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Transcript: Fangirling with Yve Blake

Up Next: Ep 1 - Yve Blake

Courtney Ammenhauser: The Sydney Opera House honours our First Nations by fostering a shared sense of belonging for all Australians, and we acknowledge the Gadigal, traditional custodians of Tubowgule, the land on which the Opera House stands.

Yve Blake: And I'm learning about how like some fans don't use spoons anymore because one of the band members said that he, like, wasn't into spoons.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Hey I’m Courtney Ammenhauser and this is Up Next. I’m a culture writer, a radio presenter and a huge nerd about all things music, arts, and culture. 

Right now I’m sitting in a little backroom at the Opera House, behind one of the most famous stages in the world. And it feels kind of surreal to be here, so far from where I grew up at Mission Beach in Far North Queensland. Back then, I didn’t know much about the Opera House. It was just a fancy place that I only saw on TV.

As an adult I moved to Sydney and found myself enthralled by the underground arts and music scene here. I loved watching emerging Australian talent rise up, make a mark, and carve out a space for themselves on big stages. Changing the culture and stories of Australia as they went. What excites me most is seeing them make it all the way here. Where they reclaim this stage above me. All eyes on them. 

This podcast is all about capturing this moment and seeing all the exciting places it takes us. Up Next is your ticket to the most exciting artists and performers coming through these doors… In each episode, we discover who's up next… who’s defining the future of arts, music and culture in Australia.

It’s no secret the award-winning musical Fangirls has taken the world by storm since its first season at Queensland Theater in 2019. Following fourteen year-old Edna, the musical dives deep into her love for beautiful, perfect, Harry. But there’s just one problem, Harry is the star of the world’s biggest boy band.

I spoke to playwright, screenwriter, songwriter and creator of Fangirls, Yve Blake ahead of the show’s current season at the Sydney Opera House. She’s here to tell us about her meteoric rise from unknown artist to award-winning playwright… about the Fangirls of Fangirls… and why musicals are for everybody… 

Courtney Ammenhauser: I wanted to start the interview with a pretty big question, who did you fangirl over as a tween?

Yve Blake: So I often say is like, No, I wasn't a fangirl of anyone. And that's why when I found out about Fangirls, I had to research them. And that's true to a degree. But honestly, I was obsessed with Missy Higgins and Megan Washington and maybe like a little bit of Regina Spektor. So like singer songwriter girlies. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I have a chaotic story about...

Courtney Ammenhauser: Please. 

Yve Blake: OK I was 13 and I saw Missy Higgins did this gig in Centennial Park, massive park in Sydney. And so we were like 100 metres back from the stage. We were so naughty. We tore away from our moms and we raced to the front and we were right on the barricade watching. And then at the end my friend, shout out to Mari, knew that at the end you've got to like yell at the security gods if you want a guitar pick from stage. So Mari was like, "Give me a guitar pick!" So then I panicked, I wanted a relic and I saw her water bottle on stage. So I asked him to give it to me and I brought it home, this holy relic. And I put it like right on the top of a bookshelf. And I remember when I like finished year 12 and packed up my stuff from my parents house, I found this like ancient half drunk Mount Franklin water bottle. And I was like, what? But it did feel kind of special to touch this thing that she had touched, and she just felt like this kind of magical being. So I always am like, Yeah, I wrote this show because I couldn't relate. But then I think about the water bottle. I'm like, Wait a second.

Courtney Ammenhauser: I spy some of the similarities.

Yve Blake: Yeah.

Courtney Ammenhauser: I have to ask, what happened to the water bottle? 

Yve Blake: Yeah, I did just throw it out, but mad respect to Missy. And then she saw Fangirls last year. Yes. Which was such a full circle moment. It was in Melbourne. She sent me a lovely email and did an Instagram post and I passed away briefly after.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Truly. Well, I'm glad that you've resurrected yourself somehow to join us today. Fangirls, you know, Missy Higgins enjoyed it. It's been enjoyed by many people. It's got a season at the Opera House this year and it's had lots of rave reviews and it's also been picking up a bunch of awards as well. It's won the AWGIE Award for Music Theatre, the Matilda Award for Best Musical, the Sydney Theatre Award for Best Main Stage Musical, and also a Green Room Award as well. You've even done a TED talk about it, but for someone who somehow has not heard of Fangirls, maybe they've heard about in passing but don't know heaps about it, or they might not consider themselves like a musical type of person. Could you explain what the show is about and why this musical is for them?

Yve Blake: So Fangirls follows a 14 year old girl called Edna, and she's in love with a boy called Harry. But the only problem is he is the world's biggest pop star. And what happens in Fangirls is that, Ooh, how do I do this spoiler free? Edna gets an opportunity she never thought she would have in her life. And it's going to require her to do some very dangerous and intense, life changing things without spoiling what happens. Fangirls is like this musical comedy with blockbuster stakes. So because it's a story about being 14 and first love and and stopping at nothing to like get to your crush. I knew the score needed to sound really adrenal, right? So I decided I wanted the score to sound like a pop concert meets rave, also meets church. So, like, the experience of the show itself is like bombastic and huge, and like, feral and like, has these subwoofers in the theatre that will, like, wobble your seats. But yeah, it's like a Trojan horse, so it appears to be this fun camp night out. But it really is an exploration of like the ways that we raise young people and the lies that we tell them about themselves. 

Courtney Ammenhauser: And this kind of bombastic experience and this battle cry for young people came to you in a pretty unusual way, which I'd love to talk to you about. You mentioned it in your TEDx talk that when you're 21, you had a pretty fateful meeting where you met a very special teenager who told you about her husband. Can you take us back to that story?

Yve Blake: I was 21 and I met my friend's little cousin and she was 13. And she told me she had met the man she was going to marry. I thought, okay? 

Courtney Ammenhauser: Huge. 

Yve Blake: Absolutely huge, very organised. Must know more. So I said to her, okay, tell me everything about him. And she looks me dead in the eyes. And she confidently told me that his name was Harry Styles.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Yep.

Yve Blake: Right. So at this point I laugh. Exactly. And I'm like, sure. And she's like, "Do not laugh at me." I'm like, okay, cool, cool, cool. She's like, "No, don't laugh at me. I would slit anyone's throat to be with him." So I have like, I am immediately interested.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Oh yeah, that's commitment 100%. 

Yve Blake: And I'm a writer. I'm like, Oh yeah, I have to make a show about this. So overnight I start researching One Direction fans because One Direction, the band was still together at the time that I started writing the show. I'm so fascinated that I've discovered what feels like a sovereign nation of teenage girls on the Internet and then, like the world shakes. Because overnight one of the members of One Direction, Zayn Malik, leaves the band without warning. You remember?

Courtney Ammenhauser: Yeah, of course.

Yve Blake: Everyone remembers where they were. So I. Of course, I'm like, whoa. Okay, I'm following all of these fans on Twitter, and I see my timeline are up to, with like, people who are just so grievous about it. And then I notice in mainstream news outlets that are covering the story, they're using really interesting words. They're using words like desperate, pathetic, over-the-top, crazy, unhinged, psycho. And it's interesting right, because I look at all this language and I ask myself a question. It never occurred to me in my life before, which was that, you know, if this was a news story about young men but perceived young men being upset about something that had happened in sport, would these journalists be reaching for the same words? And that is really when I knew that I had to make this show. I wanted to explore the question, like, why is it that when we describe enthusiasm being expressed by, like perceived young women, we use all of this like minimising language and we ridicule them and we socially sanction completely different behaviours for young men and young women. So yeah, I was like, Wait, that's so deep. I have to write about that.

Courtney Ammenhauser: I'm going to make some art.

Yve Blake: Yeah, literally.

Courtney Ammenhauser: All right. So this is where the idea of of Fangirls came from, the stories that you've just taken us through. You then pitched the idea to the Australian Theatre for Young People, ATYP, and you became the recipient of the Rebel Wilson Theatre Maker Scholarship. But you didn't know how to write music at the time, which is quite wild considering it's a musical. But you did round up a really killer creative team. Can you tell us about your team?

Yve Blake: Yes, it's kind of chaotic in retrospect. I was 22, 23, and I had this idea that I wanted to make a musical. But the problem was that I didn't and I still don't play a single musical instrument and I have no idea how to read music. So my first step was I went on YouTube and just watched a lot of YouTube tutorials on how to create music on your laptop. So I use a software called Ableton Live, and then from there I spent probably six months on my own writing the music and like I said, I can't play a piano. So I had to kind of use my QWERTY keyboard on my laptop and slowly it's so silly, but like I just had to sit there and like hum out the tune and then press the buttons until I could kind of hear it back. So I realised that that wasn't going to cut the mustard, like that was not going to get me all the way to a musical. I needed a music producer, right? I needed someone who was going to make it sound like an actual pop concert. And I found this guy, David Muratore, but he's like a mad genius. He's amazing. He's won, like, Triple J remix competitions because he just does this thing with sounds or he collages sounds together in these really unexpected ways. But he also knows all the pop tropes. So I got him on board, and then I got this amazing vocal arranger, her name's Alice Chance, and she's like quite fancy in the classical world, or at least from what I can tell. Like, she writes amazing like vocal arrangements and classical arrangements that get played like all the time. She literally makes a living as a composer and she's in her mid twenties. She came on board and I said, How can you take these songs but add like a girl's choir to them, like make us feel like we're in the church of Harry? And then I brought on board Jonathan Ware as my dramaturg, which is a word that everyone always kind of goes, ooh what's a dramaturg? That sounds fake. But he is like, I guess like the story consultant. So while I was writing the scenes and the music and the lyrics, that's like a lot to keep sight of. And he would sit with me and read the drafts and help me make smart edits and go, Oh, you're repeating yourself there. And look, we worked on this for like three, three and a half years before anyone became interested in it. So I often think of them as like my bandmates, you know what I mean, and we would just spend so much time together refining this and then things kind of changed. And suddenly all of these theatre companies and like TV and film companies came knocking because it was, you know, this show about Fangirls. And I guess we didn't ever imagine that it was a commercial idea, but suddenly that sort of changed overnight.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Yeah. And I want to ask you about that because, you know, you create it and, was skipping over a lot, but basically you write it gets heaps of seasons, multiple different theatres, as you say, have come knocking to get a piece of the fan girls puzzle. People love the show. What was that shift like from going, as you describe yourself, a bit of an unknown talent to then having award winning in your bio? 

Yve Blake: I guess the thing that I reflect on a lot is for years, like years and years, it was me and Dave and Johnny and Alice. We had this magical idea that we knew was special. And slowly people started to go, oh, I think that's special, too. And theatre companies became interested. But we were just like all in our early twenties and we had so much to prove. And so the creation of this show began with like dinner table readings around my dinner table, and I would just make pasta for all my friends. And it's like, Can you just read this out loud? I need to hear it. Or like going to Dave's studio above a tire shop and just working for hours and then getting a $5 Domino's Pizza because it's like what we can afford. It's interesting that it went from that to then suddenly all of these companies became interested in it and it had this huge season and it was really surreal. Like when it first came out in 2009, Paige Rattray, the director, did such an extraordinary job and I was in the original season and I remember walking onto the stage for the first time and seeing the set, which is like these two story high LED screens, like a Beyoncé concert, and just being like, how many people made this? So it's been really surreal. And I think like what's been especially wild is that before it came out, my fear honestly is like I know that the people who mostly go to theatre are middle aged, rich white people, to be frank. And I wanted to reach teenagers and I was scared they wouldn't come. I was scared they wouldn't find it. But then, you know, in our original seasons, teenagers started coming and then they started coming back. And then they started bringing signs for the fake boy band in our show. And then last year on the tour, it just like it went to another level. And there were people who came 15 times, like someone got a tattoo of the show. People named their pets after the show, all kinds of things happened. And then there was this meta layer where like people who loved the show found each other specifically on Twitter and created this huge group chat called the FGFG, which is like the Fangirls Fangirls. And then when we went like into lockdown in the second half of last year, I'd go into Twitter and I would see members of the FGFG just like posting pictures of their distanced picnics and pictures of their zoom parties that they were doing and like these ridiculous PowerPoint presentation nights where they'd all jump on a zoom link and then make like a comedy PowerPoint about Fangirls. Like one that I saw was called Why Every Character an ape likes Fangirls is a lesbian, no, I won't be accepting any criticism. And like these kids, I shouldn't say kids. These young people are so funny and industrious and kind of represent everything that inspired me to write the show. So now it's amazing. Like yesterday I went into rehearsals for the Opera House season and it's the first time I've been in rehearsals. It's the first week of week three, so they've been working for two weeks without me and it was so surreal to see this like tightly oiled machine. Everyone knew where they were going. There's like tubs and tubs and tubs of props and like matching silver boots for everyone. And it is, it's very difficult to, like, emotionally comprehend that this started as a word document on my laptop. Like it's yeah, yeah, it's just really special.

Courtney Ammenhauser: But a lot of the inspiration for the show has come from One Direction fans. Harry Styles has famously said that young women's taste is often ridiculed by cultural commentators. But who's to say that their taste is less valid than a 30 year old hipster guy? Why do you think people are so quick to judge stories about young women but are open to consuming content from a man's perspective?

Yve Blake: Kind of feels like what's that word? It starts with P and ends in atriarchy. Is that the word?

Courtney Ammenhauser: I think it, I think I've heard of it.

Yve Blake: Have you heard that word? I feel like it's that word I. That's the question. It's so interesting, isn't it? There was that movie Turning Red that came out and I don't know if you heard about this, but there was like some middle aged male reviewers who wrote about how this Disney film that had been made about a 13 year old girl was frustratingly unrelatable and like there was just a lot of rightful clapback about like, I'm pretty sure everything else is made for you. Yeah. And the like. Why can't you extend your empathy? But you know what's been interesting is like with Fangirls, I've maybe had a bit of fear about that, if I'm honest. It's been interesting as well in the years I've had this experience I've had of telling people about this show, I'll be at a dinner party and I'll describe it to them and some times before I kind of get to the punchline. Like, it's just interesting to observe the interesting comments that people will say like, Oh yeah, but it's different for girls because like, there's something sexual about when they like these pop stars and you know, and when guys like sport, it's not like that. And there's, and then that becomes interesting to me because I feel like we socially sanction like the sexual desires of young men in a completely different way than, than young girls. Like I think about this story someone told me where she, her brother in his room and I think this is like in the nineties had a whole bunch of posters of like women in bikinis or less on his walls. And in her room she put up a poster of Robbie Williams from Take That and he had like some overalls on, but no shirt underneath.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Oh, risky.

Yve Blake: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Her dad came in and took the poster down, said this is completely inappropriate, and she was older than her brother. And I just remember that story and I just think, yeah, like that is the question why do we socially sanction completely different behaviours for young men and women? And like another thing the show really goes into, it's a show like about Fangirls, but it's also just a show about what it's like to grow up in the world when you're being like socialised as a young woman and something I kind of have never gotten over, I'm so obsessed with is, I don't know if you can relate to this, but I feel like when I became a teenage girl, it felt like overnight the world just started yelling at me with like this list of things that I needed to change or modify or upkeep.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Fix all of this.

Yve Blake: Fix it. Those eyebrows. What are you doing?

Courtney Ammenhauser: Those pants? They're wrong.

Yve Blake: The pants are wrong. You need, that is not the correct lip gloss and you need to smell like pink. Get impulse spray now, like, just. I feel that's so interesting. The world yelled at me to consume and modify and that nothing was enough. And also that like, hotness was my superpower. But figuring out how to like, hack the code of hotness was this impossible algorithm. And the show is kind of about that, too. And it was really interesting to see, you know, in the original season when I was in it, how many like dads and granddads would come up to me after the show crying and like, give me a hug? And I'd be like, I'll never forget this guy who I'm guessing was in his seventies, eighties. And he came up to me after the show and gave me a big hug and he's like, "Oh, I was that girl, I was that girl." And I just loved it so much. And there was like this dad that came up to me and he was like, "Wow, I really see my daughter differently." And so it's been exciting to see how it's really captured the hearts of like, different generations has been really beautiful.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Hmm. What are some of the lessons that you've learnt that Fangirls or this process has taught you that you'll take into your next project?

Yve Blake: I think about the early days of this project and how scared I was that people wouldn't get it. And like a big driver for me is that when I was a teenager I fell in love with musical theatre. But like, you know, if you ask anyone their favourite musicals, I'll guarantee you, like, all the biggest ones were made by an all male team. I think back to 23 year old me who started this. What I want to be careful of is now not forgetting that like, the reason that this show became what it was is that we wanted to be feral and weird and different and we didn't want to tick any boxes. And so yeah, like don't, if you're a theatre maker listening to this, don't try and make something that's like something else you've seen. Make your own weird thing that like, maybe no one will get.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Yeah. And I think going back to what you were saying about a typical theatre audience as well, maybe that's the audience because that's who has historically been on stage. But if you make a show that's telling stories about other people, you know, people are going to come see themselves on stage and relate.

Yve Blake: And yeah, I completely, completely agree with that.

Courtney Ammenhauser: You've got a show at the Opera House.

Yve Blake: What the hell?

Courtney Ammenhauser: What the hell? Did you ever think that would happen? 

Yve Blake: No!

Courtney Ammenhauser: How are you feeling about that?

Yve Blake: So excited. No, I'm really I'm really excited. Like I grew up in Sydney, so. This is wild.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Yeah.

Yve Blake: The Opera House is from Keychains at tourist shops. I guess I budgeted emotionally for some stress around this time because, you know, I guess I would have imagined three months ago that like, oh, well, I'll go into rehearsals and I'll see them and there'll be like this little thought in my head of like, ooh, what if I hope they're good enough opening like ooh, I hope they get it right. But then it was crazy because I went into rehearsals yesterday and like, Oh my God, okay, I want to do something with my hands, so I'm going to do some audio description. Mm hmm. Okay. So if I put my hands, like, at my hip, that's where I thought the performers would be when I came in. And then if I put my hand up like my chest, that's where I hope they get to at opening night. And then when I went into the room, my hands like as high as I can reach it, that's where they were. Like this cast. And I'm not just saying this is like ad copy because I'm on a podcast, but genuinely I actually cannot believe what they're doing. And, and, you know, we had to cast a lot of them over Zoom and stuff because of COVID. So, you know, we didn't get to have them in the room and like check chemistry, but they're just like, it's another level. And our original cast, we never knew how we'd replace them. They were so incredible and of course are all unavailable because they've booked like Netflix shows. I think I'm just going to sit there and just like beam and cry. They're just so, so good.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Hell yeah, proud stage mum?

Yve Blake: Yeah, I'm stage mum.

Courtney Ammenhauser: So did you ever imagine that your work would be performed at the Opera House?

Yve Blake: Oh, my God. Well I dreamed about it. Yeah. Like when I was a teenager, I was such a theatre geek. Like, I just loved it, you know like, teenagers don't have disposable income, so I would write to Belvoir and STC, Sydney Theatre Company.

Courtney Ammenhauser: What would you write to them?

Yve Blake: Well I'd just write to them like, can I have some tickets, please. 

Courtney Ammenhauser: Oh, I love how bold that is.

Yve Blake: Yeah, like so. So the way that I did it at Belvoir is I became friends with the front of house manager and then we'd email him and he'd sneak me into shows, which was amazing. And the STC, the Education Department, did like this youth advisory panel of like teenagers who can come in and, like, advise the company on how to make it more teenager friendly. And then the Opera House did that the year after I finished high school, so I would have been like 18. And I sent them like a desperate email being like, Please, I must do this. So we spent this year getting to have these free tickets to the Opera House in exchange for telling them how to make the space more welcoming to teenagers and a space where teenagers could feel like they were at home. And it was my total am so it's so surreal to think that I spent that year walking into this building again and again and being like, Oh, one day I hope I can have a show here. And specifically, though, talking to them endlessly about like, how do we make this space a place where teenagers feel like it's theirs? And now, quite literally, ten years later, to be there doing this is quite spooky looky.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Totally. Like the seed was planted all those years ago. I feel like musical theatre can kind of, you know, get a bit of a reputation for being cheesy for people who aren't necessarily who don't, you know, they don't call themselves musical fans. I do think there's a bit of a barrier there, but it's changing a bit. There's new works coming out aimed at younger people. There's more women or non-binary or gender diverse people working as well. And this show has obviously won a stack of awards and has become part of the zeitgeist. But what do you think brought about that change?

Yve Blake: I think that a lot of the perception around musical theatre being cheesy is that it's like super earnest, right? Or maybe also that, yeah, the roles are kind of narrow and I just think there are so few musicals about like some woman who wants to get married or, you know, like women written by men singing about, like, even though he's terrible to me, I love him no matter what. And I wonder if it's like the girls, the gays in the theys got obsessed with musicals because we love to feel things and then all grew up and went, I'll have a go. And I wonder if. I wonder if that's it, you know what I mean?

Courtney Ammenhauser: Yeah, it's definitely, I think, able to broaden the appeal of musicals as well, having different stories. Do you agree or?

Yve Blake: Oh, yeah, totally. And like I've got a really smart friend, Adam Lenson, who actually wrote a whole book called Breaking Into Song: Why You Shouldn't Hate Musicals. It's such a BOP. But he said this thing that made my jaw fall off my body, he was like, musical theatre is, it's a medium, but we treat it like a genre. And he's like, you can have infinite forms of music, infinite styles of music and infinite, like, styles of theatre. So why can't you have like infinite iterations of musical theatre? He says we always talk about how in musicals, people burst into song when words are not enough, and he's like, That's such an unhelpful, like, incomplete idea, because what if you need to burst into a song when words would be too much or when like words would be wrong, or what if you need to burst into song because you're like gluing together two people who are singing across a 50 year gap, like there's just so many different ways you can use music. A key inspiration for me has been the way that, like teenage girls speak in Australia and the way they go off at the end, every sentence has been like really interesting to me and like putting that into the melodies in the show, also in just like the, the lexicon. So I was tested how Fangirls talk about how they're like actually dead about something happening and they're literally dead like literally plan my funeral. Like I cannot breathe anymore, I'm ceasing to exist. 

Courtney Ammenhauser: Yeah I am deceased. Exactly.

Yve Blake: There's an entire song in the show called Actually Dead, which is just like kind of this wonderful collage of, of amazing things I saw on Twitter like that.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Yeah, that's amazing. You spent so many years working on this show, the better part of your twenties. What is next for you? Have you had any recent chance meetings that have kind of inspired a new idea, like the one when you were 21? 

Yve Blake: Well, how do I answer this question? I'm really lucky that, you know, so Fangirls, it looks like is going to have an international life, fingers crossed. I know. I just I literally just got back from overseas working on an overseas version of it. So cross we cross our fingers and toes and bum hold it. That happens.

Courtney Ammenhauser: I'm actually dead hearing that news.

Yve Blake: Okay me to. Please, please, could that happen? But, you know, with theatre you never know, especially in the midst of a Panasonic. So um.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Truly.

Yve Blake: Truly. So fingers crossed that happens and I'm really excited. So Paige, the director, and I are developing a screen adaptation, so also fingers crossed that happens. That'd be so cool. I know. Thank God the series, please. But then separately, I'm really lucky. Like I've got a bunch of screenwriting gigs and a few new, very, very new ideas that I'm playing with. But I mean, look, like I started writing Fangirls seven years ago, so. These things take a lot of time.

Courtney Ammenhauser: So we're all about highlighting upcoming talent on this podcast. What do you think is up next for musical theatre in Australia as a genre? We kind of touched on it before of the shes, the gays, the theys being like, I'll have a crack.

Yve Blake: Oh my God. I was born ready for this question. I'm going to give you a roll call of just some of the new Australian musical theatre writers I'm obsessed with.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Please. 

Yve Blake: People often talk to me and they're like, Wow, isn't it? Wow. There's no young women out there making musical theatre. And I'm like, Excuse me, shut your mouth. These are the people I'm obsessed with. Everyone look up Vidya Makan. She's an extraordinary writer. She's currently in SIX the musical because she's also what an amazing actress. But look up a song she's written called Hugh Jackman on YouTube. It'll make you laugh and cry. Jules Orcullo is doing an incredible musical called Fraser Babies, look it up, it's extraordinary. Cassie Hamilton is amazing. Gillian Cosgriff, I think, is one of the country's best songwriters, and no one's heard her stuff yet, but it's going to change the game. Jean Tong and Lou Wall, extraordinary. They have a musical they've written together called Flat Earth, is the musical, someone programme it you cowards. Jordy Shea and Victoria Falconer-Prichard are developing this amazing musical called Lola that's like about this Filipino grandma and her granddaughter. And listen, hijinks ensue. It's incredible. I want to shout out Samantha Andrew, Mel O'Brien, who is in Fangirls, but also an extraordinary songwriter. It's illegal that she's good at both of those things. Oh, my God. There are so many more. I'm going to absolutely kick myself for forgetting. But there's just so, so, so many great writers out there. Mags McKenna is extraordinary, they're in Jagged Little Pill.

Courtney Ammenhauser: I saw Jagged Little Pill last week and was blown away in You Oughta Know.

Yve Blake: Okay, everyone knows that they're like this massive star of musicals. But like, is everyone aware that they also write absolute bops and bangers? Incredible. Also, Laura Murphy has written The Lovers, which is about to come out at Bell Shakespeare. And I'm truly shaking to see and I'm so, so excited. Hannah May Reilly made an incredible musical called The Dead with Meg Washington earlier this year, which was wall to wall bangers. 

Courtney Ammenhauser: And another one of your idols. 

Yve Blake: Yes. Oh, who also saw Fangirls.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Go, oh, my God.

Yve Blake: I literally.

Courtney Ammenhauser: Missy and Megan?

Yve Blake: I know I've absolutely passed away. We just need Regina now, come through. Anyway. Yes. If you are someone in this industry with power and you are looking for new, incredible musical theatre writers, I have a whole list. DM me.

Courtney Ammenhauser: You can DM Yve Blake at Y-v-e B-l-a-k-e. In the next episode we’ll be hearing from Mahdi Mohammadi, co-diviser and actor in Dorr-e Dari: A Poetic Crash Course in the Language of Love.

Mahdi Mohammadi: Our pronouns in Persian language, doesn’t have any gender differences. So your lover could be a he or she or whatever form of gorgeousness you desire. 

Courtney Ammenhaurser: I’m Courtney Ammenhauser and this has been Up Next, a podcast from Sydney Opera House. From Audiocraft, the show is produced by Bernadette Phương Nam Nguyễn, mixed by Glen Morrow and executive producer is Selena Shannon. For Sydney Opera House, Head of Digital Programming is Stuart Buchanan, and Digital Programming Coordinator is Christie Yip. The Up Next theme music is by Milan Ring. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.