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Royal and Derngate unveil four new musicals as part of 2021 season

The season will kick off in March

Royal & Derngate

Royal and Derngate in Northampton has unveiled a season of original musical theatre running across next year.

In February 2021, Juliet Gilkes Romero, Michael Henry, Darren Clark and Charlotte Westenra's online piece On Hostile Ground will be available for virtual viewers. It has video editing by Bartek Padkowa.

From March, the famed company Improbable will present An Improbable Musical, featuring direction by co-artistic director of Improbable Lee Simpson with music devised and directed by Yshani Perinpanayagam. Also part of the creative team are designer E M Parry, lighting designer Colin Grenfell, sound designer Adrienne Quartly and choreographer Pauline Mayers.

The venue, alongside China Plat and English Touring Theatre, will co-produce Gin Craze!, a new musical about the 18th century English obsession with gin. It has book and lyrics by April de Angelis and music and lyrics by Lucy Rivers.

The piece will be performed from 19 June to 3 July, with direction by Michael Oakley, musical supervision and arrangement by Tamara Saringer, design by Hayley Grindle and casting by Matilda James.

Royal and Derngate and Perfect Pitch will co-produce Scot Free, inspired by a true story. The piece will premiere in concert performances next autumn.

The piece has book and lyrics by Jonny Wright (Up North) and music and lyrics by Tim Gilvin (Unfortunate, Stay Awake Jake) and direction by Tinuke Craig (The Color Purple, Vassa).

Artistic director James Dacre explained: "Over five years up to 2017 Royal and Derngate welcomed an audience of more than 200,000 to 50 visiting musicals. Only one of them was a new work.

Almost all of these 50 shows had played in our larger Derngate auditorium with little midscale musical theatre available to play in our Royal auditorium. So we set out to change this. Since then, we have collaborated with six consortium partners and over a hundred inspiring artists to champion new musical theatre voices. Together we will have premiered at least six entirely original musicals by 2021.

Having already staged Fox-Tot! and The Season, and streamed our digital musical #ZoologicalSociety to over 130,000, today we can announce that in 2021 we will premiere four completely original musicals, showcasing some of the best new talent in British musical theatre. At the end of such a devastating year for our sector, I'm thrilled that as our theatre begins to emerge from the pandemic, we'll do so alongside this inspiring range of artists who have reminded us of the importance of remaining ambitious, relevant and determined to create original work."

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