Worsthorne composer in semi-finals of UK songwriting contest

Ben Durkin
Ben Durkin

Two songs from a Worsthorne composer’s musical theatre score inspired by Guy Fawkes have reached the semi-final stage of the prestigious 2016 UK Songwriting Competition.

Ben Durkin, 35, released the concept album for a stage musical based on the oft-told yarn of Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot, with the first and fourteenth songs from the record receiving critical acclaim and being shortlisted with other semifinalist tunes.

The much-vaunted award is judged by a raft of susperstars from the music industry, including Kipper Eldridge, Sting’s producer and Stuart Epps, a well-known colleague of Elton John, Paul Weller and Oasis among others.

Ben said: “I wanted to have a go at writing a stage musical for a long time, but could never find anything suitable. Then in November 2013 I was looking online for foods to cook at a bonfire party and came across Fawkes and the Plot.

“The more I read, the more the story resonated. That was the real inspiration.”

The UK Songwriting Competition was launched in London in 2002, with past winners given recording time at the BRIT Studio as well as receiving air time on BBC Radio. Over 70,000 songs have taken part, with over £1,000,000 awarded in prizes.

“The contest is held in high regard and prestige by composers worldwide,” said Ben. “To have work even heard by these people is exciting and for them to have selected 2 tracks as semi-finalists is quite overwhelming to be honest.

“I’ve been interested in musical theatre since going to see Sunset Bouleveard in around 1993, but while I’ve played piano from an early age, this was my first attempt at composing something serious.

“The style of this work is Progressive Rock, but I do have a wide taste in music; musical theatre - of course - through to pop, rock, reggae and the classics.”