Jones to be Royal and Derngate artistic director

Published: 20 March 2023
Reporter: Steve Orme

Jesse Jones and Holly Gladwell Credit: Kelly Cooper

Jesse Jones, a founding member of the Wardrobe Ensemble and associate artistic director of Paines Plough, is the new artistic director of Northampton’s Royal and Derngate.

He first worked with Royal and Derngate in 2015 when he was a resident assistant director on the Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme. He replaces James Dacre who will leave in April 2023 to set up his own company.

Jones’s directing credits include the West End drag murder mystery Death Drop and Samuel Bailey’s Sorry You’re Not a Winner for Paines Plough in 2022.

Jones said, “I’m filled with excitement and pride to be joining the team leading Royal and Derngate into its next phase. I’m excited to help throw the doors of this special place open ever wider, working alongside artists from right across the UK and further afield and inviting people from all over Northamptonshire and beyond to come together to play, sing, dance, dream—I’m looking forward to finding our voice together.”

Royal and Derngate chief executive Jo Gordon said, “Jesse is a brilliant theatremaker. He creates exceptional work for a broad range of audiences and inspires others to do the same. The collaborative approach that’s been so central to all his work speaks right to the heart of our core values here at Royal and Derngate, as does his desire to make sure that touring and regional theatre meaningfully extend to some of the hardest audiences to reach.

“We’re all so excited to see the energy and innovation that he’ll bring to Northampton at such an important moment for regional theatre.”

Royal and Derngate has also appointed Holly Gladwell to the new role of deputy chief executive (producing and programming). She has worked in theatre for 20 years, most recently as executive producer for English Touring Theatre and Paines Plough.

Jones and Gladwell will take up their posts in summer 2023.

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