Theme Park Fan: The Musical is an ambitious online collaborative project, featuring over 25 people from the UK theme park industry. The musical, which will be released on YouTube, tells the story of Jamie who simply wants to be accepted within the theme park community but has to learn valuable lessons before he can achieve his goal.
The 80-minute musical features 13 original songs. Everything to do with the project – from the cast to the logo and set design – has been provided by people within the attractions community. It will be released on February 6th at 7.30 pm GMT on Nick Hutson’s channel.
The project is the brainchild of Nick Hutson, a composer, lyricist, arranger and broadcaster. He works in both musical theatre and theme park space. His theme park compositions are featured at Alton Towers and Chessington World of Adventures in the UK; Six Flags in Mexico, and Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia.
“The idea was to come together at a time when we couldn’t bring people together physically,” says Hutson. “It started off a small project but, as more and more people wished to get involved, it grew organically from there. Everyone involved – whether it’s the cast, cameos, actors, musicians and designers – are part of the industry or fans of it.”
Raising funds for mental health charity CALM
As well as providing a boost for fans missing their favourite theme parks, the project is also raising funds for UK-based mental health charity CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably). The charity is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under 45. It provides support for anyone, regardless of gender. It also offers bereavement support and runs campaigns tackling stereotypes of masculinity, suicide, and mental health.
So far Theme Park Fan has raised over £700, including a large donation from Disney composer Alan Menken.
Aroma Prime adds sensory immersion
The musical hopes to make the experience of Theme Park Fan even more immersive. It will do so by adding the scent of a theme park to the experience. “We’ve worked with Aroma Prime, the leading provider of scents for theme parks and scare attractions to create a Blackpool inspired smell that people can buy to enhance their listening experience,” says Nick Hutson.
Aroma Prime provides scents for a huge range of attractions, including SEA LIFE, Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, and Warwick Castle.
“The strong essence of the Blackpool ocean is carried by the wind, splattering against vast roller coasters of wood and steel,” says Aroma Prime. “You take a whiff and know that the theme park opening weekend has begun!” The scent majors on the scent of the sea, overlaid with hints of old salty wood. The aroma oil starts at £13.99 for a 25ml bottle and all profits go to CALM.
Evolution of a project
Nick Hutson first wrote the comedy song ‘I’m a Theme Park Fan’ back in 2018. “If I were to rewind back to then, I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be here now, two and a half life-changing years later, with you about to listen to a musical based around it,” he says. “I was always being asked for the next version of the song – but I couldn’t write another song like it… could I? Turns out, I could… so I wrote 16 more.”
Hutson worked with Owen Evans and Ryan Nixon on ideas for songs and script through the spring and summer of 2020. The project came together in the winter of 2020/21, recording remotely under government guidelines, and directed by Dylan Lee. “We all truly believe that we’ve created the largest (and most immersive) community event made for and by the UK Theme Park Community,” says Hutson.
To donate to CALM
Theme Park Fan – The Musical’s JustGiving page can be found at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/themeparkfan
CALM provides a free and anonymous helpline (0800 58 58 58) and web chat (5 pm-12 am daily). These are staffed by trained professionals. https://www.thecalmzone.net/