Royal & Derngate announces Christmas double bill of world premieres for its Made in Northampton 2017 season

The Jungle Book

The Jungle Book

Royal & Derngate’s Artistic Director James Dacre has confirmed two world premieres for the venue’s Christmas line up this year, augmenting its Made in Northampton season. The Royal’s Christmas Show for 2017 will be a vivid new version of The Jungle Book by acclaimed playwright Jessica Swale, directed by Max Webster, with dramaturgy by Indhu Rubasingham. A world premiere adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Lydia MonksThe Singing Mermaid will also play in the venue’s Underground Studio with original music by Barb Jungr and puppetry from Little Angel Theatre.

Celebrating the 150th anniversary of Rudyard Kipling’s birth, The Jungle Book is a co-production with Children’s Touring Partnership. This vibrant new musical adaptation of Kipling’s Nobel Prize-winning family classic will take to Northampton’s Royal stage from Tuesday 28 November to Sunday 31 December 2017, with a national press night on Friday 1 December. This world premiere production will then embark on a major national tour.

Jessica Swale’s first play, Blue Stockings, premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe, earning her a nomination for Most Promising Playwright in the Evening Standard Awards 2013. Her acclaimed next play Nell Gwynn transferred to the West End and won the Olivier for Best New Comedy in 2016.

An Associate Director at the Old Vic, Max Webster directed their production of Dr Seuss’ The Lorax, which was nominated for Best Entertainment and Family Show at the 2016 Olivier Awards. Max returns to Royal & Derngate after directing King Lear there last year.

This well-loved tale sees Mowgli the man cub battle for survival in a heart-warming coming of age story about a boy raised by wolves in the Indian jungle. With the help of friends like Bagheera the panther, Baloo the bear and Kaa the python, Mowgli outwits the tiger Shere Khan and learns the law of the jungle.

Dacre commented: “Featuring all its memorable characters and enduring mythology, Jessica’s anniversary adaptation promises to be a thrilling, humorous and touching re-imagining of Kipling’s timeless story.”

Furthering their commitment to making work in their Underground Studio to introduce young audiences to theatre, Royal & Derngate will also be staging another world premiere for Christmas 2017, with an adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ The Singing Mermaid, in a co-production with Little Angel Theatre.

The production will feature puppetry designed by Lyndie Wright of Little Angel Theatre, and is directed by Samantha Lane, with original songs by Barb Jungr. Aimed at under 7s and their families, the show will run from Saturday 2 December 2017 to Saturday 13 January 2018.

These two festive shows take the previously announced Made in Northampton season up to a total twelve productions for the year ahead. The Made in Northampton season gets underway in April with Death of a Salesman, starring Tim Pigott-Smith. The season also includes a co-production of The Grapes of Wrath, the European premiere of An Iliad, site-specific production The Twelfth Player, a touring revival of Rules for Living, a new production of The Caretaker, and a co-commission for Royal & Derngate’s Young Company, The Blue Road.

For more information about the season or to book tickets, call Royal & Derngate’s Box Office on 01604 624811 or visit

Made in Northampton is sponsored locally by Michael Jones Jeweller.

The Jungle Book
By Rudyard Kipling
Adapted by Jessica Swale
Directed by Max Webster

A Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Children’s Touring Partnership co-production

Royal stage – Tuesday 28 November to Sunday 31 December 2017

The Singing Mermaid
By Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks
Directed by Samantha Lane, with original songs by Barb Jungr

A Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Little Angel Theatre co-production

Underground Studio – Friday 1 December 2017 to Sunday 7 January 2018

@RoyalDerngate / #MadeInNorthampton / #JungleBook17 / #SingingMermaidShow