News: The world premiere stage adaptation of I, Daniel Blake comes to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate

The world premiere stage adaptation of I, Daniel Blake comes to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate from Tuesday 31 October to Saturday 4 November, exposing the stark reality behind the cost-of-living crisis headlines.

The first stage adaptation of Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or and BAFTA award-winning film is written by actor and comedian Dave Johns who won the Best Actor award at the British Independent Film Awards and Best Newcomer at the EMPIRE Awards for his role in the film. Ken Loach said, “This story is more relevant now than ever. And who better to put it on stage than Dave Johns, the original Daniel Blake?

Dan is a carpenter. A Geordie through and through. Just on the mend after a heart attack.

Katie has just arrived from London. Finally got a council house for her and the kids. A fresh start.

I, Daniel Blake is one of the most important stories of a generation. A glimpse behind the headlines and the stark reality of what happens when the political system is stacked against you. With 14.5 million* people living in poverty in the UK, this is not fiction. It is reality. A touching and vital story of how people come together in the face of adversity and how sometimes creating a family to support you just isn’t enough.

David Nellist will play Daniel. Originally from Wallsend in Newcastle, he appeared as Mike Stamford in Sherlock on BBC ONE with Benedict Cumberbatch and was recently in Stonehouse on ITV. His theatre credits include West End productions Billy Elliott, War Horse, The Pitmen Painters and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

Playing the role of Katie Bryony Corrigan is best known as series regular Vanessa in Mischief Theatre’s The Goes Wrong Show on BBC ONE. Actor, rapper and singer Kema Sikazwe (also known as Kema Kay) will play China, a role he played in the film after being spotted by Ken Loach on a visit to Newcastle.

Dave Johns is a multi-award-winning film actor, stage actor and stand-up comic who has written for theatre and radio, including the stage adaptation of The Shawshank Redemption. He says, “I was thrilled to be asked to adapt Paul Lavertys screenplay. But I didnt just want to put the film on stage, I wanted to update the story for 2023, making it contemporary and exploring more of single mum Katies journey and the family unit she forms with Daniel. To show the kindness, compassion, humour, and hope that can help us through the toughest of times. Sadly, during my research it was disheartening to find not much had changed since the film’s release. The story is still as relevant as it was in 2016; maybe even more so now with the cost-of-living crisis making it even harder for those who are already struggling. Daniel and Katies story could be anyones.”

I, Daniel Blake is a tiny dragon Productions and English Touring Theatre co-production, in association with Northern Stage. The tour comes to Royal & Derngate this autumn, taking to the Royal stage from Tuesday 31 October to Saturday 4 November. Tickets can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at

*Joseph Rowntree Foundation 2022 Poverty Report.

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