Derby Theatre thanks its audiences and other supporters for a fantastic 2018

Derby Theatre 2018 highlights

2018 has been yet another incredible year for Derby Theatre, with numerous highlights, achievements, recognition and successes relating to all strands of the Theatre’s work – including our professional produced shows, touring productions, work with young people and out in the community, plus funding successes, national acclaim and a thriving artist development scheme. The past year has been a busy and brilliant one and the Theatre would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has contributed to its successes and highlights over the past 12 months – audiences, funders, members of the community, young people, companies, artists and many more. 

Below are just SOME of our highlights of 2018.

In January: our Christmas shows, Peter Pan in the Main House & The Gingerbread Man in the Studio wowed audiences and reviewers alike, playing to almost 30,000 people; our Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Sarah Brigham was listed in The Stage 100 of theatre's most influential people and partnerships and the Theatre offered three bursaries to artists of colour through the Sustained Theatre fund.

In February: the world renowned and highly acclaimed Gecko Theatre return to Derby Theatre with their stunning show, The Wedding; Toyota Motor Manufacturing donate £1000 towards the Theatre’s Plus One scheme which provides children in care and care leavers with free arts experiences in and around the city. 

In March: the much-loved TWO by Jim Cartwright opened with a full working bar and experiences seats on the set, a production which saw the Theatre forge a relationship with local, award-wining brewer, Dancing Duck who created a bespoke ale, the Dramatic Duck in line with the promotion of the show and our Year 4-6 Youth Theatre groups brought life two imaginative stories.

In April: University of Derby Theatre Arts students brilliantly performed The Street of Crocodiles; we once again hosted the National Theatre Connections Festival for young people where we welcomed ten wonderful theatre companies from the region to perform on our main stage, as well as offering a host of workshops, masterclasses and a whole range of other arts related opportunities and the hilarious The Play That Goes Wrong performed to sell-out audiences for a whole week. 

In May: the amazing Fugee and The Laramie Project were performed by University of Derby Theatre Arts students; the stylish and evocative new play, Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok by In-Sook Chappell based on the memoir, Sweet Mandarin by Helen Tse was presented on the main stage and a free lunch and a ‘welcome to the Theatre’ was offered to members from key communities in and around the city. 

In June: our young group of Derby Theatre Ambassadors produce their own sell-out event in the Studio with the aim of providing an evening of entertainment and to recruit new young members from the area to join the scheme; the Theatre holds young company auditions for Hansel & Gretel, auditioning over 100 young people from the region.

In July: Derby Theatre produces and presents Departure Lounge for a sixth year, a festival of fresh, exciting and innovative theatre for artists and audiences alike, the most accessible Festival to date, and one which included an insightful panel discussion with leading industry experts, masterclasses from industry professionals and pre-Edinburgh performances; our brand new show for under 5s, Holiday plays in the Studio where we also invited young audience members and their families to our show-themed and fun-filled Stay and Play area; our Year 7-9 Youth Theatre groups put their own twists on two powerful tales; In Good Company, the Theatre’s artist development programme, receives further funding to expand its partnership network; the first Introduction to Playwriting short course is offered to artists of colour, and The Eagle Awards is held at the Theatre for another year, an event which celebrates our local amateur theatre community.

In September: the classic Abigail’s Party delighted audiences, alongside a contemporary response piece, Abi, the latest in Derby Theatre’s RETOLD series, classics retold from the perspective of a female character; Derby Theatre and Karma Nirvana, an award-winning British charity who support victims of honour-based abuse and forced marriage, co-produce Beyond Shame and the Theatre launches its D/deaf-friendly Youth Theatre.

In October:  Milk Presents’ multi award-winning production of JOAN (presented in association with Derby Theatre) is performed in a number of community spaces in and around Derby as a result of the Clothworkers Theatre Award and funding and the Theatre’s Your Place scheme, an initiative to take theatre out into the community; Hiccup Theatre and Derby Theatre’s production of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is also performed in different locations in the community as part of the same scheme and the This is Derby initiative, a new project backed by the Department for Education’s Opportunity Area Fund which sees the sports and arts sectors of the city come together to better the futures of Derby’s youngsters; the Theatre holds its first Community Board meeting to invite input and suggestions from members of the community in relation to their programmes of work; the Theatre plays host to the Culture Cares Conference which explores how arts and culture are making a positive impact and creative pathways in the lives of young people in and leaving care and also host the Come As You Are Festival, a festival of trans, non-binary and gender queer theatre.

In November: the multi award-winning theatre company, Not Too Tame, who work as an ensemble and who perform in numerous and various community spaces, present Cinderella: A Wicked Mother of a Night Out to fantastic responses from different audiences and communities, again as part of the Clothworkers’ Your Place initiative; the Theatre launches its first Friends Membership Scheme with the aim of saying ‘thank you’ to its audiences, a scheme which offers fantastic discounts and priority booking, amongst many other benefits.

In December: Derby Theatre associate theatre company, Maison Foo and Derby Refugee Friends host one of the first Meet Your Neighbour events at the Theatre, an event open to all where everyone is welcome, a relaxing space full of sights, sounds and rituals from around the world, an opportunity to come together, relax, meet new friends, share stories and traditions and eat together and Derby Theatre’s Christmas shows for 2018/19, Hansel & Gretel and Goldilocks and The Three Bears open and once again wow audiences and critics alike.

A huge thank you to all and here's looking forward to 2019!