Tim Pigott-Smith to star in Death of a Salesman as part of new Royal and Derngate season

Tim Pigott-Smith in King_Charles III. Photo: Joan Marcus
Tim Pigott-Smith in King_Charles III. Photo: Joan Marcus
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Tim Pigott-Smith is to star as Willy Loman in a new production of Death of a Salesman at the Royal and Derngate.

The production of Arthur Miller's play, directed by Abigail Graham, will form part of the theatre’s new season, which also includes John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati, and a site-specific show about football. It also features Agatha Christie’s Love from a Stranger, directed by Lucy Bailey.

The Royal and Derngate said the season had been created in response to the “seismic social and political change” of 2016.

Artistic director James Dacre said: “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.”

He told The Stage that the year had been one of “enormous cultural change” too, and added: “It feels like artists are very engaged with the responsibility of theatre to encourage debate and to focus upon telling stories of those caught up in the maelstrom of political events over the past 12 months.”

Death of a Salesman will run from April 8 to 29. Following its run at the theatre it will tour to towns and cities including Cambridge and Bath.

Dacre said the play has “topical relevance as we look to the start of a new chapter in American political culture”.

He said Graham and Pigott-Smith were aware of the relevance of the story and the fact “it must be told in 2017”.

“It’s a production they have got such strong and original ideas for,” he added.

The Grapes of Wrath will run from May 9 to 20 and is directed by Abbey Wright. It is a co-production with Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Nottingham Playhouse and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Also in the season is the European premiere of An Iliad, adapted by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, from a translation of Homer’s chronicle by Robert Fagles.

The season also includes a new show called The Twelfth Player that promises “interactive technology” to bring to life the story of fans of Northampton Town Football Club over the past 70 years. In collaboration with Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, Seven Sisters Group and the football club, it will run at the Sixfields Stadium from June 3 to July 2, on Saturdays and Sundays. The show will give audiences a tour of the Sixfields Stadium, and blend “site specific performance and handheld video technology”.

Dacre said the production would show how an art gallery, a theatre and a football club can “work together in the creation of a really unique project”.

Simon Godwin returns to the venue to direct Sam Holcroft’s Rules for Living in September, running from September 8 to 30. The show will then tour, in a co-production with English Touring Theatre and Rose Theatre Kingston.

The season also includes the premiere of Education, Education, Education, from the Wardrobe Ensemble, and Simple8’s A Passage to India.

Dacre said he was “championing ensemble theatre” by programming these companies.

“We want to be able to give opportunities to emerging companies,” he said.

A Christmas show The Singing Mermaid, based on the book by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks, will be directed and adapted by Samantha Lane. It will have music composed by Barb Jungr and run in the Underground Studio.

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