Eleven new productions including seven premieres are in store for audiences attending Northampton’s Royal & Derngate Theatre this spring.
As well as the revival of Death of a Salesman, starring Tim Piggott-Smith, which has already been announced, the programme also includes The Grapes of Wrath, Rules for Living and Love from a Stranger.
Royal & Derngate’s season will welcome some of the country’s finest writers, composers, actors and creatives to Northampton as well as taking work to over 40 theatres nationwide, championing the brightest emerging artists and companies alongside the most celebrated.
There will be productions from Lucy Bailey, Simon Godwin, Seven Sisters Group, Lisa Peterson, Denis O’Hare and Orlando Gough, Abigail Wright, Laura Lomas, simple8, Abigail Graham, Little Angel Theatre, Matt Egan, Sam Holcroft and The Wardrobe Ensemble.
A site-specific collaboration is planned with Northampton Town Football Club and there will be the European premiere of An Iliad.
Introducing the season, the theatres’ artistic director, James Dacre, said: “Our Made in Northampton 2017 season again aims to present plays that question the most important issues of our time.
“2016 has been a year of seismic social and political change and our new season reflects this. With this season we hope to understand the worker who feels abandoned by his country, the refugee evicted from their home, the generation that feels disenfranchised from politics and the households which have forgotten how to be families.
“It’s as ambitious a season as we’ve ever produced and is shaped by a belief that the art of storytelling is as important a way of making sense of our lives in the internet age, as it was for the ancient Greeks, one of whose iconic tales we are dramatising.
“We have programmed a mixture of new commissions, literary adaptations, classic plays and devised works, which explore our need to belong to a family, place or country and offer life-affirming tales of characters who possess heroism, hope and humanity.
“Over the past ten years more than 1.1 million people have seen a Made in Northampton production either here in these remarkable theatres or on tour nationally and internationally.
“Our success over the last decade is testament to the extraordinary team of people who work here and our partners and supporters, locally and nationally, with whom we will deliver this exciting season of work.”
Beginning in the spring, the season launches with two major revivals. The first, in April, will be a touring revival of Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterpiece Death of a Salesman.
Produced to coincide with the start of a new political era for America, this new production will tour to Cambridge, Bath, Malvern, Exeter, Canterbury, Portsmouth, Edinburgh and Truro.
The second major revival is John Steinbeck’s powerful exploration of migration and community, The Grapes Of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati.
In June, James Dacre collaborates again with composer Orlando Gough (King John) on a bold new Obie and Lucille Lortell award-winning version of An Iliad that has been adapted by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare from a translation of Homer’s chronicle by Robert Fagles.
Next summer sees a new kind of collaboration between the theatre, Fermynwoods Contemporary Art and Northampton Town Football Club.
Devised by Seven Sisters Group, The Twelfth Player will use interactive technology to portray the experience of Cobblers fans across seventy years of the club’s turbulent history.
Last year The Cobblers fought off relegation and narrowly escaped financial disaster but through the dedication of staff, players and their fans – the team’s twelfth player – they made a remarkable recovery, welcoming a takeover, bouncing back into League 1 and winning the Club’s first League title for 29 years.
In September Simon Godwin (Regeneration) returns to direct the regional premiere of Sam Holcroft’s hilarious comedy Rules for Living which follows what happens when an extended family gathers in the kitchen for a traditional Christmas.
Lucy Bailey directs Love from a Stranger by Agatha Christie and Frank Vosper in a vivid new interpretation of Britain’s greatest crime writer’s work.
In October The Wardrobe Ensemble will premiere Education, Education, Education, charting the rise of New Labour through the lens of a secondary school staff room in 1997.
simple8 will premiere their vibrant new adaptation of E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India as the 70h anniversary of Indian Independence is remembered.
Martin Sutherland, chief executive said: “We are pleased to be announcing another ambitious season of Made in Northampton productions, all of which are inspired by and aim to speak to Northampton”.
DEATH OF A SALESMAN, April 8-29
THE GRAPES OF WRATH, May 9-29
THE TWELFTH PLAYER (at Sixfields Stadium, Northampton), June 3-July 2
AN ILIAD, June 16 – July 8
RULES FOR LIVING, September 8 – 30
EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION, October 10-14
A PASSAGE TO INDIA, January 11-20, 2018
LOVE FROM A STRANGER, February 23- March 16, 2018