Royal & Derngate announces new producing team

We have recruited a new team of producers as we embark upon our exciting four-year plan that includes delivering a nationally significant development programme for contemporary musical theatre and opera. We are building upon our acclaimed Made in Northampton programme of home-grown and touring work, initiating a decade long cycle of plays exploring the UK’s relationship with Europe and hosting a structured programme of support for ensemble companies and emerging artists.

Rosie Townshend is joining the organisation as Senior Producer, and Tess Dowdeswell has joined as Producer with a focus upon overseeing the development of new musical theatre at the venue. Peter Huntley and Smart Entertainment have taken on the part time role of Consultant Producers, helping to develop commercial opportunities for the theatres.

Royal & Derngate Artistic Director, James Dacre, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Rosie and Tess to the Royal & Derngate team as we embark upon this ambitious next chapter for our Made in Northampton programme of home-grown and touring work and delighted to be continuing our work with Peter. All offer a rare combination so well-suited to Royal & Derngate: a great commitment to the subsidised sector coupled with a desire to reach the widest possible audiences that is evident in their many successes within commercial theatre.”

Rosie Townshend was previously Associate Producer for the Oscar Wilde Season at the Vaudeville Theatre in the West End, working with Dominic Dromgoole to establish the theatre company Classic Spring, and was General Manager for a slate of independent features for Open Palm Films. The Oscar Wilde season included Lady Windermere’s Fan with Jennifer Saunders, An Ideal Husband with Edward and Freddie Fox and The Selfish Giant, a co-production with Royal & Derngate. Prior to this Rosie managed events and concerts in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and held other roles at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Tess Dowdeswell has moved to Royal & Derngate from Kenny Wax Family Entertainment, where she worked for six years on a wide range of musicals and children’s and family shows, including The Gruffalo, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt and the Olivier Award-nominated Hetty Feather. She will produce the venue’s recently announced three year consortium venture to create five original musicals and support 150 artists in the creation of original musical theatre for mid scale venues.

Smart Entertainment is a team of experienced general managers, led by Peter Huntley. Peter has recently worked with Sonia Friedman Productions, Shakespeare’s Globe and the Really Useful Theatre Company. He recently launched Smart Entertainment, which has already provided general management for some of the industry’s top independent producers, working with Simon Friend Productions, Jamie Hendry Productions, London Musical Theatre Orchestra (LMTO) and The Royal Albert Hall. Peter and Smart Entertainment have been working with Royal & Derngate since spring 2018 on productions including The Selfish Giant and The Lovely Bones.