My passion for wildlife was stimulated in my teenage years, mainly thanks to my Mum (a biology teacher) who made me look at the world differently and being inspired by writers such as Paul Colinvaux. This early interest developed into biological research in my 20s, when I did practical conservation work in places such as the Comores and Mongolia.
Today, any free time I have I spend pottering around the flatlands of East Anglia or escaping to our hut on the Northumberland coast looking for wildlife and castles with my wife and children.
I studied Biological Sciences at Oxford and Conservation at UCL, and worked at Wildlife and Countryside Link before spending five years as Conservation Director at Plantlife.
I joined the RSPB as Head of Government Affairs in 2004, became Head of Sustainable Development in 2006, before becoming Conservation Director in 2011.
We heard late on Friday that a West End producer is keen to stage a musical about the RSPB. Details are currently a little sketchy but we do know that auditions will start in three weeks. The hope is that the show will be aired in a regional theatre (perhaps the Cambridge Corn Exchange given its close proximity to Sandy) prior to a possible transfer to the West End stage.
This is very exciting for us.
We understand that the show is still in development but the story follows the life and times of a budding birder who lands his dream job with the RSPB and then follows his journey from wetland advisor to political advocate. The finale is a showdown with the Prime Minister of the day over a proposed airport to be developed on an internationally important protected area. Rings any bells?
We know little about the music but we understand that the centrepiece will be an adaption of the Village People's YMCA. This will be sung by the family of the young naturalist before he heads off to work at the Lodge.
It's fun to go to the R-S-P-B; it's fun to go to the R-S-P-B; They have everything, for the pleasure of birds; nature lessons for boys and girls.
We expect to issue an official announcement tomorrow and hope that it will do great things for raising the profile of our work and inspire a new generation to take an interest in nature conservation.
With auditions just three weeks away, we need to attract a fabulous cast. Please do spread the word. I may even audition myself. I have unfinished business with musicals having failed to land the lead role of Tony in West Side Story when I was 16. And I am due a sabbatical.
If you are keen to take part - simply email firstname.lastname@example.org. Our musical theatre department will be handling all enquiries and I will, of course, keep you posted of any developments.
What do you think about the idea of RSPB The Musical? Will you be auditioning?
It would be great to hear your views.
I think the cast list is coming along well. Thank you all for volunteering... even you redkite...
Ah ha... in the mid 80's I inspired to Greg Cullen to write a children's play re Red Kites and egg collectors, it did rather well.....egg collecting is a theme that might be useful to cover also; although there are many. It toured quite well for a while.
Obviously a long time in gestation. Saw the original attempt around Christmas 2010 with 'Birds the Word' starring a certain MA. I hear he's practising hard for the audition!
What a great idea and with some good tunes it could capture the public imagination. I am afraid I won't be auditioning though, as my singing ability is generally described as on a par with a crow with tonsilitis.