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This is a showcase page for the songs and the story of Engineering Paradise the Musical, a new work for the stage based on part of my (David Gardiner's) 2011 novel Engineering Paradise. The musical was created in a very unusual way and is in the Public Domain so that no Performing Rights fees are payable for producing it and a potential Director would have complete artistic freedom to adapt or amend the script to suit his or her specific requirements.

For more information, including an account of the work's unusual genesis and also a free download of the original longer version of the script, please visit the page that started it all.

Although it has many lighter moments this is at heart a rather dark musical set in the war-and-hatred-torn Belfast of the 1960s and early 70s. It is dedicated to the memory of the approximately 3,500 people who lost their lives in these 'troubles'.

It's essentially a coming-of-age teenage love story set against this background, and a major theme is what we would now call 'radicalisation'. A schoolboy without any strong views becomes seduced into IRA membership because of a love of pirate radio and solving technical problems. Seeing it all as an interesting game he makes a Faustian bargain from which there is no escape. This general theme could hardly be more topical.

Shortened Versions

Length has been the biggest problem with this play from the outset. Although it covers only about the first 25% of the original novel and has undergone repeated edits and cuts (which is why the song numbers no longer run in sequence), no matter how hard I have tried to edit it down it has always come out much too long.

However, I think I may have had a 'Eureka Moment' as a result of some anonymous notes that some very kindly person put through my letterbox, along with a dog-eared copy of the original (hopelessly long) script. Whoever you are, many thanks. I believe that you've solved my problem!

The new idea is to use the 'GIRL' character, a teenage 'Lady of the Night' who isn't named in the script, as a narrator throughout the play, so that the less dramatic bits of the story can be narrated by her rather than acted out, saving a great deal of stage time and lines to be learned, etc. She was a very popular character with everyone who read the work, and several people had remarked that she should be given a bigger part. I shied away from this, because a bigger part sounded like even more overall length, and that was the last thing I wanted. But allowing her to narrate a great deal of the story, as well as offering a larger platform for her wit and quirky take on the developing civil war, actually helps a great deal to condense everything down. A 'Win-Win' modification.

I have removed the links to the previous versions of the script because I have come to realise that they were causing confusion. If anybody wants to look at them just email me and I will be happy to send you the links. I would recommend that you read first the newest version in which the GIRL character narrates. This I believe to be the most practical version for stage presentation – hopefully to supercede all others. I have converted it to PDF format as the Word file was not opening properly on some people's devices. Here it is (at last). I think it's short enough and polished enough to work well as a stage production:

Engineering Paradise the Musical PDF

Engineering Paradise the Musical
Complete Script

If you read the script while online you will find that each song title (highlighted in yellow) will take you to a page where you can play or download a demo version of the song. The demo versions were sent in by email from kindly singers and musicians all over the world, as a result of which the technical quality is inconsistent. The demo versions of the songs are also accessible on this page from the list below.

Drama Groups logo


Sincere thanks to all of the following who were kind enough to give of their time and talent free of charge to turn my lyrics into songs and / or record demo versions for me, or help in numerous other ways to get the project to where it is now. Special thanks to Roger Wicks, Lily Brooke and Andrew Richardson for their advice and encouragement at all stages of the creative process.

Hjalmar Nordén
Rick Hayter
Dayna Lynn
Becky Simpson
Dieselle May
Claire Flanagan
Leon Rosselson
Barbara Korner
Lorraine Grace Jackson
Victoria Weaver
Lesley Gore
James Fraser
William Playle
Jean Lui Toudou

Demo Versions of Individual Songs

song 1

song 2

song 3

song 4

song 5

song 7

song 8

song 9

song 10

song 11

song 12

song 13

song 15

song 16

song 17

song 18

song 19

song 21

song 22

Love Theme


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