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ED FRINGE: INTERVIEW | Stroud and Notes talks Public - The Musical

Photo Credit: Jonny Ruff & Pleasance

Plunge into the pop-rock world of Public–The Musical, exploring identity, connection and compassion, all set to an electrifying new score.

Winner of the Pleasance’s Charlie Hartill Fundand VAULT Origins Award, this witty and sensitive new musical is created by queer-led theatre collective Stroud and Notes.

Through catchy bops and heartfelt ballads, Public–The Musical runs the gamut of contemporary concerns It candidly explores gender identity, the clogged world of toxic masculinity, allyship, the climate crisis, social media and more as these four strangers have their patience pushed to the limit.

I got the chance to speak to the Stoud and Notes team to find out more about the show and to also find out how it feels to be performing at Fringe 2023.

Photo Credit: Jonny Ruff & Pleasance


What is Public - The Musical about? 

Public - The Musical is about four strangers who find themselves trapped in a gender-neutral public bathroom for one hour. The show looks at communication, compassion and conversation and how if we all try a little harder at all three, life might be that bit easier.

What gave you the inspiration for the show? 

We surround ourselves with like-minded people, we’re fed what we want to see on social media, and all of this creates an ‘us’ and ‘them’. What if these four characters are trapped and have no choice but to try and find a way through to each other? 

How would you describe the music of the show? 

It’s an electrifying pop/rock score but doesn’t stay within any set parameters. There’s Americana influence, soul, R&B… it really is an eclectic soundtrack. Every song is different and stays in your head for the next ten days! 

What was the writing process like? 

The whole process has been massively collaborative. Kyla, Natalie and Hannah have co-written the book and Kyla, along with Natalie and Olivia have all had a part to play in writing the songs. Workshopping the musical has been key to finding authentic dialogue for the four characters. We’ve drawn on honest and frank discussions from our own lives along with our amazing actors to create

something that will connect with audiences. 

What do the Stroud and Notes team aim to do when writing and developing new work? 

Our aim is to create honest and compassionate work. Both onstage and off- from audition room to rehearsal room to stage, we want to make what can be a challenging industry a little kinder. Stories that are relatable, characters who are flawed and music that reaches even the most convincing ‘I hate musicals’ punter.

Photo Credit: Jonny Ruff & Pleasance

What is your aim for Public? What do you want the audience to learn? 

Simply, that we all need to try and have the hard conversations. It’s ok to get things wrong, but if we are all trying and acting with compassion, the world (slash public bathroom) becomes a much kinder place.

What is the show's target audience?

Cliche incoming… everyone. We all know these characters, we’re all guilty of getting things wrong and jumping to conclusions. It will definitely resonate with the queer community and musical theatre fans especially, but we truly believe there is something for everyone in this show. 

How do you feel performing at this year's Fringe? 

An equal measure of gut-wrenching fear and pure excitement! 

Favorite part of the show? 

My favourite part is the song Missing Pieces, sung by Andrew. Perhaps the character we’ve disliked the most, who’s gotten the most wrong, he finally opens up about the reasons behind his toxic traits. ‘It’s not an excuse’ he acknowledges, but it’s a reminder that we’ve all got our stuff going on behind closed doors

Describe Public - The Musical in one sentence!

A show filled with laughter and a whole lotta heart.

Photo Credit: Jonny Ruff & Pleasance

Kyla Stroud comments, "The fact we’re debuting this show at Edinburgh Fringe, less than a year after coming up with the initial idea, is a testament to the incredible hard work from team Stroud & Notes and the belief we all have in this piece of work. The conversations in this show are relevant and important in the world right now, and what better way to get them out there than through a musical!"

Public the Musical plays at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe from August 2nd till August 28th - see below for full show details.

Photo Credit: Jonny Ruff & Pleasance

  • Public–The Musical

  • - Wednesday 2nd–Monday 28th August 2023 (not 9th, 21st), 18:30

  • - Captioned: Thursday 17th August

  • - Pleasance Courtyard (Pleasance Two), 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh,

  • - Run time: 1 Hour

  • - Ages 14+, contains strong language

Previews: £8 Weekday: £15 (£13.50) Weekend: £16 (£14.50)

Tickets are available from


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