Future Productions

An Essay on Musical Expression.

The Life  and Times of Charles Avison  18th century Composer.


This our latest project is based on the life and times of Charles Avison who’s Essay on Musical Expression first published in 1752, and recognized as the first work of it’s kind on musical criticism in England, caused much controversy.

William Hayes, Professor of Music at Oxford, took particular exception to Avison’s views and published his objections . Avison  replied with ‘tongue in cheek ‘good humour.
Avison was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1709 and apart from a short stay in London in and around 1734 he returned to his native Newcastle to take up the post of organist at St. John’s in June 1735 and shortly after added the organist’s post at St. Nicholas Church as well. Now Newcastle Cathedral, at the time St. Nichols’ was the third largest parish church in the country, boasting an organ larger than that of Durham Cathedral. Avison remained at St. Nicholas’ for the rest of his life.


The bulk of Avison’s compositions consist of some fifty concerti grossi published in six sets between 1747 and 1769 the year before his death, and the overall style is faithful to that of his teacher, Germiniani.

Avison’s lived an incredibly industrious and influential life. Of his personality, Charles Burney stated that Avison was ‘an ingenious and polished man, esteemed and respected by all who knew him, and an elegant writer upon his art’.

Our play will concentrate of the character of Charles Avison justifying his essay, and then looking at the possible reasons why he decided to live and work in his native Newcastle, despite many offers to take up prestigious positions in other parts of the country.


Avison’s music together with that of his contemporaries  will be an integral part of the play and it is intended to have a small ensemble of musicians on stage with the actors.

We have generously been offered St. Marys Heritage centre in Gateshead as a suitably historic venue for MOSTRA and we are looking to workshop the script this summer with projected perfomaces in late October early November 2010.

Any musicians who might be interested in this project are cordially invited to contact us.