Royal & Derngate

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Royal & Derngate
RoyalDerngate.JPG
Main entrance
Address 1 Guildhall Road
Northampton, Northamptonshire
Coordinates 52°14′10″N 0°53′37″W / 52.2362°N 0.8936°W / 52.2362; -0.8936
Owner Northampton Theatres Trust
Designation Grade II listed (Royal)
Capacity 583 (Royal)
1,200 (Derngate)
90 (Filmhouse)
Current use In-house productions
National touring productions
Construction
Opened 1884 (Royal)
1983 (Derngate)
2006 (Royal & Derngate)
2013 (Errol Flynn Filmhouse)
Rebuilt 1887 C J Phipps (fire)
2005 (refurbishment)
Architect C J Phipps (Royal)
Aedas RHWL (Derngate)
Website
Royal & Derngate website

Royal & Derngate is a theatre complex in the Cultural Quarter of Northampton, England, consisting of the Royal Theatre and the Derngate Theatre. The Royal Theatre, established as a producing house, has a capacity of 583 seats and since 1976 has been designated a Grade II listed building;[1] the Derngate Theatre seats a maximum of 1,200 and is a multi-purpose space in which the auditorium can be configured for a variety of events including theatre, opera, live music, dance, fashion and sports. The Errol Flynn Filmhouse, an independent cinema built to the side of the complex, opened in 2013.

The Royal was built by theatre architect Charles J. Phipps and opened in 1884. Ninety-nine years later in 1983, the Derngate, designed by RHWL, was built to the rear of the Royal. Whilst the two theatres were physically linked, they only formally merged as one combined organisation in 1999, run by the Northampton Theatres Trust. In 2005, both theatres closed for an 18-month £14.5m redevelopment, which saw the merging of both venues into one construction, the building of a creativity centre, and the total refurbishment of the two venues. The complex reopened as Royal & Derngate in October 2006. From its reopening, Laurie Sansom was Artistic Director;[2] under his tenure, The Stage hailed Royal & Derngate as The Regional Theatre of the Year (2010) in its inaugural Stage 100 Awards for "its artistic quality and connections it has with local audiences."[3] James Dacre took over as Artistic Director in 2013. The theare was awarded the UK Theatre Management Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre for its Made in Northampton co-produced work in 2015 and the UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production in 2016.[4] It was shortlisted for the Regional Theatre of the Year Award again in 2016.[5]

In addition to staging and producing entertainment, Royal & Derngate also provide a programme of creative projects in its Underground space, homing its Youth Theatre and giving the local community the chance to get involved in performing, writing and to find out more about what goes on behind the scenes.

History[edit]

Entrance to the Royal on Guildhall Road in May 2013

The Royal Theatre was the first building of what now exists as the Royal & Derngate complex. The Royal, then called the Theatre Royal and Opera House, was built for John Franklin by Henry Martin and designed by renowned Victorian theatre architect Charles J. Phipps with mural artist Henry Bird.[6] It opened on 5 May 1884 with a production of William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night.[7] On the theatre's opening, The Stage newspaper reported:

No element of success was wanting to contribute to the superb triumph that crowned the opening of this new theatre; the audience which thronged every available part of the house, comprised the rank and fashion of the town and county, while the charming Thespian temple, fresh from the hand of the scene painters, gleamed everywhere with light and colour. The artistically designed scenery, the dress circle brilliant with blue and gold, the crimson rested chairs, together with the soft and delicate beauty of the ceiling and mural embellishment, were the theme of audible admiration from all parts of the house.

The theatre suffered damage from fire in 1887, and was restored by Charles J. Phipps who also built the Savoy Theatre in London. Its proscenium stage was also widened in 1889. In its first four decades, productions of George Edwardes' musical comedies operas, pantomimes, burlesques and melodramas were most popular, but since becoming home to the Northampton Repertory Players in 1927, the Royal Theatre has run as a producing house ever since, now supported by a workshop and wardrobe. The Royal has, since 1976, been designated a Grade II listed building.

Actor Errol Flynn made early appearances on the Royal's stage before embarking on his film career. For several months in 1933, he was part of the Northampton Repertory Players at the Royal.[8] In January 1977, scenes for the Doctor Who serial The Talons of Weng-Chiang were shot inside the theatre.[9] The serial was set in Victorian London and an authentic atmosphere was wanted for the theatre scenes. According to director David Maloney on the DVD commentary, it was chosen because it had the nearest original fly gallery to London.

The Derngate Theatre was added to the rear of the Royal on the site of what was Northampton's former bus station. Following its conception by Northampton Borough Council, RHWL designed the new theatre and building work started in the early 1980s. It opened on 4 April 1983 with an evening performance by singer Jack Jones.

Recent years[edit]

In 1999, the Royal Theatre and the Derngate Theatre became a combined organisation, run by the Northampton Theatres Trust. In 2005, both theatres closed for an 18-month redevelopment. The total cost, £14.5 million, was received from various outlets, including £1.6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, £2.6m from the East Midlands Development Agency and Northampton Partnernship and almost £1m from partnership funding by the theatres' development team.[10] The redevelopment merged and totally refurbished both venues. A creativity centre was also built. 100 staff were made redundant but were all offered the opportunity of re-employment once the complex reopened.[10] Initially, the refurbishment work was to be in three month periods annually. However, there was a need to remove asbestos in both venues and to repair rotten flooring in the Royal. It was decided to shut the venue for over one year.[10]

Most money was spent on making the theatres "more comfortable for the audiences" with new seats and air conditioning.[11] The 1980s orange décor of Derngate was replaced with lighting techniques allowing changes the colour of the interior. The Royal was returned to its original Victorian splendour.[11] Other improvements included the creation of a joint foyer with a new main entrance. A creativity centre for education and community work was added together with an atrium-style performance space, a new rehearsal room and better changing rooms for actors.[11]

During the 18-month closure, productions were moved elsewhere: the Comedy Club moved to the Roadmender, as did the youth theatre and education work. The classical music season went to Spinney Hill Hall at Northampton School for Girls while dance moved to The Castle theatre in Wellingborough.[11]

A view of the Royal & Derngate complex from Swan Street in 2013. In 2015 an hotel was constructed in the car park in front of the building obscuring this view.

The complex reopened as Royal & Derngate in October 2006.

Royal & Derngate is now the main venue for arts and entertainment in Northamptonshire. The Royal auditorium seats 530, the Derngate seats 1,200-1,400 people and the 2013 film theatre 90. The venue offers a diverse programme: drama, dance, stand-up comedy, classical music, children’s shows, opera and pantomime. It also hosts the February degree conferment ceremonies for the University of Northampton each year. The venue has produced critically acclaimed shows including Sondheim’s Follies, J.B. Priestley’s The Glass Cage, The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie and Roald Dahl’s James And The Giant Peach, as well as collaborating with Frantic Assembly on productions of Frankenstein and Othello. World premieres have included Arthur Miller's The Hook, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and a new play about Marvin Gaye, Soul by Roy Williams. For Christmas 2016, Royal & Derngate will be presenting the European premiere of Broadway sensation Peter And The Starcatcher.

Recent success[edit]

Royal & Derngate welcomes over 300,000 audience members each year to see work in both stages and in the Underground space. 20,000 people a year also take part in over 700 creative projects. Over 20,000 people attended a free outdoor spectacular Crackers? by The World Famous at Delapre Park and a further 80,000 people enjoyed Made in Northampton productions (productions made in-house at Royal & Derngate) on tour throughout the UK.

In 2009, to celebrate its 125th anniversary, the theatres' season included a celebration of Britain's most popular living playwright, Alan Ayckbourn, a brand new show created with the funny company Spymonkey, and a Young America season featuring two rarely seen plays by Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams about young people in love. Royal & Derngate also toured co-productions of Kneehigh Theatre's Brief Encounter and with Fiery Angel, The BFG. In addition, Royal & Derngate played host to some of the biggest touring shows in the country, including the UK premiere of English National Ballet’s Angelina Ballerina’s Big Audition and Rambert Dance Company also returned since the redevelopment.

The following year, the Young America season, transferred to the National Theatre in London, winning a TMA Award and being nomination for an Evening Standard Award. In 2010, Royal & Derngate developed a new charity to provide not-for-profit management services for the complex; it also established another charity to operate Corby Cube, a new theatre in Corby.

In 2011, as well as the West End transfer of End of the Rainbow, which was nominated for 4 Olivier Awards, Royal & Derngate was named the Regional Theatre of the Year in the inaugural Stage 100 awards. In 2015 Royal & Derngate was shortlisted for Regional Theatre of the Year in The Stage Awards and won the UK Theatre Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre. In 2016 the venue won the UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production.

Made in Northampton productions[edit]

Made in Northampton is the name given to productions that have been produced in-house at Royal & Derngate. Since re-opening, Royal & Derngate has worked with various writers, creative teams and companies to produce these shows to a lot of critical and commercial avail.

Other recent highlights have included the premiere of Nicholas Wright’s adaptation of Pat Barker’s Regeneration in a co-production with Touring Consortium Theatre Company in 2014 and the premiere of Mike Poultons adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities.

The Made In Northampton 2015 season included world premieres of Arthur Miller’s The Hook in a co-production with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World in a co-production with Touring Consortium Theatre Company. The programme also included a co-production of King John with Shakespeare’s Globe and Patrick Hamilton’s classic thriller Gaslight.

Highlights of its Made In Northampton 2016 season include major tours of Peter Whelan’s The Herbal Bed (Winner of Best Touring Production in the UK Theatre Awards), King Lear starring Michael Pennington and Spymonkey’s The Complete Deaths, along with the world premiere of Soul, a new play by Roy Williams about Marvin Gaye and the European Premiere of Peter and the Starcatcher.

2016 season
Show Duration Director Notes
The Herbal Bed by Peter Whelan Fri 5 – Sat 27 February 2016 James Dacre A co-production with English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston, UK Tour

UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production

King Lear Fri 1 – Sat 23 April 2016 Max Webster Starring Michael Pennington

UK Tour in association with Ambassador Theatre Group

Spymonkey's The Complete Deaths Thu 5 – Sat 7 May 2016 (previews)

Mon 17 - Wed 19 Oct 16

Tim Crouch World Premiere

A co-production with Spymonkey and Brighton Festival

Peepolykus' The Massive Tragedy Of Madame Bovary Tue 10 – Sat 14 May 2016 Gemma Bodinetz World Premiere

A co-production with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, Bristol Old Vic and Nuffield Southampton

Soul by Roy Williams Fri 20 May – Sat 11 June 2016 James Dacre World Premiere

Starring Adjoa Andoh

A co-production with Hackney Empire

The Tempest adapted by Rebecca Lenkiewicz Thu 23 June – Sat 2 July 2016 Caroline Steinbeis A co-production with National Youth Theatre
A Tale of Two Cities adapted by Mike Poulton with music by Rachel Portman Sat 10 – Sat 17 September 2016 James Dacre World Premiere

A co-production with Touring Consortium Theatre Company

Peter and the Starcatcher adapted by Rick Elice Tue 29 November – Sat 31 December 2016 Luke Sheppard European premiere

A co-production with Paul Taylor Mills

Second Star To The Right Fri 02 Dec 16 - Sat 07 Jan 17 Jesse Jones World Premiere
2015 season
Show Duration Director Notes
Cyrano de Bergerac Fri 3 – Sat 25 April 2015 Lorne Campbell A co-production with Northern Stage
King John Fri 24 April – Sat 16 May 2015 James Dacre A co-production with Shakespeare's Globe

Also performed at Temple Church, Salisbury Cathedral and Holy Sepulchre Church

The Hook by Arthur Miller Fri 5 – Sat 27 June 2015 James Dacre World Premiere

A co-production with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse.

Brave New World adapted by Dawn King with music by These New Puritans Fri 4 – Sat 26 September 2015 James Dacre A co-production with Touring Consortium Theatre Company
Gaslight by Patrick Hamilton Fri 16 October – Sat 7 November 2015 Lucy Bailey Starring Tara Fitzgerald
The Snow Queen by Georgia Pritchett Wed 25 November 2015 – Sat 3 January 2016 Gary Sefton World Premiere

A co-production with Nuffield Theatre

The Herbal Bed by Peter Whelan Fri 5 – Sat 27 February 2016 James Dacre A co-production with English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston, UK Tour

UK Theatre Award for Best Touring Production

Season won UK Theatre Award for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre
2014 season
Show Duration Director Notes
A Tale of Two Cities, adapted by Mike Poulton 21 February — 15 March James Dacre World Premiere

Composed by Rachel Portman

The Body of An American by Dan O'Brien 27 February — 8 March James Dacre European Premiere

A co-production with The Gate Theatre

Nominated for Evening Standard Award

Every Last Trick, adapted by Tamsin Oglesby 18 April — 10 May Paul Hunter World Premiere

A collaboration between members of Spymonkey and Told By An Idiot

Moominsummer Madness, adapted by Phil Porter 22 May — 1 June Dani Parr and Peter Gianville World Premiere

A co-production with Polka Theatre, in association with Little Angel Theatre

Pat Barker's Regeneration, adapted for the stage by Nicholas Wright 22 August — 20 September Simon Godwin World Premiere

A co-production with Touring Consortium Theatre Company

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams 1 — 18 October James Dacre A co-production with Northern Stage and the Royal Exchange Theatre
Merlin by Ella Hickson 26 November 2014 — 4 January 2015 Liam Steel World Premiere

A co-production with Nuffield Theatre

2013 season
Show Duration Director Notes
One for the Road 1 — 23 February Laurie Sansom Part of Comedy Gold season
Mr Whatnot 15 March — 6 April Cal McCrystal Part of Comedy Gold season
A Midsummer Night's Dream 19 April — 11 May Gary Sefton Part of Comedy Gold season
Dancing at Lughnasa 24 May — 15 June Richard Beecham
To Sir, With Love 6 — 28 September Mark Babych World Premiere

Nominated—WhatsOnStage Award for Best Regional Production

The Wind in the Willows 27 November 2013 — 5 January 2014 Gary Sefton
2012 season
Show Duration Director Notes
Oedipussy 3 — 18 February Emma Rice World Premiere

A co-production with Spymonkey

Ladies in Lavender 6 — 21 April Robin Lefevre A co-production with Daniel Schumann and Lee Dean
The Bacchae 18 May — 30 June Laurie Sansom Part of the Festival of Chaos season
Blood Wedding 18 May — 30 June Laurie Sansom Part of the Festival of Chaos season
Hedda Gabler 6 — 28 July Laurie Sansom Part of the Festival of Chaos season
Bully Boy 24 August — 15 September David Gilmore and Patrick Sandford World Premiere

A co-production with Lee Dean, Charles Diamond, Daniel Schumann and St James Theatre

God of Carnage 19 October — 10 November Kate Saxon
A Christmas Carol 28 November 2012 — 6 January 2013 Gary Sefton
Humbug! 11 December 2012 — 13 January 2013 Dani Parr
2011 season
Show Duration Director Notes
The Years Between 4 — 26 February Kate Saxon Nominated—TMA Award for Best Performance in a Play
Diary of a Nobody 4 — 19 March Gary Sefton A co-production with Under the Radar Partnership
In Praise of Love 1 — 23 April Richard Beecham
Hamlet! The Musical 6 — 21 May Ryan McBride A co-production with Eleanor Lloyd Productions
Eden End 6 — 25 June Laurie Sansom
End of the Rainbow 25 August — 3 September Terry Johnson Post West End revival, prior to national tour
A co-production with Lee Dean
Basket Case 9 — 24 September Robin Lefevre A co-production with Lee Dean
The Two Gentlemen of Verona 30 September — 22 October Matthew Dunster
The Go-Between 2 — 19 November Roger Haines World Premiere

A co-production with Derby Live and West Yorkshire Playhouse
UK Theatre Award for Best Production of a Musical

Alice in Wonderland 30 November 2011 — 8 January 2012 Laurie Sansom and Dani Parr
2010 season
Show Duration Director Notes
End of the Rainbow 5 — 20 February Terry Johnson Part of Addicted to You season
A co-production with Lee Dean
Revived at Trafalgar Studios, London from 2010 to 2011
Revived at Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis in 2012
Revived at Belasco Theatre, New York in 2010
Outer Critics' Circle Award and Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
Nominated—Laurence Olivier Awards for Best Actress, Best New Play, Best Supporting Actor and Best Sound Design
Nominated—Tony Awards for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Sound Design
My Zinc Bed 26 February — 13 March Laurie Sansom Part of Addicted to You season
Honest 26 February — 13 March Mike Bartlett World Premiere

Part of Addicted to You season

Travels with My Aunt 30 April — 15 May Gary Sefton
Town 18 June — 3 July Esther Richardson World Premiere

Part of Hometown season

Flathampton 9 — 17 July Dani Parr Part of Hometown season
Revived in 2011
The Talented Mr. Ripley 17 September — 9 October Raz Shaw
The Duchess of Malfi 15 — 30 October Laurie Sansom Nominated—TMA Award for Best Design
The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe 1 December 2010 — 9 January 2011 Dani Parr
Through the Wardrobe 7 — 19 December Beth van der Ham-Edwards
2009 season
Show Duration Director Notes
Noël Coward's Brief Encounter 13 — 28 February Emma Rice Kneehigh Theatre in collaboration with Royal & Derngate
TMA Award for Best Touring Production
The BFG 12 — 28 March Phil Clark A co-production with Fiery Angel
Under Milk Wood 1 — 16 May Adele Thomas
Wish Wash 6 — 27 June Dani Parr
Just Between Ourselves 22 May — 13 June Mark Rosenblatt Part of Ayckbourn at 70 season
Private Fears in Public Places 22 June — 11 July Laurie Sansom Part of Ayckbourn at 70 season
Nominated—TMA Award for Best Lighting Design
Man of the Moment 27 July — 15 August Alan Ayckbourn Ayckbourn at 70 season
Moby Dick 18 — 26 September Jos Houben A co-production with Spymonkey
Beyond the Horizon and Spring Storm 9 October — 14 November Laurie Sansom Part of Young America season
Revived at London's National Theatre in 2010
TMA Award for Best Director and Best Lighting Design
Nominated—Evening Standard Award for Best Director
Honk! 1 December 2009 — 3 January 2010 Andrew Panton
2008 season
Show Duration Director Notes
The Clean House 1 — 16 February John Dove In association with Lee Dean
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein 22 February — 15 March Laurie Sansom In association with Frantic Assembly
Humble Boy 11 April — 3 May Richard Beecham
Laurel and Hardy 20 — 31 May Peter Rowe A co-production with New Wolsey, Ipswich in association with Anvil Arts
James and the Giant Peach 13 — 28 June Dani Parr
The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie 12 September — 4 October Laurie Sansom TMA Award for Best Performance in a Play
Revived at Assembly Hall, Edinburgh in 2009
Othello 7 — 18 October Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett Frantic Assembly and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Royal & Derngate
TMA Award for Best Director
The Wizard of Oz 3 December 2008 — 11 January 2009 Laurie Sansom
2007 season
Show Duration Director Notes
Twelfth Night 26 January — 17 February Laurie Sansom Part of A Season of Love and Madness
Soap 2 — 24 March Laurie Sansom Part of A Season of Love and Madness
The Way of the World 27 April — 19 May Selina Cadell Part of A Season of Love and Madness
Knitwits 21 April — 12 May Dani Parr
Closer 25 May — 16 June Tamara Harvey
Starseeker 22 June — 7 July Dani Parr
Time of My Life 21 September — 13 October Laurie Sansom
The Glass Cage 1 — 17 November
101 Dalmatians 4 December 2007 — 6 January 2008 Dani Parr
2006 season
Show Duration Director Notes
Follies 20 October – 18 November Laurie Sansom Nominated—TMA Award for Best Musical Production
Pinocchio 5 December 2006 — 13 January 2007 Lu Kemp

Errol Flynn Filmhouse[edit]

Errol Flynn Filmhouse
Errol Flynn Filmhouse - part of Derngate Theatre Complex, Northampton, England.jpg
Errol Flynn Filmhouse is attached to Royal & Derngate
Address Derngate, Northampton, NN1 1UD
Location Northampton, England, UK
Owner Northampton Theatres Trust
Type Cinema
Capacity 88
Construction
Built 2013
Opened 2013
Website
www.errolflynnfilmhouse.com

The Errol Flynn Filmhouse is a cinema located in the Cultural Quarter of Northampton and is named after the actor Errol Flynn. Flynn spent 18 months as an actor in the nearby Royal Theatre during 1934 and 1935 before heading for Hollywood. The cinema has a capacity of 90 and is attached to the theatre complex. The cinema opened on 20 June 2013, Flynn's birthday.[12][13]

Due to the success of the Filmhouse, a second screen has been added to the site [14]

History[edit]

The first film shown was Behind the Candelebra. With the first public screening being Summer in February.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ England, Historic. "THEATRE ROYAL - 1039681 - Historic England". Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  2. ^ "London Theatre News, Reviews, Interviews and more - WhatsOnStage". Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Town theatre wins national award". 6 January 2011. Retrieved 9 August 2016 – via bbc.co.uk. 
  4. ^ "Northampton's Royal & Derngate scoops prestigious UK Theatre Award". Retrieved 6 October 2016. 
  5. ^ "Royal & Derngate nominated as regional theatre of year in The Stage awards". Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  6. ^ http://www.turnipnet.com/atc/safetycurtain.htm Henry Bird and his Theatrical Mural on the Ashcroft Theatre Safety Curtain, Croydon
  7. ^ Pevsner, Nikolaus (1961). The Buildings of England – Northamptonshire. London and New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 334. ISBN 978-0-300-09632-3. 
  8. ^ Connelly, Gerry (1998). Errol Flynn in Northampton. Domra Publications. ISBN 978-0-9524417-2-4. 
  9. ^ "The Talons Of Weng-Chiang". A Brief History Of Time (Travel). Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c "Accounts". Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Dramatic changes at the Royal and Derngate". BBC. Retrieved 9 August 2016. 
  12. ^ "Northampton's new Errol Flynn Filmhouse cinema to open next week". Northampton Chronicle & Echo. June 12, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Cine-files: Errol Flynn Filmhouse, Northampton". The Guardian. September 24, 2013. 
  14. ^ "Second screen for Errol Flynn Filmhouse - Errol Flynn Filmhouse". Errol Flynn Filmhouse. 2015-07-27. Retrieved 2016-11-07. 
  15. ^ "Errol Flynn Filmhouse: Northampton cinema set to open". BBC. June 12, 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Guide to British Theatres 1750-1950, John Earl and Michael Sell pp. 170–71 (Theatres Trust, 2000) ISBN 0-7136-5688-3

External links[edit]