Joel Hall

Composition - MA

After completing an undergraduate degree at his local university, Joel was unsure what his next step would be and despite working in education for a short while, the graduate was keen to create and do something more. Joel joined the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and since graduating with an MA, his career has gone from strength to strength, from writing brand-new musicals, to producing with major British theatre companies and hosting large-scale immersive events.

“I studied music whilst in school and knew I wanted to be a musician but had absolutely no idea about how to do it. So, I picked a music course close to where I live in Nottingham and did an undergraduate degree. But when I left, I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I initially started working in a music store and playing piano in a local restaurant. Then, I set up my own music service. I bought four keyboards and I called every single school in the area, and one said 'yes, please come in and teach the pupils'. Soon, I managed to grow it and a team of other musicians would join me to teach students too.

But I still really liked the idea of creating and knew I needed to do something more. So, I started looking into returning to university and attending a conservatoire. I loved musicals and commercial music, and so the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire really stood out to me. I went along to talk to them about my aspirations and they were really excited by it. But the best thing about BCU, for me, was that there are so many departments and things you can get involved with. I just knew it was for me.

I now work as a Composer, Musical Director and Digital Producer. I am currently a Digital Producer at the Royal Shakespeare Company, leading on the creation of innovative digital programmes and resources to accompany productions including Roy Alexander-Weise’s Much Ado About Nothing, Owen Horsley’s Henry VI: Rebellion and Wars of the Roses, Gregory Doran’s Richard III starring Arthur Hughes, Blanche Mclntyre’s All’s Well that Ends Well, and Robin Belfield’s First Encounters: Twelfth Night.

I am also working as a Digital Producer for Watford Palace Theatre’s upcoming production of The Merchant of Venice, which is set to premiere in spring 2023 ahead of a national tour.

Alongside working as a Digital Producer, I am also the Director of StreamPark, an award-winning interactive digital events platform partnered with the Mixed Reality Lab at the University of Nottingham, Live Cinema UK and Oxfam GB, funded by Horizon Digital Economy Research and hosting immersive events for national organisations, theatres and communities.

I created Stream Park in 2020 to enable events to take place online at immersive and accessible virtual parks, venues and worlds. This started with UPLOAD Virtual Festival, a benefit arts festival which I directed, hosted by BBC Radio Nottingham. Stream Park has since successfully hosted numerous events including a National Woodland Trust festival and Inspired Christmas Concert with Inspire: Culture Learning and Libraries.

I am also a Composer, and my musical ‘The Terrific Treevils’, with book and lyrics by Tom Ling, premiered at the Watford Palace Theatre as the UK’s first interactive ‘Musical in a Book’. I have also scored and musically directed Robin Hood for the Lichfield Garrick Theatre, A Midsummer Night's Dream for British Youth Music Theatre, The Big Red Rock - A Little Musical for Child’s Play Ltd and Inspire Culture Learning and Libraries, Judgment Day at the Birmingham Hippodrome, The Flying Frog at Nottingham's Royal Concert Hall online and Grandma Claus at Aylesbury Theatre.

I am currently writing songs for The Last Vampire, having undertaken a workshop at Coventry Belgrade Theatre, led by the Belgrade’s creative director and fellow Conservatoire alumni Corey Campbell. The musical is based on a series of popular books which were written by my grandfather, playwright Willis Hall.

I also continue to write music, including for Paramount Theatre’s Connection Concert Series, and I have performed in Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre online. I occasionally also work as a pianist for the Nottingham Playhouse.

These opportunities link back to the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and the people I met there. I was told very early on in a lecture at RBC, to not say you want to be ‘this’ or ‘that’, just be open to opportunities and see what’s out there. You have to constantly network and reach out to people; share ideas and discover how you can collaborate with others.

My advice to BCU students would be to connect as much as you can, you will learn so much from others. Keep in touch with those around you at university, as you never know what could happen in the future. In the arts, it is all about connections and forming those relationships.”