Derby Theatre announce new city-wide project DERBY RISES

Derby Theatre logo.jpg

Derby Rises

Part of Derby CAN
(Creative Arts Network)

Sunday 27 September, 2020
Derby Theatre

Derby Theatre and partners celebrate easing out of quarantine and lockdown with community co-creation project

To celebrate the city’s emergence and easing out of lockdown and quarantine, Derby Theatre and partners of Derby CAN (Creative Arts Network) are thrilled to announce Derby Risesa radical combination of newly commissioned artistic pieces of work, community-based workshops and an evening of celebration and entertainment at Derby Theatre on Sunday 27 September.

Derby Rises is a citywide version of The Bakery of Slow Ideas; a community art practice created by Leo Kay from London-based Unfinished Business. Together, Leo and Project Collaborator Anna Smith, make interactive and intimate performance, working with both artists and non-artists in the UK and throughout Europe. For Derby Rises, they are currently working with Derby Theatre, various community groups, artists, and partners from the region to creatively explore the themes of hope, identity and how we emerge as a city from lockdown through this concept.

The roots of The Bakery of Slow Ideas are based on a desire to nurture healing communication, to allow communities space to have a meaningful dialogue, to digest together and to allow for emergent ideas to arise from this interaction. Whether that community be within an arts context or within a culturally, socially or experience specific context, the aspirations stay the same. The fact that the communities that we are engaging with in this specific process are not often afforded space to be seen and heard within contemporary urban culture, makes their engagement all the more important.

Community Workshops

Since early July, Leo Kay, Derby CAN Partners, and the commissioned artists have collaborated with various community groups : the LGBTQ+ community; the New Arrivals, Asylum Seekers and Refugee community and a newly formed group who identify as Working Class.   

The workshops explore each community group’s response to the pandemic, their personal manifestos for the future, and their hopes for their city. The commissioned artists are attending each workshop to develop and create a short performance in response to each community’s contributions which will be performed at the Theatre on Sunday 27 September. 

On Sunday 27 September, the overall project will culminate in a socially distanced cabaret-style performance and celebration at Derby Theatre, which will also be livestreamed.  The performance will bring together the content of the workshops, presented as artistic responses to each community group’s work. The artists who will perform on the evening, and those involved at the workshop stage, are: Jamie Thrasivoulou (an award-winning writer, poet, lyricist, and educator from Derby); Amy Pennington (an artist who makes work using humour to connect human experiences and socio-political issues); Symoné (a hula hoop artiste, dancer, roller-skater and Vaudeville Dynamo);  and Mr Supreme (a UK rap artist based in the East Midlands). On the evening, each artist will perform their short response piece and a performance poet will perform a new poem inspired by the words displayed and contributed via the Graffiti Wall. Sinfonia VIVA, a British, award-winning orchestra from Derby, will play a short set from a string quartet at the event and Derby Jazz, a long-established organisation who support and develop Jazz in the city, will also perform.

An invited audience on the night will include members of the community involved in the workshops, their friends, and families plus an allocation of tickets available to members of the public.  

To complement this, from Monday 21 until Saturday 26 September, a Graffiti Wall will be erected on Cathedral Green in the city, a creative space that will be accessible to the public to add their thoughts and dreams for their respective communities post-lockdown. Project partner, Baby People, a music and arts development organisation based in the city, the UK’s first dedicated Hip Hop school which uses art and culture to engage and support the needs of the most deprived in our communities, will engage with various groups to decorate the wall throughout the week, to enhance contributions from the public. As part of this, local graffiti artists will run drop-in workshops for the public as part of the Derby Festé art trail.

Derby Rises is part of Derby CAN (Creative Arts Network), a 3-year, multi-partner Arts Council England £1.5 million funded project to work, co-curate and co-create with different communities, to support and strengthen the performing arts sector in the local area. The project partners include: Baby PeopleChina PlateCrying Out LoudDédaDerby City CouncilDerby County Community Trust, In Good Company, Maison FooMilk Presents, Not Too Tame, QUAD, University of Derby and Wild Rumpus

The Derby Rises celebration event will be on Sunday 27 September and will take place at Derby Theatre from 7.30pm.



New socially-distanced, self-guided family trail comes to The Bancroft Terrace from the creators of ‘Inside Out’ and ‘The Swirl’

Inspired by the themes, characters and plot of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors


Family Theatre Trail
RSC actors Greg Haiste and Jonathan Broadbent celebrate the opening of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s new socially distanced family trail.

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has today announced details of an exciting new installation for families, arriving on The Bancroft Terrace from Wed 26 August.

Designed by Andrew Lock and Fiona Barlow – whose previous work for the RSC includes ‘The Swirl’ and ‘Inside Out’ – this fully immersive family trail has been specifically designed with social-distancing in mind and takes its inspiration from the plot, themes and characters of William Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, which was due to run in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre this Spring but was postponed in March due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

Featuring a series of interconnected floor-based vinyls, families are invited to join estranged twins Antipholus of Syracuse and Antipholus of Ephesus and their servants Dromio of Ephesus and Dromio of Syracuse on a perilous journey across the ocean in search of their long lost brothers.

Follow in the footsteps of Shakespeare’s hapless heroes as they brave storm, shipwreck, strange new worlds, high-seas and high-jinks to be re-united with their long-lost family once more with this fun and colourful journey through Shakespeare’s fairy-tale farce!

This new piece of work, sponsored by Darwin Escapes, builds upon the RSC’s Inside Out programme, a new area of free events and activities on the Bancroft Terrace which aims to bring the world of theatre from inside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre to the outside.

Geraldine Collinge, Director of Events and Exhibitions at the Royal Shakespeare Company, said: “As families across the region return to Stratford-upon-Avon for their Summer Holidays, we wanted to create a piece of work which captured the spirit of our ‘Inside Out’ programme of free pop-up activities on the Bancroft Terrace, that didn’t rely on visitors having to touch or engage with a structure of any kind. Working with our brilliant Designers Andrew Lock and Fiona Barlow and Creative Consultant Hal Chambers, who is also Assistant Director of The Comedy of Errors, we have come up with a fun, floor-based alternative which can be enjoyed in a fully socially-distanced way. We hope this specially-adapted family trail will offer added reassurance to visitors whilst, at the same time, entertaining and inspiring young people through their discovery of Shakespeare’s characters and works!”

Visitors can continue to enjoy a daily takeaway service from the RSC’s Riverside Café and ‘Rocket’ Ice Cream which is open from 10am to 4pm daily.

Both will serve a wide range of drinks, ice cream, crisps and cakes. The Riverside Cafe will offer a full range of fair-trade tea and coffee. Alcohol will also be served from 12noon.

Customers are asked that they observe social distancing throughout their visit, using the markings on the pavement and payment is by contactless card only. The riverside furniture and the tables at the front of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre have been removed, for the safety of visitors.

Josie Lawrence in The Boss of It All

Josie Lawrence is The Boss of It All in streamed Lars von Trier stage adaptation

New Perspectives update Danish office comedy for the ‘work from home’ era 

Josie Lawrence and six other actors will perform the show live from their homes 

Streamed by Soho Theatre for five performances from 18th – 20th September 

“Sharp and smart” «««« The Stage 

@NPtheatre | | @sohotheatre | 

The cult classic Lars von Trier film, The Boss of It All, has been adapted for a specially staged streamed version by theatre company New Perspectives, with Josie Lawrence playing the title character. The office comedy drama was originally presented at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2013 to widespread critical acclaim before transferring to Soho Theatre.  In 2020 the office setting has now become a remote working set up, with the action taking place via a series of Zoom meetings. Josie will lead a cast of seven performing live from their homes, and will be joined each night by a different comedian guest cameo from around the globe.  

For years the boss of an IT company has tricked his staff into believing he is simply another co-worker. So when he needs a ‘real’ boss to help close the deal of a lifetime, he hires an actor to play the role. What could possibly go wrong? Marking one of Lars von Trier’s rare forays into comedy, this distinctive and eccentric exploration of office politics has been rewritten for the stage by Jack McNamara following its hit premiere seven years ago. The play has since been performed around the world 

Josie Lawrence stars as Kristina (gender flipped from the original Kristoffer in the film), the out-of-work actor hired to play the boss of the company. She is best known as a regular guest on Whose Line Is It Anyway?, as well as Manda Best in EastEnders and recent role of Agnes Nutter in Good Omens. The eight-strong cast also includes Ross Armstrong (Chernobyl, Mr Selfridge), award-winning UK-based Japanese comedian Yuriko Kotani and a special guest cameo from a different comedian for each performance. 

The Boss of It All is a New Perspectives and Soho Theatre co-production in association with Derby QUAD. 

Josie Lawrence said, “Really excited to be working with one of my favourite directors Jack McNamara again. Love this adaption and can’t wait to get started. It’s live theatre streamed from our homes to yours. Hope you can join us.” 

New Perspectives Artistic Director Jack McNamara said, “The Boss of it All is a comedy about dodgy leadership, work instability and the artifice of daily life. So it is little surprise that the play has gained an entirely fresh resonance in the time we find ourselves in today. Rewriting it for zoom brought out a clear political centre that was almost unnoticeable six years ago. It’s hard today not to recognise a story about finding ourselves in the hands of leaders whose conviction goes no deeper than the script they are holding.”  

New Perspectives is an East Midlands based company with over 40 years’ experience of touring high-quality productions to venues of all sizes across the UK, from mid-scale theatres to village halls.  With a strong rural core, they create productions to fit spaces of any size in order to bring new work that is unexpected and thought-provoking to a wide range of audiences. Since 2012, New Perspectives has been led by Artistic Director Jack McNamara whose productions include The Boss of It All by Lars von Trier (Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh and Soho Theatre), The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock by David Rudkin (Brits off Broadway, New York and UK tour), Darkness, Darkness (Nottingham Playhouse co-production) and the Stage Award winning The Fishermen by Gbolohan Obisesan (Trafalgar Studios, Assembly George Square Studios and UK Tour). Their podcast series PlacePrints is currently available, and their postcard drama Love From Cleethorpes is available again from October. 

Soho Theatre is London’s most vibrant producer for new theatre, comedy and cabaret. We pursue creative excellence, harnessing an artistic spirit that is based in our new writing roots, the radical ethos of the fringe and the traditions of punk culture and queer performance. We champion voices that challenge from outside of the mainstream, and sometimes from within it too. We value entertainment, accessibility and enjoy a good show. We are a registered charity and social enterprise and our audiences are diverse in age, background and outlook. 

Ordinarily our work plays to live audiences of 250,000 audiences a year in our Dean Street venue, at the Edinburgh Fringe and beyond. Since our temporary closure due to Covid-19 we have re-launched our online platform Soho Theatre On Demand, which hosted the phenomenally successful live recording of Fleabag. We are also working towards the opening of an exciting second venue, a “local theatre with a national profile” in Walthamstow, currently slated to open in 2022. 

Soho Theatre’s board is chaired by Dame Heather Rabbatts DBE and the company is led by Executive Director Mark Godfrey and Creative Director David Luff. | | @sohotheatre 

Company Inforrmation 

Director Jack McNamara                                  Design Consultant Lily Arnold 

Digital Consultancy TECH:SQUAD                  Digital Producer Darius Powell           

Technical Delivery Officer Adam Crowther       Stage Manager Oran O’Neill 


Kristina Josie Lawrence            Ravn Ross Armstrong 

PA David Alade                         Gorm Angela Bain                                Lise Rachel Summers    

Mette Yuriko Kotani                   Spencer Jamie de Courcey                   The Voice Tone Haldrup Lorenzen 

Listings information  

18 – 20 September 

Friday 18 September at 8pm 

Saturday 19 September at 4pm and 8pm 

Sunday 20 September at 4pm and 8pm 

Tickets from £8 – £15 | 

A New Perspectives and Soho Theatre co-production in association with Derby QUAD. Presented by arrangement with Nordiska ApS, Copenhagen. New Perspectives is supported using public funding from Arts Council England, Lottery Funded. 

Golden Toad Theatre launch West End led music video for Errol’s Garden

Golden Toad Theatre launch West End led music
video for Errol’s Garden

Following their recent collaboration with West End stars, Courtney Stapleton (Six) and Joe
Griffiths-Brown (Hamilton), Golden Toad Theatre are thrilled to reveal their finished music
video, starring green-fingered children from across the country. Encouraged to sing along and share photos and drawings of their garden creations, children have mucked in to bring the musical of Gillian Hibbs’ award-winning book, Errol’s Garden, to life during lockdown.

The garden-inspired summer project has seen children’s creativity bloom, with over 25 different types of plants and flowers flourishing at their fingertips, from apples to zinnias and runner beans. Alongside the musical project, animator Lee Cooper has created two brilliant activity videos inspired by Hibbs’ original book, showing children how to craft origami flowers, and decorate your own recycled pot.

Golden Toad’s Co-Directors, Caroline Wigmore and Jennifer Green, comment, We were
astounded by the joyful submissions we received from children across the country. It’s wonderful to see the results of so much passion for plants and fun with growing. Thank you to all our participants for your enthusiasm, singing, drawing and photo submissions. We hope that you enjoy being part of Errol’s music video with West End stars Joe Griffiths-Brown & Courtney Stapleton!

With the touring interactive musical adaptation of Errol’s Garden on hiatus until Spring/Summer 2021, Golden Toad Theatre are keen to still use Gillian Hibbs’ award-winning book to help children’s creativity blossom with exciting and educational content available online. Further tour information and dates will be announced in due course.

Golden Toad Theatre are thrilled to be supported by the Arts Council emergency funding for the continuation of their work.

Associate Director Completes 116 Mile “Step For The REP”

Steve Ball walks from Birmingham to London’s Theatre Land to raise funds for The REP’s industry-leading work with young people 

Associate Director, Steve Ball at the finish line in Leicester Square – credit Elliott Franks 

Completed over the course of seven days, Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Associate Director, Steve Ball finished his 116 mile walk from The REP to London’s Leicester Square in the heart of the West End’s “Theatre Land” on Friday 28 August. Step For The REP has raised a total of over £3,700 to date, with donations still coming in. 

The walk was taken in order to raise funds for The REP’s industry-leading work with young people and continue to highlight the ongoing vulnerable situation for theatres across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

As a registered charity, The REP has always relied on the support of its donors, sponsors and funders, never more so since being unable to trade from March 19 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The REP’s internationally renowned creative learning programme is one of the largest in the UK, each year engaging over 70,000 children, young people and adults in the community.  

Starting outside The REP on Saturday 22 August, Steve walked to London’s Leicester Square, arriving on Friday 28 August where he was joined for the final leg by The REP’s Artistic Director, Sean Foley. 

Associate Director, Steve Ball said; “I am delighted to have completed my 116 mile Step For The REP challenge; raising funds for the theatre’s renowned work with children and young people whilst also continuing the highlight of the plight and importance of our region’s theatres. 

“A huge thanks goes to all of those who have donated so far and shown their support. It has also been fantastic to be joined by friends, past and present staff and volunteers from The REP along my journey, including our Artistic Director, Sean Foley who joined me for the final leg from Watford to Leicester Square.” 

Artistic Director, Sean Foley commented; “All of us at The REP are extremely grateful for Steve’s achievement and fundraising for our theatre – the UK’s oldest building-based company and the only producing theatre in the UK’s second city. It has been an honour to join Steve for his final day of the Step For The REP challenge. A huge thank you goes out to all of those who have donated and shown their support to theatres everywhere and to the friends and supporters of The REP.”  

Rachel Cranny, Head of Fundraising added; “Fundraising has never been more vital for The REP and we’re very grateful that one of our own team has taken on a personal challenge to support where he works, it’s fantastic! Thank you to everyone who donated and put a spring in Steve’s step.” 

Leicester Square lies in the heart of the West End, where countless productions have transferred from the second city’s only producing theatre during its 107-year history. Back in the 1920’s, founder of The REP, Sir Barry Jackson transferred his pioneering Shakespearean productions to London’s theatre scene, the first to be seen in modern dress. More contemporary examples include The Snowman which marked its 22nd consecutive season at London’s Peacock Theatre in 2019 and Nativity! The Musical which started life at The REP in 2017. Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s Khandan transferred to the Royal Court and Rachel De-lahey’s Circles to the Tricycle Theatre (now Kiln Theatre) in 2014 as well as touring local community spaces. Bryony Lavery’s award-winning play, Frozen, opened at The REP in 1998. The show went on to play at the National Theatre in 2002 and in 2018 it was revived at Theatre Royal Haymarket starring Jason Watkins, Suranne Jones and Nina Sosanya.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, The REP has sought to continue as many of its projects with young people as possible, finding innovative ways to take activities online and provide vital support for participants. As a producing theatre, The REP generates 80% of its income through tickets, events and associated revenue such as refreshment sales. The closure due to the current crisis has therefore presented a real and imminent threat to its survival and fundraising has never been more crucial. 

For more information on Step For The REP and to make a donation click here or visit To find out about more ways you can support The REP visit  

The REP would also like to thank loyal sponsors Colour Cubed for their design and print support for Step For The REP.  





Following the sell-out success of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot in June, Lockdown Theatre,in association with The Royal Theatrical Fund,today announcesa live virtual table read of Private Lives by Noël Coward. The table read will take place onSunday 13 September at 7pm with the generous permission from the Noël Coward Foundation.

Jonathan Church directs Sanjeev Bhaskar (Victor), Emilia Clarke (Sybil), Robert Lindsay (Elyot) and Emma Thompson (Amanda). Tickets are £35 and all the funds raised from Lockdown Theatres’ Private Lives will be used as a crisis grant to support those who are struggling financially in the theatre industry during these unprecedented times.

The live table read will take place via Zoom, followed by a live Q&A with the cast and director chaired by Paul Jackson.

Amanda and Elyot Chase, after a tempestuous marriage have just married again to completely different partners; Elyot to the delightful, young Sybil and Amanda to the upright Victor Prynne. Elyot and Sybil arrive for the first night of their honeymoon at an hotel on the south coast of France, the Cote D’Azur. Sibyl loves being married. She is as much in love with the idea of being a bride as she is with her husband, Elyot, perhaps more so and tells him that she knows how to handle a husband, how to make him happy. Elyot fears that she means she knows how to “manage” a husband. Unknown to the Chases, Amanda is honeymooning at the same hotel with her 

new husband, Victor Prynne. Victor has much the same ideas about marriage as does Sibyl. He intends to take care of Amanda. The fact that Amanda never asked to be taken care of 

is unimportant. Victor will teach her to be a suitable wife…

Limited tickets available at

Sanjeev Bhaskar plays Victor. His theatre credits include Dinner with Saddam (Menier Chocolate Factory), Dumb Show (Rose Theatre Kingston), Spamalot (Palace Theatre), Art (Whitehall Theatre), and Peter Sellers is Dead (Whitehall Theatre). His television credits include UnforgottenSandylandsPortersElection SpyHorrible HistoriesThe Kumars at No. 42 (Winner of two Emmy Awards, a Bronze Rose of Montreaux Award and a Brit Comedy Award), The Indian DoctorOutnumberedChopra Town and Goodness Gracious Me; and for film, Horrible Histories: The Movie – Rotten RomansYesterdayPaddington 2The Zero TheoremArthur ChristmasLondon Boulevard, It’s a Wonderful LifeNot the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty BoyScoopThe Guru, Anita & Me and Notting Hill.

Emilia Clarke plays Sybil. Her theatre credits include The Seagull (Playhouse Theatre), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Cort Theatre, New York). Her television credits include as Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones; and for film, Spike IslandDom HemingwayTerminator: GenisysMe Before YouSolo: A Star Wars Story and Last Christmas.

Robert Lindsay plays Elyot. He is a BAFTA award-winning actor, whose credits range from the smash hit Citizen Smith in the Seventies to My Family in the noughties, with a generous sprinkling of award-winning stage roles in between, including Me and My Girl, which won him the Olivier Award in the West End, and a Tony Award when it transferred to Broadway. His TV work has ranged from sitcoms (his first was Get Some In!) to BBC Shakespeare productions, and Stephen Poliakoff dramas Friends and Crocodiles and Gideon’s Daughter. He co-starred in Alan Bleasdale’s GBH along with … Michael Palin. He appeared in Ricky Gervais’s Extras as an arrogant, mean-spirited version of himself. Or, as his friends prefer to say: as himself.

Emma Thompson plays Amanda. Her theatre credits include Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Lincoln Centre, New York/English National Opera), King Lear (Renaissance Theatre Company UK tour) and Me and My Girl (Adelphi theatre). Her television credits include Years and YearsUpstart CrowAngels in America and Win; and for film Last ChristmasHow to Build a GirlMen in BlackThe Children ActBridget Jones’s BabyBeauty and the BeastSaving Mr. BanksNanny McPheeAn EducationHarry PotterLove ActuallySense and Sensibility (Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay), Much Ado About Nothing and Howards End (Academy Award for Best Actress).

Jonathan Church CBE directs. He is currently Artistic Director of Bath Theatre Royal’s Summer Season, Chair of Marlowe Theatre Canterbury and on the Board of the Almeida Theatre. He was Artistic Director of Chichester Festival Theatre (2006-2016); Artistic Director of Birmingham Repertory Theatre (2001-2006); Associate Director of Hampstead Theatre (1999-2001); Artistic Director of Salisbury Playhouse (1995-1999); Associate Director of Derby Playhouse (1994-1995) and Assistant Director of Nottingham Playhouse (1992- 1994).

Jonathan’s West End Productions as a Director include Hobson’s ChoiceTaken At Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Singin’ In The Rain (Palace Theatre), The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui (Duchess Theatre), Of Mice and Men (Savoy Theatre and The Old Vic), The Witches (Wyndham’s Theatre), A Busy Day (Lyric Theatre), The Life and Times of Nicholas Nickleby (Gielgud Theatre).