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Royal and Derngate to ‘revitalise’ mid-scale musicals with new touring initiative

James Dacre, artistic director of the Royal and Derngate James Dacre, artistic director of the Royal and Derngate
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Northampton’s Royal and Derngate has been given more than £684,000 to develop new musical theatre specifically for mid-scale venues.

The theatre will lead a consortium comprising producing companies China Plate and Improbable and musical theatre development companies Mercury Musical Developments, Musical Theatre Network and Perfect Pitch, as well as Scottish Opera.

The initiative has been given £684,075 from Arts Council England to help encourage a diverse range of writers, composers and theatremakers create original musicals for mid-scale regional touring in the UK.

Arts Council’s area director Peter Knott said the venture would “revitalise the creation of new musicals for mid-scale theatres”.

Its flagship project will be the creation of four original musicals, however plans also include a festival showcasing touring musicals, a symposium on musical theatre and opera, and a series of artist development programmes.

Royal and Derngate artistic director James Dacre said the consortium’s work would address “the barriers that have prevented the production of new music theatre specifically designed for mid-scale regional touring”.

“As the distinctions between musical theatre, opera and plays with music are increasingly blurring, we shall support at least 150 artists to create a diverse range of truly original new work. These are exciting times.

“The will, the talent and the audience is out there but only through sharing the risk, the resources and expertise can this step-change happen.”

Last week, it emerged that Theatre Royal Stratford East had ditched its Musical Theatre Workshop after almost 20 years.

Staff overhaul at Theatre Royal Stratford East as venue ditches musicals focus

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