By Mark Shenton
29 Nov 2012
The final season for artistic director Laurie Sansom, who leaves early next year to head up the National Theatre of Scotland, will also include three comedies, billed as the Comedy Gold season, by three beloved playwrights – Willy Russell's One for the Road, Alan Ayckbourn's Mr Whatnot and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, plus a new production of Brian Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa.
In a press statement, Sansom commented, "After seven years at Royal & Derngate, it is with great pleasure and sadness that I introduce my final Made In Northampton season, which starts with our Comedy Gold programme. Featuring hilarious comedies by three of the country's most celebrated writers, this feels a fitting way to celebrate seven years as custodian of one of the country’s most beautiful theatres." Sansom will himself direct One for the Road as his final own final show there, beginning performances Feb. 1, 2013, prior to an official opening Feb. 5, for a run through Feb. 23.
Ayckbourn's Mr Whatnot will begin performances March 15, prior to an official opening March 19, for a run through April 6; A Midsummer Night's Dream will begin performances April 19, prior to an official opening April 23, for a run through May 11; Dancing at Lughnasa will begin performances May 24, prior to an official opening May 28, for a run through June 15; and To Sir, With Love will begin performances Sept. 6, prior to an official opening Sept. 10, for a run through Sept. 28.
To Sir, With Love is described in press materials as an inspirational story of courage and hope. "Ricky Braithwaite, a Cambridge graduate, arrives in London and soon learns what it is to be black in post-war England. As a teacher in a 'failing' East End school, he must find a way into the hearts and minds of his unruly class to motivate and inspire the disillusioned and challenging teenagers. Teacher and pupils embark on a difficult journey as Ricky learns humility and understanding and his pupils learn to trust, respect and love this highly unusual man."
This new stage adaptation is by Ayub Khan-Din, whose East is East was subsequently made into a feature film.
To book tickets for the season, contact the box office on 01604 624811 or visit www.royalandderngate.co.uk for more details.