Tony nominated and Drama Desk Award winning composer Grant Olding has been writing music for film, television, theatre and dance for the last eighteen years.
Brought up in Kent, Grant had his first taste of a life in film and theatre aged seven when he was cast in the Jim Henson movie The Dark Crystal and in the same year appeared at the National Theatre in Danton's Death. He continued acting, playing many leading roles in the West End in Peter Pan, Oliver, March of the Falsettos and Hamlet at the National Theatre with Judi Dench and Daniel Day-Lewis. Leaving school at sixteen he performed in the original West End production of Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods, and from there went to the Central School of Speech and Drama to study acting.
In the background Grant was always writing and performing music either with bands or as a solo singer/songwriter. When he was performing in Nicholas Hytner's original production of Miss Saigon at Theatre Royal Drury Lane he wrote his first musical and soon after stopped acting to concentrate on composing full time.
Now working from his studio between the Black Mountains and the Golden Valley, Grant is often brought on board projects early to help shape the narrative as well as craft the music.
Highlights in theatre include his many collaborations with Nicholas Hytner both at the Bridge Theatre: TWO LADIES, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM, ALYS ALWAYS, YOUNG MARX and at the National Theatre: TIMON OF ATHENS, TRAVELLING LIGHT, GREAT BRITAIN, ENGLAND PEOPLE VERY NICE, THE ALCHEMIST, SOUTHWARK FAIR, THE MAN OF MODE and most famoulsy writing the music and lyrics to ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS, the National Theatre's smash hit comedy starring James Corden, which ran for over three years in the West End, on Broadway and played two international tours. Grant lead the onstage band The Craze, performing the songs for the first two years of the show and those songs can still be heard in productions all over the world.
Grant also has written many scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company including THE ROVER, THE FANTASTIC FOLLIES OF MRS RICH, THE HYPOCRITE and DON QUIXOTE and OPPENHEIMER which both transferred to the West End.
In 2013 Grant wrote the songs and score for his first animated feature film SAVING SANTA starring Martin Freeman and Tim Curry.
For television, highlights include scoring three series' of UPSTART CROW for the BBC, starring David Mitchell, Mark Heap and Gemma Whelan and two series of MARLEY'S GHOSTS for UKTV Gold. Also for the BBC he has scored sitcoms including I WANT MY WIFE BACK and THE BLEAK OLD SHOP OF STUFF, as well as one off films like A CHRISTMAS CAROL GOES WRONG and THE PACT.
In 2016 Grant's first full length dance piece JEKYLL & HYDE premiered at the Old Vic Theatre, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie. An album of music from the score was released on Air Edel Records and is available from all the usual digital platforms.
As well as writing music for theatre, film, television and dance Grant remains a prolific songwriter - writing and performing his own singer/songwriter material. His first album MONOGRAM #1 is available now on Bandcamp and he is currently recording the follow up WITH WHATEVER COMES TO HAND.
Grant was resident composer at the Bridewell Theatre 2003/04 and is an Associate Artist at Curve Theatre in Leicester.
Grant wrote a song for the animated tv special Master Moley By Royal Invitation, which aired on Warner Bros' Boomerang channel on November 28th 2020 and played throughout December.
This heart-warming animation from director Leon Joosen, Emmy award winning writer Ricky Roxburgh and producer Tony Nottage (all three of whom worked on Saving Santa with Grant), stars Warwick Davis as Master Moley, Gemma Arterton as Mona Lisa, Richrd E Grant as the Gardener, as well as Julie Walters, Charles Dance and Togo Igawa.
Master Moley is the brainchild of James Reatchlous who is an executive producer on the show and Grant was honoured to write the music and lyrics to the Snuffle Shuffle for the special, sung by Mark Kingswood.
Watch the Snuffle Shuffle below.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Grant was back at the Bridge Theatre in November 2020 to help bring this new adaptation of Charles Dickens' classic Christmas tale to life. With Nicholas Hytner directing Simon Russell Beale, Patsy Ferran and Eben Figueiredo in his own adaptation of Dicken's novel this five star production brought some much needed joy to critics and audiences alike.
Made in 2016 at the Old Vic theatre this thrilling piece of dance theatre was my third collaboration with Drew McOnie and our first full length dance piece. With a searingly hot company of dancer/actors, a phenomenal band, dangerously sexy designs from Soutra Gilmour, ultra cool lighting by Richard Howell, and visceral sound design from Sebastian Frost, all coming together under the laser sharp storytelling of director/choreographer Drew McOnie.
In 2020 for one week Jekyll & Hyde was streamed to 40 thousand viewers on YouTube, finding a whole new audience for this exciting dance piece.
At the start of lockdown the National Theatre started a new initiative - NT Live at Home whereby certain NT Live productions were made availble to stream free for one week on YouTube.
The first play the NT chose to release was One Man Two Guvnors, and so for a week in April 2020 the original hit National Theatre production was beamed into homes around the world and a whole new set of people got to experience the joy and energy of James Corden and the original cast.
Over 2.6 million people watched One Man Two Guvnors that week and that show alone raised over $89,000 for the NT in a fundraiser that ran alongside the stream.
Inspired by all the new love for The Craze and Grant's skiffle music, the original members reunited remotely to make some videos of songs from the show entitled "The Lockdown Skiffle Sessions". And excitingly on July 3rd the original cast album got it's first UK digital release from Air Edel Records and is now available to buy from iTunes, Amazon, Apple Music and to stream from Spotify.
So strap yourself in and skiffle on!
Currently postponed due to Covid-19
Set twelve years before Philip Pullman's epic His Dark Materials trilogy, The Book of Dust - La Belle Sauvage will be Grant's fifth show at the Bridge Theatre
Two young people and their dæmons, with everything at stake, find themselves at the centre of a terrifying manhunt. In their care is a tiny child called Lyra Belacqua, and in that child lies the fate of the future. And as the waters rise around them, powerful adversaries conspire for mastery of Dust: salvation to some, the source of infinite corruption to others.
Seventeen years after his ground breaking production of His Dark Materials at the National Theatre, Nicholas Hytner returns to Pullman’s parallel universe to direct a gripping adaptation by Bryony Lavery.
Premiering in September 2021
Grant's fourth collaboration with Olivier winning choreographer Drew McOnie will be the full length ballet Merlin for the Northern Ballet Company, with Grant's score played live at every performance by the Northern Ballet Sinfonia.
With costume and set design by Colin Richmond, lighting by Anna Watson and illusions by Chris Fisher this will be a truly magical evening of dance.
Directed by Nicholas Hytner and starring Gwendoline Christie, Oliver Chris & Hammed Animashaun; this immersive production opened to five star reviews and played to full houses at the Bridge Theatre in London through the summer. Happily the production was filmed by NT Live and broadcast into hundreds of cinemas worldwide.
Playing through the summer of 2019 at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe, this rarely performed Ben Jonson play had a score and even a few songs written by Grant and performed live by a three piece band.
Directed by Blanche MacIntyre this riotous play transformed the usually candlelit theatre into a hall of mirrors, complete with row's of pig carcasses, giant Pikachu's and a seemingly enormous cast of ne'er-do-wells.
Playing at the Bridge Theatre through the autumn of 2019, this fantastic new play by Nancy Harris featured an unsettling score produced by Grant.
Set in a "Black Mirror" like alternate universe, the play starred Zoe Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitesic in two powerhouse performances as the first ladies of America and France and marked Grant's twelfth collaboration with director Nicholas Hytner.
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