New season of shows launched at Royal and Derngate

One Man Two Guvnors
One Man Two Guvnors

A varied array of shows has been announced for the autumn and winter season at Royal & Derngate in Northampton as they launch their new brochure.

The theatre continues its Made In Northampton season with the world premiere of First World War novel Regeneration and a new staging of Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.

Festive shows will include Merlin and the panto is Peter Pan starring Joe Pasquale.

Touring shows will include The Full Monty, the National Theatre’s One Man, Two Guvnors and Simon Callow’s The Man Jesus. Tickets are also on sale for Derren Brown.

A variety of dance performances comes from The Richard Alston Dance Company, the Moscow City Ballet and Anton and Erin.

The season includes music from a host of contemporary artists with gigs from Lisa Stansfield, Jools Holland and Marc Almond, and Bellowhead, and features the start of the new Orchestral Season including the return of the Annual Malcolm Arnold Festival.

Comedians include Alan Davies, Jasper Carrott, Omid Djalili and Ross Noble. Lee Mack and Jimmy Carr are said to be all but sold out.

Following on from the success of A Tale Of Two Cities, Every Last Trick and Dealer’s Choice, Royal & Derngate’s Made In Northampton 2014 season continues with the world premiere of Pat Barker’s Booker-nominated novel Regeneration, adapted for the stage by Olivier Award-winning playwright Nicholas Wright (His Dark Materials, Vincent In Brixton), marking the centenary of the start of the First World War, and forming the centrepiece to a wide range of cultural events planned as part of the theatre’s collaboration with Northampton Museum and Art Gallery to commemorate Northampton’s contribution to the war. Directed by former Royal & Derngate Associate Director Simon Goodwin (who is off to the National Theatre to direct Ralph Fiennes in Man And Superman next year), Regeneration is a co-production with Touring Consortium Theatre Company, opening in Northampton from Friday, August 29 to Saturday 20 September before touring nationwide. Royal & Derngate’s artistic director James Dacre takes the helm for the next production, a new staging of Tennessee Williams’ Pulitzer Prize-winning Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, a powerful family drama set in the stifling heat of the Deep South plantations. MOJO and Q Award-winning band White Lies provide an original score and Mariah Gale, fresh from leading roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company, will play the iconic role of Maggie. A co-production with Newcastle’s Northern Stage and Manchester’s Royal Exchange, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof can be seen in Northampton from Wednesday to Saturday October 1 to 18.

Complementing its Made In Northampton programme, the Royal auditorium also plays host to touring drama. For one night only, Simon Callow, one of Britain’s best-loved actors, brings to the Royal stage his fresh and moving account of of biblical stories, The Man Jesus, and Eric And Little Ern returns by popular demand, for two performances. Coming for a week in October is the new award-winning musical comedy This Is My Family, from the writer of the hit Calendar Girls, Tim Firth, and in November the ever popular, spine-chilling The Woman In Black returns, now celebrating 25 years in the West End.

In the Derngate auditorium there is the opportunity to see the smash-hit National Theatre production One Man, Two Guvnors, starring EastEnders’ Shaun Williamson and Emma Barton, alongside Gavin Spokes, Mr Toad in Royal & Derngate’s The Wind In The Willows last Christmas, and the sensational new stage version of The Full Monty, adapted by the Oscar-winning writer of the film, Simon Beaufoy, and starring Gary Lucy and Andrew Dunn. Looking ahead to next year, tickets are on sale for another acclaimed National Theatre hit, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time, as it comes to Northampton on its very first tour.

After its success last summer, Derngate auditorium sees the return of New Jersey Nights this September, the celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Northampton Musical Theatre Company (previously known as Northampton Amateur Operatic Company) return with their production of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific. A season of musicals is in store for the Spring, with Dreamboats And Miniskirts continuing the story of the characters introduced in hit show Dreamboats And Petticoats, a brand new production of another Rodgers and Hammerstein favourite Oklahoma! from the award-winning producers of the recent tours of The King And I and Fiddler On The Roof, and a new production Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar.

A stellar comedy line up for the autumn in Derngate auditorium includes QI favourite Alan Davies and veteran Brummie comic Jasper Carrott (who shares the stage with some of his musical compatriots). Tickets for Lee Mack and Jimmy Carr are all but sold out, but the Spring brings Iranian-English comic Omid Djalili and quick-witted Geordie Ross Noble. This Autumn also sees a strong programme of comedy on the Royal stage with up and coming performers such as Paul Chowdry, Hal Cruttenden, local boy James Acaster and comedy magician Pete Firman, along with established Radio 4 comedian Mark Steel, who brings the live version of his In Town radio show to Northampton. Screaming Blue Murder also continues to feature many of comedy’s rising stars in its fortnightly Comedy Club nights in the theatre’s Underground performance space.

Marking the publication of the third volume of his diaries, Monty Python star Michael Palin comes to Northampton this October with his brand new show, Travelling To Work, looking back at 25 years of exploring the world and nearly 50 years in radio, television, books and film. An Evening With Sir Roger Moore will see the legendary film star chatting about his astonishing life and career, encompassing iconic TV series The Saint and The Persuaders, Hollywood blockbusters, and, of course, the James Bond films.

The ever popular multi-award-winning master of psychological illusion Derren Brown will be back on tour next year with a brand new show, coming to Northampton for a week in June.

Among the musical highlights of the autumn are gigs from soul singer Lisa Stansfield, and piano master Jools Holland accompanied by his much-loved Rhythm and Blues Band with a guest appearance from British icon Marc Almond. Jools’ fellow members of Squeeze, Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook, will also be coming to Northampton in November, with their show The At Odds Couple. The Autumn will also bring performances by 10cc, The Manfreds and Marty Wilde.

The blistering 11-piece band Bellowhead bring their stunning fusion of folk, funk, rock, world, jazz, musical hall and classical, which has placed them at the cutting edge of the contemporary music scene. Folk singer/songwriter and fiddle virtuoso Seth Lakeman also takes to the Derngate stage this Autumn. Other folk highlights include Irish family group Clannad, and veteran duo Foster and Allen.

Royal & Derngate’s Orchestral Season 2014/15 gets under way in October with the Annual Arnold Festival Gala Concert, featuring the Worthing Symphony Orchestra and clarinetist Julian Bliss, as the culmination of the ninth Annual Arnold Festival Weekend, celebrating the work of the prolific Northampton-born composer. The first of Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s performances of the season will be a special concert of remembrance, Lest We Forget, commemorating the centenary of The Great War with an array of reflective excerpts from classic choral works and orchestral music of war and peace. Other classical shows for the Autumn include Classics By Candlelight, with the Mozart Festival Orchestra performing a selection of favourite pieces. Verdi’s opera La Traviata is also back, by public demand. Crazy For Gershwin sees the London Concert Orchestra performing some of classics of the American songbook, including Rhapsody In Blue and excerpts from Porgy And Bess, with top vocalists, glamorous ballroom dancers and West End tap sensations.

The acclaimed Richard Alston Dance Company return with a programme featuring their latest work Rejoice In The Lamb, danced to Benjamin Britten’s superb setting of Christopher Smart’s poetry, a piece of music first written for Northampton’s Church of St Matthew. January sees the return of Moscow City Ballet with two of the most enchanting and well-loved ballets, Swan Lake and Giselle, while well-loved ballroom dancers Anton and Erin bring their spectacular new show That’s Entertainment to the Derngate stage, accompanied by the London Concert Orchestra.

For younger audiences, the hit musical stage adaptation of popular children’s book, The Gruffalo, returns to Northampton, having been performed to more than a million people worldwide. For Christmas in Underground Studio from Saturday, December 13 to Monday 5 January 5, there will be a chance for under fives and their grown ups to enjoy Magical Mishaps, an interactive, heart-warming and brilliantly fun show, about two best friends, a boy who wants to be a wizard and a girl who wants to be a knight, as they embark upon a magical mission.

The festive season brings a great choice of family entertainment, starting with the Made In Northampton Christmas show for the Royal stage, a magical new take of the legend of Merlin, from Wednesday 26 November to Sunday 4 January. This world premiere production, by Ella Hickson, who wrote the RSC’s Christmas show Wendy And Peter Pan last year, will combine storytelling with atmospheric original music to convey the magic, mythology and wonder of the ancient Arthurian legends.

Coming to the Derngate stage this Christmas, Peter Pan is this year’s swashbuckling pantomime adventure, from Friday 5 December to Sunday 4 January. This enchanting tale of pirates, crocodiles, lost boys and fairies is brought to life by Joe Pasquale and Ceri Dupree, with stunning sets, amazing costumes, an abundance of comedy and spectacular flying sequences.

Other events to look out for this Autumn include a special First World War Family Day, on Saturday 30 August, when, in conjunction with the Made in Northampton production Regeneration, there will be a day of fun activities both at the theatre and at Northampton Museum and Art Gallery. Then on Saturday, October 4, Royal & Derngate throws open its doors for a Fun Palaces Open Day, a pop-up festival with creative workshops, behind the scenes tours and performances, held as part of a nationwide initiative.

For more information about any of these performances or events, or to book, call Box Office on 01604 624811 or visit the theatre’s website,