Today: April 13, 2024

Made In Northampton

James Dacre, the Artistic Director at Royal & Derngate Northampton, has today announced the theatre’s new Made in Northampton season, featuring eighteen productions. The programme encompasses plays, musicals, a feature film, On Demand theatre, podcasts and a new interactive digital work. It engages over 400 artists and visits 45 theatres across the UK, with 10 productions transferring to London. Newly announced world premieres include Mainstage productions of: Playtime, Unexpected Twist, Wuthering Heights, Henry V and And Then There Were None.

The programme marks the culmination of Royal & Derngate’s work over five years with their Resident Ensemble companies Dancing Brick, DeafConnect, Hydrocracker, Improbable, Inspector Sands, Spymonkey and The Wardrobe Ensemble, who each devise theatre collaboratively. The season also contains six reimagined classics, two new plays and touring revivals of Made in Northampton productions.

The season opens with the first ever stage production of Jacques Tati’s comic masterpiece Playtime, recently named one of the top films of all time by the BFI. Grammy Award-winning composers Chilly Gonzalez and Martha Wainwright will write original songs for the production. It is followed by a revival of Dacre’s 2019 production of Oscar nominee Anthony McCarten’s The Two Popes with Anton Lesser and Nicholas Woodeson with original music by Anne Dudley for a national tour and London premiere at Rose Theatre.

Royal & Derngate has specialised in creating new mid-scale touring musicals over the last decade and 2021 saw the culmination of another five-year project in which the company led a national consortium of partners to support 150 artists in nurturing the creation of new musical theatre, including An Improbable Musical, which will tour this autumn, having opened on the Royal stage in February.

Building upon this programme of original musicals, James Dacre will reunite with regular collaborators Roy Williams and designer Frankie Bradshaw to direct a musical adaptation of Michael Rosen’s Unexpected Twist, with original music by BAC Beatbox Academy’s Conrad Murray and R&B phenomenon Yaya Bey, whose highly acclaimed new album.

Remember Your North Star was described this month as “prismatic, outstanding and resplendent” by Pitchfork. The production sees Royal & Derngate partner with Children’s

Theatre Partnership for the fourth time. The theatre will also launch a digital musical, Scene Unseen, which is an intimate new cabaret about identity, sexuality, and what makes us who we are by Jessica Walker and

Joseph Atkins. It is captured on film with illustrations by award winning animator Thomas Hicks and is available to watch online in August. A co-production with English Touring Opera, it is a powerful and personal hour-long song cycle with a mix of humour, classicism, torch, and a touch of Eighties synth.

Who Cares 2032 is an interactive digital experience, created by Hydrocracker and DeafConnect with narration, film, audio, integrated BSL and audio description. Exploring the future of healthcare.

For Christmas 2022 there is a magical staging of the 200 year-old festive poem, The Night Before Christmas, for under 7s and their grown-ups in the venue’s Underground Studio. Adapted by Olivier nominee Hattie Naylor and directed by Roman Stefanski, it is a co-production with Polka Theatre where it opened last Christmas.

Venue: Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP (apart from Song of the Summer)

Tickets: Box Office 01604 624811 /

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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