Mike Poulton adapts Ghosts for Made In Northampton 2019 season at Royal & Derngate

Mike Poulton is adapting of Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece, Ghosts, for a brand new version being premiered next April at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate Theatre, directed by Lucy Bailey and starring Penny Downie and Pierro Niel-Mee

It will form a key part of the venue’s Made In Northampton 2019 season, announced artistic director, James Dacre, this week.

Penny Downie

Other forthcoming MiN productions will include premieres of Our Lady of Kibeho, The Remains of the Day and August Wilson’s Two Trains Running, alongside a stunning new production of Richard III from Headlong.

A shattering story of the consequences of secrets and lies, Ibsen’s Ghosts is a damning comment on the morality and hypocrisy of 19th century life.

This searing new version asks if much has changed since it was written over 100 years ago.

Constrained for years by societal expectations, widow Helen Alving is determined to escape the ghosts of her past but when her son, Osvald, returns home it is clear that some legacies are impossible to avoid.

With secrets kept and lies told, the ghosts of her husband’s actions demand bigger sacrifices now than ever before.

Helen will be played by Penny Downie, whose extensive stage and television credits include Hamlet in the West End and ITV’s Downton Abbey.

Taking the role of Osvald is Pierro Niel-Mee, whose credits include Shakespeare in Love (UK tour) and Imperium, Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies for the Royal Shakespeare Company. ​

Ghosts runs at Royal & Derngate in April.

James Dacre said: “This season we will premiere work by Tony, Nobel, Pulitzer and Olivier prize-winning writers that will transport our audiences from 1880s Norway to 1980s Rwanda, and pre-war Oxfordshire to post-war Pittsburgh.

“At a time where our worldview is proving to be increasingly divided, these powerful, humane stories all explore the corrosive power of prejudice and the complex nature of belief.”

The Made in Northampton season continues in January with the UK premiere of Olivier Award winner, Katori Hall’s spectacular play, Our Lady of Kibeho.

The play tells the astonishing true story of three Rwandan schoolgirls and the haunting events that forever changed their school, their community and their country.

Directed by James Dacre, the play features a large professional cast, including Michelle Asante, Ery Nzaramba and Gabrielle Brooks.

2017 Nobel Prize winner, Kazuo Ishiguro’s masterpiece, The Remains of the Day will be re-imagined for the stage, in an adaptation by one of Britain’s most exciting young playwrights, Barney Norris, directed by Christopher Haydon.

This story of memory, regret and undeclared love receives its world premiere at Royal & Derngate in February before touring nationwide in a co-production with Out of Joint.

In May, Tom Mothersdale stars as the iconic villain in a revelatory new production of Shakespeare’s famous East Midlands tale, Richard III, a co-production by Headlong, Alexandra Palace and Bristol Old Vic with Oxford Playhouse.

This frighteningly relevant tale of deceit, manipulation and violence is brought to life by director John Haidar.

In September, Royal & Derngate stages Two Trains Running, American playwright, August Wilson’s vivid portrait of everyday lives in the shadow of a defining moment in American history.

Set in Pittsburgh, 1969, the play sees the regulars of Memphis Lee’s restaurant struggling to cope with the turbulence of a world that is changing rapidly around them.

When Two Trains Running premiered on Broadway in 1992, it won Tony, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel awards and was shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Directed by the 2018 winner of the RTST Sir Peter Hall Director Award, Nancy Medina, this co-production, with English Touring Theatre, will tour the UK after opening at Northampton.

Further Made in Northampton 2019 productions will be announced next year.

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