Killing it! Luke Saydon, the award-winning Maltese composer, is totally slaying it abroad
Malta has got to be proud of all her locals who are slaying it abroad, and one such person is Luke Saydon. Luke is a Maltese award-winning UK-based composer, musical director and theatre maker (phew!) that is currently involved in a number of projects overseas. We spoke to Luke about where it all began and what he’s up to at the moment.
What led to the big move
So, what led Luke to pack his bags and move to London? “It’s one of those things that you daydream about when you’re young and think will never happen. But by some lucky chance, it does!” Luke says.
Luke also shares how he got this fantastic opportunity to move and work in the UK. “It was after my first musical at the Teatru Manoel in Malta, The Three Sunsets (co-created with Denise Mulholland). The creative director of the UK company Chickenshed was in the audience without me knowing (thank goodness). After opening night, he offered me an internship with his company. I finished off my science university degree and was on a plane the following day.”
“That internship became a training program, which became a permanent role for me as musical director for the company’s branch in Kensington and Chelsea. Fast forward three and a half years, and I now direct the company’s program of early years theatre. Who knew? The ride has been wonderful, and it is still teaching me so much.”
What’s London life like for Luke? “London has been very kind to me. I’ve had non-stop work and commissions as a composer and musical director since I moved here. I feel very blessed and lucky,” he says, revealing that he’s working with some top London museums and institutions. “My current roles have me working with over 400 people a week, bringing music and theatre to the general public, to hard to reach communities and also in professional theatres.” Sounds like hectic fun!
“Living and working in London is equally thrilling as it is stimulating. Besides expensive rents and long train commutes, London is everything you hope it is,” Luke admits. “People walk with a purpose here. It’s a city that brings together people from all over. Opportunities seem to have no limit. If you fuel these opportunities with ambition it creates one massive adventure.”
“I currently write and perform theatre and musical shows for children and families. These shows are produced by companies such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Museum of London and Chickenshed Theatre Company,” he says, telling us what he’s up to at the moment. “Not only do these performances introduce young people to the world of theatre, but they’re also free. It makes theatre accessible to families who might not necessarily have the means to pay for (a usually rather expensive) London theatre ticket.”
But wait, there’s much more to what Luke does, and we can’t imagine how he fits all this in one week! “I also musically direct four community choirs. Two pop choirs for young people, a vocal ensemble and a choir for elderly people living with dementia. My youngest audience member is a 2-month-old baby, and my oldest student is a 96-year-old. The music I create I get to directly share with these communities. The job becomes such a rewarding one,” Luke shares.
Luke tells us what his role in his various positions is, in essence, all about. “I simply make theatre and music. I’m not solving world crises or saving lives. But a passion so simple has now developed to something so inspiring. All my work has an artistic vision of bringing theatre and music to marginalised sections of society, communities in crisis as well as professional settings. I have been lucky enough to have had my music professionally produced and performed in both Malta and the UK - in venues including the V&A Museum, the Royal Albert Hall, the Old Vic, the Museum of London, Hyde Park and with both UK and Maltese National Theatres.”
Advice from the legend himself
“My advice (if I’m even qualified to give any) is to really listen. Listen to what the industry wants and needs, listen to an opportunity that comes disguised as something else, and most importantly listen to what you really want to do and not what’s expected of you,” he advises.
“It’s a joy being in this industry. Every artist has been told in the past that this industry is not enough of a sustainable job. I’m the sort of weird character who gets motivated by such a challenge. Artists work together, create beautiful art, and prove these myths wrong on a daily basis. It takes time and energy, but when it comes together… man is it worth everything!”
Luke’s work has been produced in venues such as the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Museum of London, the Royal Albert Hall, the Lyric Theatre, the Maltese National Theatre and the Battersea Arts Centre and has been recognised by the Maltese National Arts Awards. If you ever get a chance to catch one of Luke’s productions, don’t miss out!