Excited cast ready to welcome back first audience to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate for more than 14 months

The first show will showcase a National Youth Theatre cast of young performers making their professional debuts

Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:21 pm
Updated Monday, 17th May 2021, 4:22 pm
The cast of Animal Farm is ready to welcome back audience to the Royal & Derngate for the first time in more than a year. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.
The cast of Animal Farm is ready to welcome back audience to the Royal & Derngate for the first time in more than a year. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

A popular Northampton theatre which has been closed to audiences for more than 14 months is finally allowed to reopen its doors to the public.

Up to 200 people will be able to take a seat in a socially distanced audience at Royal & Derngate tonight (May 17) for the theatre’s first live show since the pandemic hit.

As lockdown eases, the Royal will host eight performances of ‘Animal Farm’, which is a National Youth Theatre production.

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Theatre bosses, Jo Gordon and James Dacre, join the cast of Animal Farm on a photo call ahead of the opening performance. Photo: Kirsty Edmonds.

The 16-strong cast is made up of 18 to 25-year-olds making their professional theatre debut, which was an important factor for theatre bosses as they feel young people have been hit hard during the last year.

Members of the cast posed for a photo call in full costumes outside the theatre earlier today and were eager to share their excitement.

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, who is part of the National Youth Theatre cast, said: “Animal Farm is a revolution from start to end. It’s everything. Loads of movement, music, joy, larger than life characters and fun with a capital F.

“The audience can expect to be amazed.

“We’re so excited. It’s a great privilege to be a part of the first group of people to welcome audiences back.

“We’ve missed it so much and we just need to be all together to share the love that we have put into making this show.

“We’ve put a lot of love into making this show and it is the kind of theatre I would like to see.

“It feels historic and I think it will be emotional. We’ll look back on this day and it will be a real moment for all of us.

“This is my first performance for over a year.

“It’s an incredible thing to be a part of especially as the world has changed throughout the whole process.

“I’m so grateful for the NYT and the Royal & Derngate for supporting us since October through to now so we are able to perform something on the first day theatres are able to open.”

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