Theatre News

Northampton's Royal and Derngate reveals 2022-23 season

Newly announced productions include Jacques Tati’s ”Playtime”, Anthony McCarten’s ”The Two Popes” and Emily Brontë’s ”Wuthering Heights”

Wuthering Heights
Wuthering Heights
© Rebecca Pitt and Michael Wharley

A plethora of new productions have been announced for Royal and Derngate's 2022-23 season.

Artistic director James Dacre said: "This season sees the culmination of several strands of strategic activity that have seen us challenge ourselves as a venue to nurture the creation of original work in radically different ways. Whether supporting artists to develop original musical theatre for the midscale, hosting ensemble companies to collaboratively devise their work over the course of several years, inviting playwrights to write for our main stage or supporting artists to reach new audiences in cinemas and online, this body of work has widened our practice, broadened our reach and helped shape our future."

The season kicks off with the first-ever stage production of Jacques Tati's Playtime, adapted by Dancing Brick and featuring original songs by Chilly Gonzales and Martha Wainwright. The comedy, which follows the lovably old-fashioned clown Monsieur Hulot, struggling with the technology of the modern world, is directed by Thomas Eccleshare and Valentina Ceschi. It features designs by Michael Vale, sound by Kayode Gomez and comedy direction by John Nicholson of Peepolykus and runs from 2 to 17 September.

Next up, from 11 to 15 October is The Two Popes by Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything), which previously premiered at Royal and Derngate in 2019 (then titled The Pope). Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones) and Nicholas Woodeson (Baptiste) star in the historical drama of the events revolving around Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, which was also adapted into a multi-award-winning film.

Directed by Dacre (with associate director Sarah Stacey) and featuring original music by Anne Dudley, the production is designed by Jonathan Fensom with lighting by Charles Balfour and video design by Duncan Maclean. Co-produced with Anthology Theatre in association with Tara Finney Productions, the piece will open at Rose Theatre Kingston on 9 September before touring to Cambridge Arts Theatre, Cheltenham Everyman Theatre, Royal and Derngate, Oxford Playhouse and Bath Theatre Royal.

For the festive season, the Northampton-based venue has teamed up with London's Polka Theatre to present The Night Before Christmas from 25 November to 31 December. Recommended for under 7s "and their grown-ups", the popular poem is adapted for the stage by Hattie Naylor and directed by Roman Stefanski, with music by Julian Butler, designs by Kate Bunce and lighting by Aaron J Dootson.

The Children's Theatre Partnership co-production of Michael Rosen's An Unexpected Twist, a re-telling of the Charles Dickens classic, Oliver Twist, will run from 11 to 25 February 2023. Adapted by Roy Williams (Soul) with original music by BAC Beatbox Academy's Conrad Murray and Yaya Bey, the piece is directed by Dacre and designed by Frankie Bradshaw.

Partnering with Shakespeare's Globe, Headlong and Leeds Playhouse, Holly Race Roughan's production of Henry V will run at Royal and Derngate from 7 to 18 March.

Emily Brontë's Wuthering Heights will run in Northampton from 24 April to 6 May. Created by Inspector Sands and conceived and developed by Lucinka Eisler and Ben Lewis, this new adaptation is written by Lewis and helmd by Eisler (with assistant director Keziah Joseph), with designs by Jamie Vartan, costumes by Johanna Mårtensson, lighting by Matt Daw, sound by Elena Peña and casting by Annelie Powell and Hayley Kaimakliotis. It is co-produced with China Plate, Inspector Sands and Oxford Playhouse.

From 8 to 16 September 2023, Royal and Derngate presents the Fiery Angel co-production of Agatha Christie's best-selling crime novel of all time, And Then There Were None, directed by Lucy Bailey and designed by Mike Britton.

Finally, Judith Kerr's Mog the Forgetful Cat, adapted for the stage by The Wardrobe Ensemble, is also set to transfer to co-producer The Old Vic in 2023, ahead of a major UK Tour.

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