Director working on two premieres

A THEATRE director from the county is working on two productions which are to have their world premieres in Northamptonshire.

Neil Bettles, 32, a former pupil of The Kingswood School, Corby, is associate director of new versions of two classic plays included in the Festival of Chaos season at Royal & Derngate, Northampton.

Staged in the striking setting of a disused print works in Northampton town centre, The Bacchae runs from Friday until Saturday, June 30, and Blood Wedding will be staged at the Royal theatre from Friday, May 25, to Saturday, June 30.

Both plays are directed by the theatre’s artistic director Laurie Sansom, assisted by Neil.

He said: “It’s been tremendous having the opportunity to work with Laurie and I hope I continue to work with other great directors.”

After leaving Kingswood, Neil studied drama at Middlesex University. He said: “Although I studied acting and direction at university I always wanted to be a director.

“The pull for me is about having a vision and creating it from the ground up.”

Neil, whose parents live on the Danesholme estate, Corby, set up his own theatre company, Frantic Assembly, and in 2010 became co-founder and artistic director of Thickskin, which brought its debut production Blackout to The Core theatre, Corby, last year. It also won the Arches Brick Award at the Edinburgh Fringe.

He will be returning to work at The Core theatre in his home town in the summer.

Neil said: “The Core is a great space which is supported by the town and is giving young people a place to express themselves.

“It is involving people at a young age, enabling them to discover their creative abilities before they reach the age when they think it may be too late.

“I’m looking forward to being back at The Core in July.”

For more information about The Bacchae and Blood Wedding or to book tickets, call 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk.