New productions and original work were showcased at a launch event at Royal & Derngate in Northampton on Friday.
The Northampton theatres presented their Made in Northampton 2015 season which includes classic drama alongside new work.
The invited audience heard from the theatres’ artistic director James Dacre and chief executive Martin Sutherland and it was a chance to see excerpts from some of the productions that are coming up.
The evening also included the first ever performance of the first act of an original musical, Odd, which is currently in development. The piece, set in the present day and based on Homer’s Odyssey is written by Chris Bush and Matt Winkworth, winners of the inaugural Perfect Pitch Award in association with Royal & Derngate.
Among the shows in the season are King John, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, The Herbal Bed, Arthur Miller’s The Hook, Cyrano De Bergerac, Gaslight, and the frozen land of Georgia Pritchett’s The Snow Queen.
The season starts in April with Cyrano De Bergerac. It will be directed by Northern Stage artistic director Lorne Campbell, who said: “This is a play of true scale, and Royal & Derngate and Northern Stage collaborating again in this way allows us both to create something this ambitious for our stages. It is a remarkable play in a remarkable version. An epic and profoundly human love story about the greatness and weakness that lives in all of us.”
Also in April, to mark the 800th anniversary year of the Magna Carta, artistic director James Dacre will direct Shakespeare’s King John in the twelfth century Holy Sepulchre Church in Northampton, which was often visited by King John and his court.
Partly set in Northampton, Shakespeare’s early history play charts one King’s struggle to retain the crown against claims that he is not the rightful heir. This production, which will tour nationally, is a co-production between Royal & Derngate and Shakespeare’s Globe.
To mark the centenary of Arthur Miller’s birth, Royal & Derngate and Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse will co-produce the world premiere of Miller’s ‘play for the screen’ The Hook adapted for the stage by Emmy Award-winning Ron Hutchinson, directed by James Dacre.
In September, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World will be brought to life in a new version by multi-award-winning playwright Dawn King, opening at Royal & Derngate before a major national tour.
In October, Lucy Bailey will direct Patrick Hamilton’s powerful psychological drama Gaslight, a classic mystery thriller in which a marriage is shaken to its core.
For Christmas 2015 on the Royal stage, the theatre presents a life-affirming new version of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale The Snow Queen, by Emmy Award-nominated comedy writer Georgia Pritchett and directed by Sarah Tipple.
In February 2016, Royal & Derngate will collaborate with English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston on a major revival of Peter Whelan’s The Herbal Bed. The production will open at Royal & Derngate ahead of a national tour.
Royal & Derngate’s Young Company will also stage Immune, a new commission by Oladipo Agboluaje in July.
For more information about any of the Made in Northampton productions visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk. Individual shows can be booked online or by calling 01604 624811.