Derek studied drama at Rusden State College. He began writing musical theatre in 2011, with his solo Melbourne Fringe show ‘My Incredible Shrinking Life’. That show has now become his COVID lockdown romantic comedy, ‘I Hear You’, currently receiving development support by the Hayes Theatre as part of their Open Submission program. From there Derek wrote lyrics for ‘More sex please we’re seniors’, professionally staged in Melbourne (2013) and music, book and lyrics for ‘Sexercise’, also professionally staged in Melbourne (2015).
He has contributed music and lyrics for ‘Jungle Book the Concert’ (ongoing) and music book and lyrics for ‘The Audition’ (2018), both commissioned by theatre producer Malcolm C Cooke. He has just finished his most recent 2-Act musical, ‘It almost never was’ – A documentary musical on the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Derek’s current project is an audio-only Fringe ‘show’ about his time teaching conversational English in Japan – ‘1991 AFL Grand Final’.
As a recording musician Derek has written and recorded 6 albums of his own songs. He works regularly for the TV and stage outings of comedians Sammy J and Randy. His playing/recording/MD credits with this duo, together and in their solo outings, include the Barry Award winning ‘Bin Night’ (2010), the ABC 6 part sit com ‘Sammy J and Randy in Ricketts Lane (2015), ‘Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams’ (2009), and numerous Sammy J ABC recording, TV and radio projects.
Derek’s many jingles are currently heard every weekday on the ABC 774 Melbourne breakfast radio show.
Before musical theatre, Derek worked as a writer/performer on many puppet shows with friend and colleague Philip Millar, including the puppet rock opera ‘Tyrannosaurus Sex’ (2004, 2007), and numerous runs of the cabaret ‘Pure Puppet Palaver’ (Melbourne Fringe Festival award – Puppetry Award, 2007). Derek was also Musical Director of the Melbourne International Puppet Carnival (2006).
As well as being a musician, Derek runs his own corporate holistic communication consultancy.