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Profile: The Gardening Club - A New Musical

Monday 22 April 2024

Profile: The Gardening Club - A New Musical

The Gardening Club is a new musical written by two final year LIPA Songwriting & Performance students – Bella Wright and Carleigh McRitchie. We caught up with Bella and Carleigh to hear more about the musical, their inspirations, and the journey to the Edinburgh Festival.

Q1: Could you tell us a little about your new musical, The Gardening Club?

The Gardening Club is a brand new musical that takes place in the 1960s in Georgia, USA. Six girls start an illegal, top-secret drug ring to distribute the birth control pill, using their gardening club as a cover-up. The Gardening Club is a taboo story about pleasure, self-discovery, shame, first times, and even harder pills to swallow. The Gardening Club explores the world of identity, healthcare transparency and gender equality in the 1960s – issues that are still relevant to today and will echo in the years to come, making The Gardening Club a timeless tale.

Q2: You recently premiered the show at LIPA – how did the performance go, and what are your next plans for the show?

Photo of a performance from the 'Gardening Club'

The Gardening Club was a sold-out success in Liverpool! One West End/Broadway producer said:

"Highly impressed by the new pop-rock musical I saw in Liverpool last night The Gardening Club is a refreshing story about women’s rights to choose, love, friendship. Not too preachy, the script manages to be strongly feminist without bashing the opposite sex! It’s compelling, timely, and a lot of fun. With a talented cast, great music (the opening song will stay with you for many years), and a lot of heart, this project - still in development - has real legs and a bright future" - Sabrina Wallace.

The Gardening Club is officially going beyond to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where it will play from August 12th-17th.

Q3: Who are some of the key creative influencers on your work?

Our main creatives influences for this project stemmed from Sara Bareilles' work on Waitress, along with other musicals like Heathers, Dear Evan Hansen and Spring Awakening

Q4: How have your experiences at LIPA shaped your development as creatives?

LIPA fostered an atmosphere for us to meet many other like-minded, ambitious creatives that made this dream possible. Without the George Harrison Workshop and talents of other LIPA students, The Gardening Club wouldn't have been able to shine! 


Carleigh grew up and out of a small town in New Hampshire, and now writes music as a solo artist and gigs with her band around Liverpool. Fun facts about Carleigh include: cheffing it up in the kitchen, being scarily good at tarot card readings and logging films on Letterboxd. 

Bella grew up in Montana, training in musical theatre and dance. Now, she's studying to be a composer making The Gardening Club a dream come true. When she's not playing gigs with her band or cooking with her roommates, she's spent the past two years with Carleigh exploring the world of 1960’s Savannah, Georgia.

You can book tickets to the show in Edinburgh, or find out more by following The Gardening Club on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.