Production charts Northampton’s new town status

Published: 14 April 2021
Reporter: Steve Orme

A 2018 preview performance of 60 Miles by Road or Rail Credit: Ben Gregory-Ring

A series of arts, heritage and community events, 60 Miles by Road or Rail, is back on track after being delayed by the pandemic and will culminate in a new theatre production at Northampton’s Royal and Derngate.

Northamptonshire locals are being invited to contribute to the project and engage with the story of how Northampton was designated a new town as part of the government’s master plan for post-war revitalisation.

A marketing campaign evolved from a 30-second radio jingle into a chart record which pointed out that Northampton was “only 60 miles by road or rail from London”.

Northampton expanded rapidly with new social houses and estates. But some Northamptonians felt the town expanded too quickly and was not able to sustain such monumental changes.

People with strong links to Northampton are invited to share personal stories, memories and photos with local artists working on the project. There will be a photo exhibition, a documentary film and oral histories.

60 Miles founder and director Andy Routledge said, “while the project unashamedly prioritises our local experiences, I believe it will capture many of the moods and rhythms of large towns up and down the country attempting to regenerate.”

The community project has just got under way and lasts until Wednesday 15 December. The stage show 60 Miles by Road or Rail will run at Royal and Derngate from Wednesday 22 until Saturday 25 September.

The company of performers consists of Subika Anwar-Khan, Helen Crevel, Jo Blake, Dan McGarry and Davin Eadie. 60 Miles by Road or Rail was written by Ryan Leder and is produced by Courtenay Johnson.