Monday, 23 November 2009

Theatre continues to work with best of young designers

Northampton's Royal & Derngate was once again chosen this year to be one of the four host theatres for the Linbury Prize for Stage Design. As a result, emerging young designer Ruth Sutcliffe will be working with the theatre on an exciting new production later next year.

The Linbury Prize for Stage Design was founded in 1987 as a springboard for recent graduates from theatre design courses around the UK, giving applicants an unparalleled opportunity to work with professional theatre companies and to collaborate with writers, directors and technical teams at a crucial stage in their careers. Twelve finalists get the chance to work with the four professional production companies. Four of the 12 then win a commission to realise their designs with the participating companies, and one designer is awarded the overall winner's title.

For Royal & Derngate's commission, Ruth Sutcliffe from the Central School of Speech and Drama has been selected as winner, having competed alongside Cara Ashley Newman and David Woodhead, creating designs for a future production of The Duchess of Malfi. This year the overall winner was Alex Valasek for his proposed staging of Going Dark for Sound & Fury.

Royal & Derngate always welcomes the opportunity to work with young designers at an early stage in their development, providing an inspiring environment for emerging artists to excel. Back in 2004 Ben Stones designed the theatre’s production of Paradise Lost as a Linbury Prize winner, and he has gone on to work with the theatre on a regular basis since then, on productions such as 101 Dalmatians and Just Between Ourselves.

Royal & Derngate Artistic Director Laurie Sansom commented, “It's really exciting to have to the opportunity to work with the best young designers graduating from design schools. As an added bonus, the Linbury Prize also gives the theatre a contribution of £10,000 towards the production, which allows us to increase the scope of our vision for the play.”

An exhibition featuring the work of all 12 finalists can be seen at the National Theatre in London until 29 November. For more information about the Linbury Prize and past winners, visit


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