Nathan Leigh is a man who has mastered many skills in life — currently priding himself on being a composer, writer, animator, and activist. He has composed music and designed sound for over 300 plays at theatres across the country including American Repertory Theatre, Huntington Theatre Company, New York Theatre Workshop, Cherry Lane Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Group, The Debate Society (Gothamist: Best Sound Design 2007 for The Eaten Heart), Stoneham Theatre (IRNE Best Sound Design 2009 for Strangers On A Train), Central Square Theatre (IRNE Best Sound Design 2010 for The Hound of the Baskervilles), and many more over the years.
While he has composed music for other plays, he also has dabbled in creating his own from scratch. With Kyle Jarrow, Leigh co-created the musicals Big Money (WTF Boris Segall Fellowship 2008) and The Consequences (World Premiere 2012 at WHAT). With the Liars and Believers ensemble, Leigh composed scores for adaptations of Song of Songs, Icarus, and A Story Beyond. With Megan Sass, he is the composer and lyricist for The Mad Scientist’s Guide (NYC Fringe 2015). Nathan is the composer and playwright of Let’s Start a Zine, Orpheus, the Liar, and Our Lady of the Holy Powerstrip, as well as the serialized musicals Sealand! and William Henry Harrison: Time Detective.
But again, Leigh doesn’t allow himself to be pigeonholed into simply one profession. What’s perhaps most fascinating about him is not only his desire to expand and learn more, but his ability to then master the craft and excel to the top. Leigh is a founding member of the long-running arts activist collective The People’s Puppets of Occupy Wall Street, whose work has been instrumental in crafting visuals for large scale mass demonstrations since 2011. Their signature puppet, Lady Liberty, was recently displayed at the Musée de la Civilization in Quebec City. PPOWS have appeared multiple times as part of La Mama’s legendary puppet slam. Since 2010, Leigh has also worked as the staff music columnist, interviewer, and mixtape producer for Afropunk. His latest full length album with band The Crisis Actors Myths, Conspiracy Theories, and Other Stuff I Made Up To Sound Interesting was released in April of 2020.
All of this brings us to today, where Substream is thrilled to be teaming up with Leigh on his newest project with the Crisis Actors, House on Stilts. It’s a stop-motion visual EP that he originally began working on a decade ago, and due to his desire to build it into something extravagant, took every bit of the ten years to complete to his satisfaction. While House on Stilts will be released tomorrow, November 19th, today we are bringing you a premiere of the music video for the title-track, which can be found below.
“I started working on the stop motion animation for ‘House On Stilts’ in 2011, and quickly realized it was a bigger undertaking than I was expecting. Every time I sat down to work on it, the project grew a little bit, until it went from a music video for a single song to a short film. The chaos of the pandemic ironically gave me the space and clarity to finish the project. It’s about trying to find your place in the world, trying to navigate all of life’s crises without getting lost in it. Especially now, we’re all jumping from one emergency to the next, and I wanted to create something that celebrates the small victories. The moments when just showing up and refusing to be defeated is enough.”