Royal & Derngate Summer Season Announced


Hometown, this Summer's celebratory season of work at the Royal & Derngate (7 June to 17 July) re-imagines the past and future of Northampton and explores the complex, changeable and often emotional responses we have towards the place we were born in or where we put down our roots. The season includes the premiere of Town by Northampton's own DC Moore, an interactive family show, an outdoor production in a park by Grid Iron, a new domestic drama by Chris Goode performed in people's homes as well as storytelling and performances all over town.

Town by DC Moore (Royal, 18 June to 3 July) is a major play specially commissioned from one of Northampton's finest young playwrights. The Empire, DC Moore's first premiere for 2010, has just finished a critically acclaimed run at the Royal Court and Honest was staged earlier this Spring by Royal & Derngate in The Mailcoach public house in Northampton. Town takes its inspiration from the four-day journey back from London on foot made by the legendary mad poet, Northampton born John Clare and creates a new story set in contemporary Northampton. From the bright lights of London to Saturday nights on Abington Street, an out of work and disillusioned John considers why he swapped the anonymity of corporate city life, for the comforts of home. Directed by Esther Richardson, the audience is seated on the Royal stage up close to the action. Both touching and bitingly funny, this is a frank and powerful tale of young people's hopes and dreams in the suburbs of Northampton.

For families, the interactive show Flathampton transforms the Derngate into a giant children's playmat, which is brought to life in 3D with the help of the audience (10 to 17 July). You can collect Flathampton money, spend it at the Flathampton shops, ice some Flathampton cakes and even work at the Flathampton hospital.

Northampton's homes will be transformed into theatre spaces, with Chris Goode's Henry & Elizabeth, a gentle and captivating comedy about love gone wonky performed by home performance pioneers, Signal to Noise. The play will be staged in a different house every night from 7 - 12 June & 19 -24 July.

Outside the town centre Beckett's Park plays host to multi-award winning theatrical event setting out on its tenth anniversary tour, Grid Iron's Decky Does a Bronco - eight actors, all trained acrobats, play out a perilous passage to adulthood. To bronco a swing you stand on it, work up to the bumps, level the bar, kick the swing over your head and jump beneath it (14 - 19 June). Epiphany by Theatre is... and Throwdown UK bring together some of the UK's leading Hip Hop talents in a fusion of breakin, locking, popping, spoken word and theatre in an exploration of the moment when we find our ‘element', the place we love to be, where passion meets talent (24-26 June).

The season also includes a series of Storytelling events: We Are The Pathmakers sees captivating new voice Jo Blake take a poetic look at shoes, feet and the pathways we leave behind; On Common Ground with leading folk musician, Chris Wood and master wordsmith, Hugh Lupton, tells the story of John Clare and Town, My Town is a guided walk that encourages the audience to see Northampton as they've never seen it before.

Completing the programme, with new interpretations of what we mean by ‘hometown' are works from the Northampton community. From Out of this World devised by the Royal & Derngate Actors Group literally imagines the town through alien eyes (10 - 12 June), and three performances from The Youth Theatre explore the lives and attitudes of people in small towns - Sondheim's Broadway musical Anyone can Whistle (14 & 17 July), Thornton Wilder's Our Town (10, 16 & 17 July) and New Town, devised work and short plays by young writers from Northampton (8 & 15 July).

For more information about events in Royal & Derngate's Hometown Season or to book, visit the website at or call the Box Office on 01604 624811.

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