Backstage at the Royal and Derngate Theatre – Northampton

The Royal and Derngate’s ‘Behind the Curtain’ Backstage Tour transports you back to 5th May 1884, opening night of Northampton’s beautiful new Royal Theatre and through 100 years of rich history thereafter. Unlike any other theatre tour I’ve been on previously, ‘Behind the Curtain’ tells the history of this gorgeous theatre through a wonderfully stagey string of stories, narrated and sometimes acted out exceptionally well by 2 highly entertaining storytellers. They leave no stone unturned, inviting you into every corner of this magnificent space for a jam-packed 90 minutes.

On the tour you’ll be given the chance to test the view from every corner of the stunning Royal auditorium as well as stepping centre stage to get your moment in the spotlight. Whilst you’re up there you can have a nosey around the set and props for the current production but be sure to keep an eye out for the infamous Royal ghost. From there, you’ll go on to the theatre’s very own workshops where every inch of the Made in Northampton productions we know and love today are made. Here, you get a chance to quiz the talented creative teams and learn all about what goes into creating the brilliant sets we see on stage. Each location you visit has a fascinating story to accompany it, keeping the group on their toes and keen for more.

Together, the 2 guides (both named Erica) leading the tour keep the group completely enthralled throughout with humour, intrigue and a couple of unexpected surprises. The fact that a stonemason’s error resulted in the highly sought after name of ‘Royal Theatre’ thanks to Queen Victoria’s kind understanding and agreeance, the classic issue of suffocation up in the balcony and the stories behind the stunning hand painted safety curtain are just a few of the tales you’ll hear. You’ll retrace the steps of the most wealthy audience members as well as those from the lowest classes (god forbid they ever met) as well as hearing the staggering price those wealthy folk would pay to sit in highly restricted view boxes just to show off. Each story is as informative and fascinating as the last and all are brilliantly told.

‘Behind the Curtain’ is a theatrical treat. A fascinating and brilliantly entertaining celebration of this gorgeous historical theatre. A must-do for every theatre fan – easily the best backstage tour I’ve had the pleasure of attending!

Tickets are only £13 for this 90 minute stagey treat and the theatre offers exclusive tours for schools, gifts, societies and special events as well as accessible tours. For more information click here to head to the Royal and Derngate Website.

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