Home Grown: Striking while the iron’s hot

So often we’re told in this industry that making our own work is crucial to the longevity of our success, and so often few of us have the courage to take this advice. Just under two years ago, Ben Nicholson and Nick Hedger took the initiative to actually create their own work, and thus Home Grown was born. As a song-writing duo themselves, Ben and Nick have created a company dedicated to supporting, developing and promoting Australian musical theatre, contributing immensely to the thriving development of local works. Its initiatives range from various concerts at Chapel off Chapel, to the Sheet Music Store on the Home Grown website.

While these concerts have generally been for a variety of Australian writers, this Sunday 6th March will launch Home Grown’s new Songbook Series: a showcase of works from one of Australia’s most prolific writers. I have the privilege of joining an immensely talented line-up for this launch at Chapel off Chapel, celebrating the works of Craig Christie, and coinciding with the release of his new songbook. So this week, I decided to share my coffee with these two entrepreneurs, Ben and Nick, and hear more about the inception and development of their initiative.

Humble Beginnings

Nick Hedger and Ben Nicholson: the faces behind Home Grown
Nick Hedger and Ben Nicholson: the faces behind Home Grown

“We were living in an apartment complex in Hawthorn, having just moved to Melbourne from Perth, and our neighbours ended up getting really cross at us for singing so much late at night. So we started talking about trying to find a place where we could get together with friends, who we knew were also playing rockstars in their bedrooms, and share some songs and ideas in a casual, supportive environment celebrating original musical theatre. It quickly became clear that the first step would be to get everyone out of their bedrooms and into the open, hence Home Grown was born. Since then it has really grown to be a wonderful celebration of creativity and it really is a pure joy to be part of a community of such passionate people in such an exciting and quickly evolving area.”


Home Grown Highlights

“We’re incredibly proud of the little family that has grown around Home Grown, it really is a privilege to play a small role in facilitating the work of such talented creative people. But if we had to pick one particular thing, right now it would be the Sheet Music Store on the Home Grown website. Through that we have been able to make original Australian MT material available to the public on an unprecedented level. It has been a complete joy to watch the sales steadily climb as Home Grown material reaches more and more people all over the country.”


The Songbook Series

“The Home Grown Songbook Series is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on some of our countries more prolific writers at a more in-depth, one-on-one level. Craig Christie is a natural fit to kick us off, as his musical, Eurobeat, is the single most licensed work of Australian Musical Theatre around the world to date. We look forward to having at least two spotlight events a year and have exciting plans to bring the music of Australia’s most loved writers directly to audiences. We hope that the Songbook Series will stand as a celebration of the cream of the crop of Australian Musical Theatre.”

“…it just goes to demonstrate how much audiences are hungry for Australian-made stories on Australian stages”

Rapid Development

“Initially we weren’t even sure if Home Grown would have enough interest to sustain one event. Let alone the regular event it has become. Home Grown completely surprised us with the momentum it generated in such a short amount of time, but it just goes to demonstrate how much audiences are hungry for Australian-made stories on Australian stages. It has been this electric atmosphere surrounding Home Grown and the people who love it, which has really been an incredible driving force for us to keep going.”


Advice for budding entrepreneurssongbook poster

“Theatre is meant to be shared, so get out there and show some people! A lot of the reason we started Home Grown initially comes back to how many people we knew who were writing good, promising stuff but hiding it away in their bedrooms. If you are brave and start letting your work fly then you will really have the ball rolling in a useful way. Also make sure you get out there and see other new work. Apart from supporting fellow battlers, you will also learn heaps!”


Home Grown’s Songbook Series will be launched at 7.30, this Sunday 6th March, at Chapel off Chapel, Little Street, Prahran.

Tickets at the door, or visit chapeloffchapel.com.au

 For more information, visit homegrownaus.com

Joel Granger

Born in the land of sheep and hobbits, Joel Granger moved to Australia to study at WAAPA's Music Theatre course, class of 2015. Currently playing the role of Elder McKinley in the Australian tour of 'The Book of Mormon' tour, his other stage and screen credits include 'She Loves Me', 'Brigadoon', 'Sweeney Todd', 'Please Like Me' and 'True Story with Hamish & Andy.' He would like to say he enjoys long walks on the beach, but his ginger hair and freckled skin means he actually avoids sunshine as much as possible. Follow Joel on instagram at: @joelgranger_

Joel Granger

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