Royal and Derngate theatre announces launch of new secondary school in five-year plan

Martin Sutherland
Martin Sutherland
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A Northampton theatre has outlined a vision for a new secondary school in the town, which lean towards creative industries.

Royal & Derngate says the idea is a response to concerns that arts education is increasingly being marginalised within secondary schools across England, despite the sector being amongst the fastest-growing in the UK economy.

Chief executive Martin Sutherland said: “In order to start shaping a truly radical education and creative learning programme we need to seek the support of educators, thinkers, artists, young people and parents who can help us develop our vision regarding creative learning in Northampton.

“Together we can realise the potential that will be unlocked by opening a new cultural and creative industries school in Northampton.”

The vision also includes building on the success of the theatre’s cinema, the Errol Flynn Filmhouse.

Royal & Derngate is working with Daventry District Council and its development partner Henry Boot Developments Ltd to devise plans which will see the inclusion of a cinema in the proposed redevelopment of Daventry Town Centre.

Artistic Director James Dacre has described how Royal & Derngate has gathered a consortium of partners, including Scottish Opera, Musical Theatre Network, Perfect Pitch, Improbable, China Plate and Underbelly, to commission, develop and support new music-theatre, ranging from opera to musicals, which it expects to present over the coming years in a festival format, in Northampton and at major UK and international festivals.

Mr Dacre explained: “For a long time we have felt that the scale and demands of new musicals and operas exclude theatres and organisations like ours, which lack the finances and resources to realise them. So we are interested in a new model for creating music-theatre that can liberate writers, composers and creators from the barriers they’ve previously faced in originating new work and still be audience-friendly, locally relevant, collaborative and deeply imaginative.

“We want to demonstrate that new musical work in all its variations can be enjoyable, accessible, contemporary and exciting in celebrating the power of the sung word. In short, we are interested in developing what it means to sing stories.”

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