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Northampton Stages 'Festival of Chaos' for 2012, Season Announced

The Royal and Derngate, Northampton will stage new interpretations of Euripides’ The Bacchae, Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Wedding and Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler next year as part of a trilogy billed as "Festival of Chaos".

Exploring the forgotten power of Dionysus, the productions will be helmed by Royal and Derngate artistic director Laurie Sansom. The trilogy, it was announced today (13 December 2011), will feature as part of the London 2012 Festival and is part of the theatre's wider "Made in Northampton" 2012 season.

Other productions at the Royal and Derngate next year will include the "hilariously anarchic" Oedipussy, co-produced with Spymonkey and directed by Kneehigh's Emma Rice, and a new production of Ladies in Lavender, directed by Robin Lefevre.

Kicking off "Festival of Chaos", Euripides’ The Bacchae runs from 18 May to 30 June 2012 in a secret location in Northampton. Re-imagined by Rosanna Lowe (Elektra at Cambridge Arts Theatre, Madame Bovary, Royal and Derngate), the production explores a society teetering on the brink of revolution, as Dionysus himself returns to take revenge on a city that’s forgotten him.

The Bacchae will share a cast and be presented in rotation with Blood Wedding. Lorca’s poetic tragedy of thwarted love sees two young people on the eve of their ill-fated wedding day, with Dionysus lurking in the shadows. Adapted by Tommy Murphy (Holding the Man, Trafalgar Studios), the production runs from 25 May to 30 June in the Royal auditorium.

Finally, Andrew Upton's 2006 Broadway adaptation of Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler will be given its European premiere at the Royal and Derngate from 6 to 28 July 2012. Imagining that marriage might provide her with a welcome escape from her early existence, Hedda is instead stifled by the reality of her new life in a comfortable home. Upton, whose recent credits include the acclaimed The White Guard at the National Theatre, is co-artistic director of Sydney Theatre Company.

The Royal and Derngate's "Festival of Chaos" has been chosen as part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad, a 12-week nationwide celebration running from 21 June to 9 September 2012.

Cultural Olympiad director Ruth Mackenzie said in a press statement: “'Festival of Chaos' is one of our most exciting events in the UK wide London Festival 2012, and the Northampton and Northamptonshire communities are lucky to have such a treat for the summer of 2012.

"I am sure the event will draw theatre lovers nationally and internationally and confirm Laurie as the star director which his local community already know him to be.”

Also making up the Royal and Derngate's "Made in Northampton" season, Spymonkey will return to Northampton following the success of their 2010 touring production, Moby Dick. Their latest show Oedipussy, co-produced with the Royal and Derngate and written by Carl Grose, will be directed by Kneehigh artistic director Emma Rice. Billed as an "outrageous no-holds-barred subversion of the quintessential Greek tragedy", Oedipussy will run from 3 to 18 February 2012.

Also next year, Robin Lefevre will stage a new production of Ladies in Lavender, an "evocative and heart-warming story of unfulfilled dreams and unrequited love" based on Charles Dance's 2004 film starring Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Telling the tale of two sisters, Ursula and Janet, who live in a close-knit fishing village in 1930s Cornwall, the play will feature the Classical Brit Award-winning score Nigel Hess created for the film. Co-produced by Daniel Schumann and Lee Dean, the production will run from 6 to 21 April 2012.


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