Superstar Summer

Jon Gingell teaches guitar at Southampton University as well as working in theatre as performer, programmer and copyist.  He is a Southampton Music graduate.

Over the summer break, I have been dividing my time between theatre work in Paris, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre and the National Theatre, and live gigs on the european blues festival circuit with American singer-songwriter Earl Thomas.

In Paris I played guitar, ukulele and banjo for Damon Albarn’s musical at the magnificent Théâtre du Châtelet for a fortnight’s run. The show did very well in front of a French audience, and the addition to the band of a very fine string quartet lifted the music no end.

At Regent’s Park, I worked as keyboard programmer and copyist on a critically-acclaimed new version of Jesus Christ Superstar. The goal was to bring the musical back to its roots in early seventies rock music, necessitating Hammond organs, analogue synths, electric pianos and so on. The run was a great success and the band sounded in fine fettle!

Back at the National Theatre I have been working with devised theatre company Complicite on their new musical, A Pacifist’s Guide To The War On Cancer, which toured to Manchester and Exeter before beginning its run in London. Again, I provided keyboard programming and copying, as well as being the guitarist on the show. It is a challenging piece about life with a cancer diagnosis and requires a lot of stylistic bases to be covered. It has also been great fun to play with renowned drummer Phil Gould (ex-Level 42) in the band.

(L-R) Jon Gingell, Earl Thomas and Tommy Hare. (credit: Chris Cooper)

Live gigs over the summer with Earl Thomas included festivals in Focsani (Romania), Bliuzo Naktys (Lithuania), and UK festivals in Colne and Ealing. Video below — a great band to be part of, primarily in allowing me the luxury of many a guitar solo each night!