Marie Hall, Pari Shahmir and Graham Lappin.

Zara Nunn is generously supported by PRS Foundation’s Open Fund for Music Creators

 

From the programme: “For one night only, Nunn will be joined by special guest singers and a cracking live band in a sparkling mix of world premieres and genre-bending numbers from her back-catalogue. Favourites will include songs such as Change the View from her acclaimed show In Versions, an “idyllic song” that “soared…with similar tones of Pasek and Paul” – Musical Theatre Review.”

The show featured four World Premiere performances of new songs written especially for the event. One of them was called ‘Fine’ and you can watch it below. Also included were much-loved favourites from Zara’s back catalogue including When There Are No Words and Ceri (With a C).

GENESIS INC - Hampstead Theatre June 22nd-July 28th

In May, Zara started rehearsals for Genesis Inc. written by Jemma Kennedy and directed by Laurie Sansom.

She composed all the incidental music as well as the music for two songs (‘The Song of Us’ & “The Bag Song), both performed in the show by Arthur Darvill.

A complex, fast-paced, challenging, brave and thought-provoking comedy, Genesis Inc opened at Hampstead Theatre on 22nd June and ran until the end of July.

The playtext from the show, which also features sheet music for the songs is available from Nick Hern Books. 

From the Hampstead Theatre website:

‘Harry Enfield is hilarious’ WhatsOnStage
‘Smart, funny, complex’ Financial Times
‘Jemma Kennedy has a gift for comedy’ The Guardian
‘I adore the ambition’ The Times
‘A theatrical and ambitious comedy’ Independent

Serena and Jeff have one last chance: Genesis Incorporated, whose glowing testimonials and bespoke treatments surely justify a final roll of the dice. Meanwhile, Bridget has put her future literally on ice while she focuses on her high-flying career and on finding Mr Right.  And all Miles wants is a steady salary so he can buy a property in Zone 4 – oblivious to the fact that, in a different kind of currency, he’s actually the richest of them all…

Jemma Kennedy spins a blisteringly entertaining and multifaceted tale of the final frontier of 21st century capitalism: the privatisation of human reproduction. This richly imaginative, topical, and explosively funny new comedy takes a closer look at the lengths to which people will go to defy biology – and at the moral compass of an industry that trades on fear and hope. Laurie Sansom directs following his critically acclaimed historical trilogy The James Plays (National Theatre) and The Driver’s Seat (National Theatre of Scotland).

Starring Harry EnfieldArthur DarvillOliver Alvin-WilsonRitu AryaKirsty BestermanLaura HowardShobu KapoorClare Perkins and Arthur Wilson.

2017

2017

GOOD NEWS

The new year started with the very exciting news that the first draft and development of Zara’s new piece In Versions was to receive generous funding and support from Arts Council England and the PRS for Music Foundation via their Open Fund for Music Creators.

In Versions is a complex, witty, moving, contemporary one-act musical written through the lens of a unique perspective on social, cultural & philosophical aspects of personal identity and self. With six characters whose stories compellingly lead us towards the final revelation and a surprising twist, it takes an abstract look at personal identity by focusing on the ways in which we make assumptions about everyone we interact with based on how they look, what they choose to say to us, how they say it, and how we interpret that information in relation to our own experiences.

After an initial five-week writing and orchestration period, In Versions went into its first rehearsal period in late March 2017. With three days of additional rehearsal space at the Old Vic Workrooms awarded by the Old Vic Lab, it rehearsed for seven days in total and received it’s first public performance for an invited audience at The Umbrella Rooms, Covent Garden on Thursday 30th March, 2017. After an overwhelmingly positive response, development work on the next draft has begun, which will hopefully culminate in a short run in the early part of 2018.  In the meantime, you can view a short film about the show and there’s also sneak peak of one of the songs, or if you’d like to view the rehearsal and production shots, you can do so here.  

2016

2016

AUTUMN

In the early Autumn, Zara finished composing music for a piece commissioned for R&D by The Egg, Theatre Royal Bath. Written & directed by Jesse Briton & Leona Allen of Bear Trap Theatre, it is an inventive telling of the story of Josephine Baker. Having been excellently received when it was performed at a potential producing partners showcase at The Egg at the end of September, the piece is scheduled for further development in 2017.

Then she headed off at the start of November to start rehearsals as MD of Cinderella for Oxford Playhouse, which completed it’s epic Christmas run on January 8th 2017. After which, she went for a long lie down!

NEW THINGS

In 2016, Zara was working hard on three new music theatre pieces. Having previewed a draft of one of the new songs at MMD’s Open Mic Night early in the summer, she is hard at work on the new material and hopes to be showcasing some of the results early in 2017. She is also currently developing new ideas in separate collaborations with other playwrights and directors, so watch this space for more news!

BEAM

Zara presented some of her new writing at BEAM, which was the hotly anticipated and unprecedented musical theatre industry event co-produced by Mercury Musical Developments and the Musical Theatre Network, hosted by the Park Theatre, Finsbury park.

Her ‘Lights Up’ Composer Platform formed part of an exciting line-up that showcased 40 new British musicals and new musical theatre writing talent over the two days.

 

AUTUMN

In the early Autumn, Zara finished composing music for a piece commissioned for R&D by The Egg, Theatre Royal Bath. Written & directed by Jesse Briton & Leona Allen of Bear Trap Theatre, it is an inventive telling of the story of Josephine Baker. Having been excellently received when it was performed at a potential producing partners showcase at The Egg at the end of September, the piece is scheduled for further development in 2017.

Then she headed off at the start of November to start rehearsals as MD of Cinderella for Oxford Playhouse, which completed it’s epic Christmas run on January 8th 2017. After which, she went for a long lie down!

NEW THINGS

In 2016, Zara was working hard on three new music theatre pieces. Having previewed a draft of one of the new songs at MMD’s Open Mic Night early in the summer, she is hard at work on the new material and hopes to be showcasing some of the results early in 2017. She is also currently developing new ideas in separate collaborations with other playwrights and directors, so watch this space for more news!

BEAM

Zara presented some of her new writing at BEAM, which was the hotly anticipated and unprecedented musical theatre industry event co-produced by Mercury Musical Developments and the Musical Theatre Network, hosted by the Park Theatre, Finsbury park.

Her ‘Lights Up’ Composer Platform formed part of an exciting line-up that showcased 40 new British musicals and new musical theatre writing talent over the two days.

 

2015

2015

CHRISTMAS

After having returned from some large-scale education work in Switzerland and Thailand on October & November, Zara subsequently completed work on a festive songwriting commission for the pantomime dame in Compass Theatre’s production of Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs.

YARICO

Zara was MD & Orchestrator for Yarico, a new musical which received it’s world premiere at London Theatre Workshop, and was, during it’s six-week run in February & March, listed in WhatsonStage’s Critics’ Choice top 5 alongside Miss Saigon and Memphis.

RADIO 1 ACADEMY

In the run up to May’s Big Weekend in Norwich, Zara was invited to run a songwriting Masterclass for the BBC Radio 1 Academy.

30 participants and guest artist Ella Eyre – what was not to love? Afterwards, Norwich-based singer-songwriter Lisa Redford wrote an article about the experience.

To read an extract from the article, please expand the box below by clicking the + icon

Masterclass in Songwriting was highlight of Academy's visit - ARTICLE

I had a great time being part of BBC Radio 1’s Academy who were in Norwich last month in the run up to Radio 1’s Big weekend. There was a fun atmosphere around the excellent venue OPEN Norwich and it was lovely to see the various Radio 1 DJs and team sharing their passion for music to those wanting to work in the creative industries.

Thanks to Access to Music, who partnered with Radio 1 for the Academy, it was particularly inspiring to get to be part of a songwriting masterclass. I love, and am fascinated by songwriting and have written extensively about it; about renowned and favourite songwriters, and my own creative process in the column I write for Songwriting Magazine.

The masterclass was run by London-based musical director Zara Nunn and it was really inspiring seeing young aspiring songwriters, many who’ve never written before, come up with original lyrics and then perform some impressive compositions to the group.

Zara encouraged everyone in their small groups to write down lyrics which were then passed to another group to edit, an important part of songwriting is making lyrics more succinct. Then the short songs were written with melodies and instruments added.

A fun group singalong at the end showcased the songs they’d written. It was lovely witnessing the songs blending together and there were certainly some strong melodies that resulted from the workshop. Musicians from Access to Music also provided a great house band.

Ella Eyre was also part of the masterclass and during a Q&A talked about her writing and what inspires her. She’s responsible for many cool collaborations and has written hits including co-writing Sigma’s number one hit ‘Changing’ featuring Paloma Faith.

Link to full article available on request.

CHRISTMAS

After having returned from some large-scale education work in Switzerland and Thailand on October & November, Zara subsequently completed work on a festive songwriting commission for the pantomime dame in Compass Theatre’s production of Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs.

RADIO 1 ACADEMY

In the run up to May’s Big Weekend in Norwich, Zara was invited to run a songwriting Masterclass for the BBC Radio 1 Academy.

30 participants and guest artist Ella Eyre – what was not to love? Afterwards, Norwich-based singer-songwriter Lisa Redford wrote an article about the experience.

To read an extract from the article, please expand the box below by clicking the + icon

Masterclass in Songwriting was highlight of Academy's visit - ARTICLE

I had a great time being part of BBC Radio 1’s Academy who were in Norwich last month in the run up to Radio 1’s Big weekend. There was a fun atmosphere around the excellent venue OPEN Norwich and it was lovely to see the various Radio 1 DJs and team sharing their passion for music to those wanting to work in the creative industries.

Thanks to Access to Music, who partnered with Radio 1 for the Academy, it was particularly inspiring to get to be part of a songwriting masterclass. I love, and am fascinated by songwriting and have written extensively about it; about renowned and favourite songwriters, and my own creative process in the column I write for Songwriting Magazine.

The masterclass was run by London-based musical director Zara Nunn and it was really inspiring seeing young aspiring songwriters, many who’ve never written before, come up with original lyrics and then perform some impressive compositions to the group.

Zara encouraged everyone in their small groups to write down lyrics which were then passed to another group to edit, an important part of songwriting is making lyrics more succinct. Then the short songs were written with melodies and instruments added.

A fun group singalong at the end showcased the songs they’d written. It was lovely witnessing the songs blending together and there were certainly some strong melodies that resulted from the workshop. Musicians from Access to Music also provided a great house band.

Ella Eyre was also part of the masterclass and during a Q&A talked about her writing and what inspires her. She’s responsible for many cool collaborations and has written hits including co-writing Sigma’s number one hit ‘Changing’ featuring Paloma Faith.

Link to full article available on request.

YARICO

Zara was MD & Orchestrator for Yarico, a new musical which received it’s world premiere at London Theatre Workshop, and was, during it’s six-week run in February & March, listed in WhatsonStage’s Critics’ Choice top 5 alongside Miss Saigon and Memphis.

Training

 

London College of Music

MMus in Composing for the theatre

 

University of Glamorgan & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

BA Theatre & Media Drama

(First-Class Honours)

Theatre & Performance Skills

 

Composition (theatre, broadcast, production, choral/classical)

Lyric writing

Musical Direction (Keyboards), Violinist

Devised theatre & devised music for theatre

Community, applied, site-specific or site-responsive theatre

Working with actor-musicians (devised music and/or scored)

Vocal coaching

Singing for non-actors, non-performers

Production Skills

 

Arranging

Orchestration

Backing track and/or recorded music production

Music to picture

Editing  (sound, video)

Transcription

Training

 

London College of Music

MMus in Composing for the theatre

 

University of Glamorgan & Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

BA Theatre & Media Drama

(First-Class Honours)

Theatre & Performance Skills

 

Composition (theatre, broadcast, production, choral/classical)

Lyric writing

Musical Direction (Keyboards), Violinist

Devised theatre & devised music for theatre

Community, applied, site-specific or site-responsive theatre

Working with actor-musicians (devised music and/or scored)

Vocal coaching

Singing for non-actors, non-performers

Production Skills

 

Arranging

Orchestration

Backing track and/or recorded music production

Music to picture

Editing  (sound, video)

Transcription

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