At an event held to celebrate the decade since the reopening of Royal & Derngate, our Chief Executive Martin Sutherland announced three ambitious new initiatives that will shape the future of Royal & Derngate and the cultural development of Northamptonshire.



Since we opened the 88-seat Errol Flynn Filmhouse three years ago, we have welcomed over 121,000 film-goers. With a loyal following established, work has now just started on building a second screen.

As a result of the success of the Errol Flynn Filmhouse, we are now working with Daventry District Council and its development partner, Henry Boot Developments Ltd, to progress plans which will see the inclusion of a cinema in the proposed redevelopment of Daventry Town Centre. Click here for more information.




Building upon the Royal’s early history as an opera house, the Derngate’s regional reputation as a concert hall and Northampton’s rich musical history, we are announcing that we have gathered a consortium of partners – including Scottish Opera, Musical Theatre Network, Perfect Pitch, Improbable, China Plate and Underbelly – to commission new music‑theatre, ranging from opera to musicals, which we would hope to present in the next few years in a festival format in Northampton and at major UK and international festivals.

We are working with Studio Three Sixty who are developing a new portable theatre venue called The Mix, which will provide a magical and architecturally striking performance space for this range of commissions. Designed specifically with live music in mind, it can transform into different layouts, with flexible auditorium seating for between 200 and 400.

As the distinctions between opera, musical theatre and plays with music are increasingly blurring, the consortium plans to commission work from a diverse range of writers and composers working across different genres, from the emerging to the established and from local to international. We aim to create a forum that liberates writers, composers and creators from the barriers they have previously faced in originating new work. We look forward to speaking to artists, venues, audiences and funders who can help support this unique new initiative.



In partnership with creative digital agency Balance, we are exploring the idea of developing a new secondary school for Northampton, placing cultural and creative learning at its heart. Sharing the values of Royal & Derngate and Balance, the new school will encourage inclusion, creativity, collaboration and ambition.

This new school initiative directly responds to the cultural sector’s concerns that arts education is increasingly being marginalised within secondary schools across England, despite the sector being amongst the fastest growing in the UK economy. As the cultural and creative industries sector wrestles with this challenge, we believe that a new school for Northampton could be one very positive solution.

As well as ensuring that creative learning is integral to the curriculum, the new school will address a very real need locally, responding to the projected levels of population growth and the need for new school places as identified by Northamptonshire County Council.

Over the next three months, Royal & Derngate and Balance will be hosting a series of events and conversations that are intended to shape the vision for the new school. We encourage anyone interested in joining this conversation to visit the new website in the first instance and we look forward to lively debate.

@NewSchool_NN / NewSchool_NN

We want to hear your thoughts on our plans to create a secondary school in Northampton with cultural and creative industries at it’s heart.
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A note from Martin Sutherland

We have only been able to deliver all these exciting shows, projects and developments over the past 10 years with the support of some extraordinary local and regional partners. This announcement today is just the starting point. We need you to pledge your support as we look towards 2021… whether it’s your expertise, your connections, your opinions, your enthusiasm or your financial resources.

We very much look forward to discussing how you can ensure that the theatres and the cultural and creative industries in Northamptonshire continue to thrive.