Royal & Derngate to premiere four new musicals in 2021

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Last Updated on 20 December 2020 by Showcall Editorial Team

Royal & Derngate announce four new musicals are lined up to debut in 2021 including An Improbable Musical, Gin Craze! and Scot Free.

Royal and Derngate Theatre New Musicals 2021

Royal & Derngate in Northampton is to premiere four new musicals in 2021, including the staging of a new gin-themed show by April de Angelis and Lucy Rivers.

The first in the Made in Northampton line-up will be An Improbable Musical, an improvised show created for each performance by theatre company Improbable’s ensemble using suggestions from the audience. Directed by co-artistic director of Improbable Lee Simpson with music devised and directed by Yshani Perinpanayagam, it is scheduled to run on the Derngate stage from 19 March to 27 March.

Gin Craze!, which will debut in the Royal auditorium from 19 June to 3 July, tells the story of women living in 18th-century London when the average Briton drank 1.5 litres of gin every day, drawing inspiration from Hogarth’s notorious illustration of a chaotic Gin Lane.

It features book and lyrics by April de Angelis and music and lyrics by Lucy Rivers and is directed by Michael Oakley. It is a co-production with China Plate theatre company in partnership with English Touring Theatre.

On 1 and 2 October, Scot Free will premiere as concert performances at the theatre, telling the story of three friends from Aberdeen who come up with a brazen scheme to make it in the music industry after struggling to break into the world of hip hop.

Inspired by a true story, it has a book and lyrics by Jonny Wright and music and lyrics by Tim Gilvin and will be directed by Tinuke Craig. It has been developed by Royal & Derngate with musical theatre specialist Perfect Pitch.

The venue is also supporting the release of digital musical On Hostile Ground which is inspired by the stories of people affected by the Government’s “hostile environment” policy on immigration. Lyrics are by Darren Clark, book by Juliet Gilkes Romero, and music and orchestrations by Michael Henry and it is co-created and directed by Charlotte Westenra.

It will initially be released as a series of 14 music videos from 16 February onwards. It has come out of a Musical Theatre Dark Room development residency held at Royal & Derngate in 2019 in partnership with China Plate, Mercury Musical Developments and Musical Theatre Network.

With the support of Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence fund, Royal & Derngate has been leading a consortium including China Plate, Improbable, Mercury Musical Development, Musical Theatre Network, Perfect Pitch and Scottish Opera to address barriers that prevent the creation of new and original musical theatre specifically developed for mid-scale regional touring.

James Dacre, Royal & Derngate artistic director, said: “At the end of such a devastating year for our sector, I’m thrilled that as our theatre begins to emerge from the pandemic, we’ll do so alongside this inspiring range of artists who have reminded us of the importance of remaining ambitious, relevant and determined to create original work.

“Over five years up to 2017, Royal & Derngate welcomed an audience of more than 200,000 to 50 visiting musicals. Only one of them was a new work.

“Almost all of these 50 shows had played in our larger Derngate auditorium with little mid-scale musical theatre available to play in our Royal auditorium. So we set out to change this. Since then, we have collaborated with six consortium partners and over 100 inspiring artists to champion new musical theatre voices. Together we will have premiered at least six entirely original musicals by 2021.”

The theatre has previously staged new musicals Fox-Tot! and The Season and streamed digital musical #ZoologicalSociety to over 130,000 people.

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Mark Ludmon
About Mark Ludmon 42 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre as well as hospitality and drinks after starting out on regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He has also been on the judging panel for the Olivier Awards. He can be found tweeting as @MarkLudmon and writing about theatre at https://markludmon.com.