Exciting, immersive ‘gig-theatre’ production comes to The Picturedrome, Northampton
Song of the Summer, a ten-year passion project of writer and director Tristan Jackson-Pate, is finally being fully realised in an exciting co-production between Cherwell Theatre Company and Northampton’s Royal & Derngate.
The new immersive ‘gig theatre’ piece plays at the iconic music venue, The Picturedrome, on the Kettering Road from Thursday 11 to Sunday 21 August. This timeless coming of age story, set in Northampton in 2006, uses actor-musicians and a local ensemble of young people to bring to life an original soundtrack of catchy tunes inspired by indie music of the era.
Song of the Summer is in part inspired by the experiences of Tristan Jackson-Pate. “Northampton in the mid-2000s had such a vibrant music scene, which continues to this day”, he said. “My experience of being 17, which I hope to capture in the show, was one of endless excitement and possibility. I was inspired by many local bands of the time; The Mobbs, Cave and of course The Departure who made us all proud. Performing around Northampton venues that summer was so character forming. I found my friends, my confidence and a purpose that made sense to me”.
Gig theatre, as a form, has exploded onto the British Theatre scene in the last five years, with productions such as Electrolyte (Wildcard Theatre) and All We Ever Wanted Was Everything (Middle Child) pioneering the genre. Recently, Bloody Elle by Lauryn Redding has been revived at the Royal Exchange in Manchester, receiving rave reviews.
Gig theatre is best described as a mix between your standard gig and standard theatre – a standing audience, drinks in hand, are thrown into an exhilarating and immersive live experience as a musical story unfolds around them.
“We’re following a teenage band who come together for one amazing summer”, said Jackson-Pate. “We see them in practice rooms, studios and of course playing live gigs, but the audience also experience the highs and lows of their personal lives with them. Though it’s set in 2006 there is much to relate to for young people today too”.
The project has been developed with young people aged 14-25 through collaborative workshops hosted by Royal & Derngate. As young actors and musicians will perform alongside the professional cast, it’s bound to be a summer they’ll never forget.
Song of the Summer plays at The Picturedrome, Northampton from Thursday 11 to Sunday 21 August 2022. For more information and to book tickets, call Royal & Derngate’s Box Office on 01604 624811 or: www.royalandderngate.co.uk/song-of-the-summer/
This project has been funded by Arts Council England, Garfield Weston Foundation, Northamptonshire Community Foundation, The Garrick Charitable Trust, David Laing Foundation and West Northants Council. It is produced in partnership by Cherwell Theatre Company and Royal & Derngate Northampton.
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