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Our Made In Northampton 2017 includes 11 brand new productions, seven world premieres, three major revivals and a site-specific collaboration with Northampton Town Football Club.

The season welcomes some of the country’s finest writers, composers, actors and creatives to Northampton as well as taking work Made In Northampton to over 40 theatres nationwide, championing the brightest emerging artists and companies alongside the most celebrated.

Introducing the season, our Artistic Director James Dacre says: “Our Made In Northampton 2017 season again aims to present plays that question the most important issues of our time. 2016 was 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.”

Our Made In Northampton season for 2017 welcomes to the Royal stage this May, the classic American tale, The Grapes Of Wrath, based on the powerful novel by John Steinbeck, adapted by Frank Galati, directed by Abbey Wright and designed by Laura Hopkins. A moving story of hope and survival, this timely production will examine human resilience in the face of catastrophe and will feature a large community chorus and live music. #Grapes17

Also in the summer, a world premiere brings to the season 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 extraordinary history, of which 2015/16 was arguably their most precarious and euphoric season. 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. The collaboration will see audiences go on a tour around Sixfields Stadium which will blend site-specific performance and handheld video technology, moving the audience seamlessly between characters inspired by real fans and placing them at the heart of the sporting action. #12thplayer

In September, we welcome back Simon Godwin (Regeneration) 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 and each of them rigidly follows their own ‘rules for living’. #RulesForLiving17

Another major touring revival sees Lucy Bailey direct Love From A Stranger by Agatha Christie and Frank Vosper in a vivid new interpretation of Britain’s greatest crime writer’s work. This bold reimagination of an edge-of-your-seat thriller follows Bailey’s acclaimed work on last year’s Gaslight at Royal & Derngate.

Following collaborations in recent years with Kneehigh, Peeoplykus, Spymonkey, Told by an Idiot and Frantic Assembly, in 2017 we will champion the work of two emerging devising companies – The Wardrobe Ensemble and simple8 – with both ensembles making their mainstage debuts.

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 and exploring the key policies and personalities that have shaped our recent political history. The company won critical acclaim and The Stage Award for their 2015 production of 1972: The Future Of Sex. They will be directed by our previous Artistic Associate Jesse Jones. #Education17

simple8 is an award-winning ensemble company acclaimed for their ability to create richly imagined worlds out of nothing but a bare stage. They will premiere their vibrant new adaptation of E.M. Forster’s A Passage To India as the 70th anniversary of Indian Independence is remembered. Reimagining the novel for contemporary Britain, the production poses a question that is even more urgent today than when it was first asked: how can we love one another in a world divided by culture and belief?

In addition, Royal & Derngate’s Young Company will also produce the world premiere of The Blue Road by Laura Lomas, continuing our commitment to inviting groundbreaking playwrights to work with young people.

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We look forward to welcoming you to Royal & Derngate this season.