Accolades for Derby Theatre and boss Brigham

Published: 7 January 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

“Delighted”: Sarah Brigham

Derby Theatre is one of three organisations that have been highly commended in the category of regional theatre of the year by The Stage.

The newspaper’s 100 list—which traditionally reflects the 100 most influential people working in theatre and the performing arts—has been reimagined in 2021 to “celebrate individuals who have gone above and beyond in helping theatre survive the biggest crisis the industry has ever faced”.

Derby Theatre says it is “delighted and incredibly proud” to be one of the organisations recognised. In awarding the commendation, The Stage said, “few theatres are as sure of their civic purpose as Derby Theatre.

“Under the leadership of Sarah Brigham, it has signposted the way for others in creating a theatre that is genuinely connected, local and networked. That means it has the trust of the local community, a role to play as a learning theatre—training the theatre workers of the future in partnership with Derby University—and a close and supportive relationship with freelancers.

“During 2020, it built on the trust established over many years and delivered a programme of support, audience engagement and artist development that has been much needed and much appreciated. Derby’s not just a theatre—it’s a marvel.”

Artistic director and chief executive Brigham was recognised in the area of serving the community. The Stage commented, “throughout 2020, Derby Theatre, brilliantly led by Brigham, continued to deliver its already far-reaching and accomplished creative, educational and community work.

“This included providing care parcels and online clubs for young people in care, hosting digital schools programmes and connecting with freelancers to ensure theatre-makers are at the heart of its recovery.”

Brigham said, “we’re delighted by this recognition from The Stage. This award and listing are testament to the brilliant staff team who have worked tirelessly throughout 2020.

“Derby Theatre places its civic responsibility at the heart of everything we do and last year, more than ever before, the team stepped up to ensure that while we’re unable to put on shows to full houses, we can continue to be there for our community.

“From delivering food parcels to offering wellbeing sessions for the community, we’ve been busier than ever during lockdown.

“All of this work helps to keep our community connected and ensures Derby Theatre fulfils its role as a hub for the city of Derby and the region. I would also like to say a huge, heartfelt thank-you to our audiences, supporters, artists and communities for their ongoing, unfailing support.”