Northampton's Royal & Derngate theatre to reopen with Animal Farm and Othello

The productions will star Britain's best young performing talent from the 2020 National Youth Theatre REP company

By Megan Hillery
Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 5:09 pm
Show image for Othello.
Show image for Othello.

The first plays to take to the stage at Royal & Derngate this spring will be Animal Farm and Othello co-produced by the National Youth Theatre (NYT).

Animal Farm will run from Monday May 17 to Saturday May 22, followed by Othello from Tuesday, May 25 to Saturday May 29 as part of Royal & Derngate’s Made in Northampton season.

George Orwell’s classic Animal Farm has been adapted by award-winning playwright Tatty Hennessy (A Hundred Words for Snow, F*Off) as an allegory for our own times exploring themes of revolution, the price of sovereignty and power with humour and sharp wit.

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This Made in Northampton Production - directed by Ed Stambollouian (Pinter at the Pinter) - will star Britain's best young performing talent from the 2020 National Youth Theatre REP Company.

The production of Othello explores themes of love, jealousy, systemic racism and misogyny through the lens of crime and power. In a gender swapping casting move, the title role will be played by Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, who is one of the 12 winners of the Evening Standard Future Theatre Fund in association with TikTok and National Youth Theatre.

Set against the early 90s rave scene, with electrifying music and movement, the retelling of this cautionary tale will be directed by Olivier Award- winning Miranda Cromwell (Death of a Salesman, West End) with Associate Director Mumba Dodwell (2019 NYT REP Bryan Forbes Bursary) and abridged by multi-disciplinary artist and dramatist Dzifa Benson (Creative Producer at The Water Replies for Estuary 2021 Festival.)

Othello will feature original music by Ivor Novello award-winning composer Renell Shaw.

The NYT REP Company course offers free, practical, industry-based talent development in drama and performance over nine months to a company of 16 NYT members. Now in its ninth year, the REP has gone from strength-to-strength with numerous West End seasons and the vast majority of graduates being signed by agents and going on to professional success.

These two co-productions mark the start of a partnership with the National Youth Theatre which will also see the Royal & Derngate and NYT jointly lead an annual summer residency in Northampton providing vocational learning opportunities for up to 500 young people up to the age of 21.

Royal & Derngate has been awarded UK Theatre and SOLT’s See it Safely mark - an accreditation that acknowledges the venue is COVID-secure and will be following the latest government and performing arts guidelines in welcoming audiences. There will be socially distanced seating available.

Tickets for performances are priced from £13.50. Visit the Royal & Derngate website or call their box office on 01604 624811 for more information or to book tickets.