Derby Theatre

Bondholders bring Festé 2019

Ockhams Razor - Belly of the Whale. Photo Credit: Mark Dawson Photography

Ockhams Razor - Belly of the Whale. Photo Credit: Mark Dawson Photography

An impressive twenty Marketing Derby Bondholders are working together to bring Derby Festé to life again with international performers that will bring surprise and magic to Derby.

Derby Festé 2019 will take place on 27th and 28th September and is produced and presented by Bondholders Déda, Derby LIVE, Derby Theatre and QUAD.

Festé attracts more than 30,000 visitors to the city centre which features international performers that have toured the world in a celebration of outdoor street entertainment including dance, contemporary circus, music and comedy. Performers this year will be arriving from events in USA, Australia, Taiwan, Barcelona, Hong Kong and Germany – to name just a few – before they arrive to a warm welcome in Derby.

Museum of the Moon Photo Credit: Luke Jerram

Museum of the Moon Photo Credit: Luke Jerram

Derby Festé is sponsored by Bondholders Derby City Council, University of Derby, Derby Cathedral Quarter, St Peters Quarter, Foundation Derbyshire and intu Derby.

For the first time this year, organisers of Derby Festé have also joined forces with Bondholder Derby Cathedral to bring ‘Museum of the Moon’ to the city in the run up to and during the city’s popular annual event.

Marketing and promotions have been headed up by Bondholder Gravity Digital Ltd, who developed a new website as part of their sponsorship agreement, they also manage the social media, and other marketing activities working closely with creative Bondholder companies, Future Proof Films, JJ Public Relations , Mercia Image, and Code Print.

For people arriving in the city by train, there is also an exclusive offer that has has been promoted by Bondholder East Midlands Railway and the event is widely covered in the media including Bondholder Derby Telegraph.

Visit Derby has also just run a fabulous family festival break competition where entries were invited form people to win a weekend stay including free tickets to the Festé headline event, a meal for four at Bondholder Annie’s Burger Shack and overnight accommodation with Bondholder The Stay Company.

Fantabulosa 185. Photo Credit: Simon Hadley

Fantabulosa 185. Photo Credit: Simon Hadley

Derby Festé Artistic Director Stephen Munn from Déda said: "Festé is a true partnership of a vast number of organisations and businesses – bringing together a range of committed individuals who work really hard to make the annual event a reality.

"It is this combination of talent and effort that ensures that Festé is always pushing boundaries, bringing the unexpected and unusual to the city and creating unforgettable memories.

"The fact that so many Bondholders are at the heart of the continued success of Derby Festé is testament to the widespread passion for cultural activity in the city and we are also particularly grateful for the input from Arts Council England and the Without Walls Touring Network Partnership."

For more information, please visit or follow on social media.

BaroloSolo - ile O splash. Photo Credit: Vincent d'Eaubonne

BaroloSolo - ile O splash. Photo Credit: Vincent d'Eaubonne


Arts Council Hub for Derby

Bondholder Derby Theatre has been awarded £1.5m by Arts Council England to become a pilot Performing Arts Producing Hub from September 2019.

As one of only two venues selected as a Producing Hub, Derby Theatre will use the three years of funding to programme work in community settings across the city; produce new small-scale productions that will tour into these hubs and beyond; produce new mid-scale work which will play on the Derby Theatre main stage and produce new outdoor work which will play at festivals like Festé and across the city.

The exciting consortium of companies who will help to support, deliver and develop the Producing Hub model in Derby include: Bondholders Déda, Derby City Council, Derby County Community Trust, QUAD and the University of Derby, along with Baby People, China Plate, Crying Out Loud, Maison Foo, Milk Presents, Not Too Tame and Wild Rumpus.

Sarah Brigham (Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Derby Theatre) said:“We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded the Producing Hubs funding which will enable us to forge and develop new and exciting relationships with artists, local people and organisations across the city and beyond.”

Neil Darlison (Director, Theatre at Arts Council England) said: “These pilots will examine whether a better connected performing arts sector increases production capacity and provides greater opportunities for artists and audiences.”

In addition to the Arts Council England Funding, Derby Theatre along with Bondholders Artcore, Déda, Derby County Community Trust, Derby Museums, QUAD and Sinfonia ViVA, as well as Baby People and East Midlands Caribbean Carnival Arts Network (collectively known as the Derby Cultural Education Partnership) has also been awarded £1.1 million from the Arts Council Youth Performance Partnership Fund for the continuation of This is Derby.

The overall aim of the Arts Council’s Youth Performance Partnerships programme, through This is Derby, is to provide new opportunities for more children and young people, aged 8-18, particularly from areas of low cultural engagement and high levels of deprivation to take part in high quality cultural activities. It is a 3-year programme running until August 2022.


Bondholders collaborate to deliver 'Essential Life Skills'

Bondholder Derby County Community Trust has launched a £1m project called ‘This Is Derby’ – an Essential Life Skills Programme which is funded by the Department for Education.

This innovative project will be delivered alongside Derby’s Cultural Education Partnership, with fellow Bondholders Déda, Derby Museums, Derby QUAD, Derby Theatre, and Sinfonia Viva, as well as Artcore, Baby People, East Midlands Caribbean Carnival Arts Network and Music Partnership taking a lead role for different areas.

The project is a collaboration between arts, culture and sport for 5-18 year olds in Derby, and was awarded the fund from the Department for Education as Derby is identified as an opportunity area, where educational attainment falls below the national average and alternative provision has been identified as impacting growth and learning.

‘This Is Derby’ will provide a minimum of 12 hours per week of extra-curricular activity in the nine most disadvantaged areas of the city: Abbey, Arboretum, Alvaston, Boulton, Chaddesden, Derwent, Normanton, Mackworth and Sinfin. In addition, there will be a citywide SEND hub, and a digital hub which will be co-ordinated by QUAD and invite the young people involved to enhance their digital skills.

Simon Carnall, Head of Community at Derby County Community Trust, spoke at the launch event, saying: “We are all fantastic organisations delivering amazing work in the city. However, the statistics speak for themselves and even with all this work, we sit at 303rd out 324th for social mobility in the country.

“We need to change, work together and grow to make sure our young people are progressing, achieving and believing in themselves. ‘This Is Derby’ is new, exciting and collaborative, and we can’t wait to hit the ground running and work on ‘closing the gap’ for those young people whose lives are essentially determined by the postcode they were born in."

There will be the opportunity for young people to voice their ideas and opinions on the project in order to ensure it is youth led and caters for the needs of the city’s youth. The project will open up opportunities for children and young people aged 5-18 and their families, but is not wholly exclusive and will not be restricted by means testing.

Alix Manning-Jones, Derby’s Cultural Education Producer, who has spearheaded the bid along with Will Turner from Derby County Community Trust, said: “I’m really enjoying working in partnership with the Trust and other sports organisations that the arts aren’t seen to usually work alongside.

“We’re looking forward to the kick-off roadshows to go to the communities in which they’ll be delivering in October to really begin to see the project in action.”

Theatre Wins £3.1m

Bondholder Derby Theatre remains as part of Arts Council England’s (ACE) National Portfolio, plus receive an uplift in funding, which will result in it receiving a total amount of £3,180,000 over the next four years.

This is a £1,180,000 uplift on current funding to support key strands of the Theatre’s programme of work from 2018 to 2022.

ACE will support, and provide a further uplift in funding, to Derby Theatre for another four years as a National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) from April 2018 to help achieve ACE’s goal of ‘Great art and culture for everyone’.

Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Derby Theatre, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Arts Council England has decided to continue funding us as a National Portfolio Organisation, and thrilled they have also offered us an uplift of £1.18 million over the next four years.  

"This landmark decision is a testament to the work we have delivered in the last few years, which has seen the Theatre truly open its doors to the community, resulting in increased audience numbers, more support from other funders and critical acclaim from the national press for our productions and way of working.  

"A huge thank you must go to the University of Derby, who continue to support the Theatre, and to the audiences and communities who continue to show their passion for the venue, as well of course to the staff and trustees who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we have built on our artistic vision of being at the heart of the community of Derby and beyond.  

"This uplift in funding will allow us to develop more work for families, work for our deaf community and take our mission to support the next generation of artists even further.”

Professor Kathryn Mitchell, Vice Chancellor at fellow Bondholder University of Derby, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that Derby Theatre, an important part of the University, remains as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations; and delighted that ACE has also offered the Theatre an uplift in funding. I believe this much appreciated uplift reflects the Arts Council’s recognition and support for the Learning Theatre model.

"We are very proud of this achievement, and would like to thank and congratulate the Theatre team, especially Artistic Director and Chief Executive, Sarah Brigham, as well as my colleagues at the University, for their continued hard work, and all that they have achieved through our unique partnership."

Derby Festé Announces Dates

Derby Festé has been a highlight in the city’s calendar for the past 11 years and this year’s festival will be held on Friday September 29 and Saturday September 30 with the theme of fusing Western and Eastern cultures in the most spectacular fashion.

Regular visitors to Festé will have noticed that the festival is slightly later this year and this is to enable it to coincide with the climax of the Navratri Festival.

The nine-day Hindu festival, which is celebrated across the world, finishes on Friday September 29 and is even more significant this year as it coincides with the 70th anniversary celebrations of India’s independence.

Derby Festé will open on Friday night at Bass’ Recreation Ground which will be transformed into ‘Circus World’ from late afternoon.

Saturday will see the return of the popular free programme of street entertainment across the Cathedral Quarter and St Peters Quarter with dance, street theatre, comedy and contemporary circus acts performing throughout the day at various locations.

Then late afternoon, the focus will be on South Asian style cultural celebrations and the crowds will gather for the ‘Colour of Time’ procession.

Dancers and musicians will move through the city centre in a choreographed parade towards Cathedral Green with the audience invited to join the finale - painting the sky with an explosion of Gulal powder.

The Night Market, organised by Sheena Holland was a popular addition to the Festé calendar last year and will again feature a wide range of arts, crafts and vintage stalls as well as food and drink stalls.

Derby Festé 2017 is produced and presented by Bondholders Derby LIVE, Déda, QUAD and Derby Theatre in association with the Without Walls Associate Touring Network, Artcore and Baby People. It is funded by Arts Council England and  Bondholders Derby City Council, with sponsorship from the Cathedral Quarter BID, intu Derby, Derby Riverlights, Park Farm Shopping Centre and the University of Derby.

Twilight at Derby Cathedral

Dutch conductor Frank Zielhorst will make his concert debut with Bondholder Sinfonia Viva at fellow Bondholder Derby Cathedral on Friday March 3.

The concert, entitled ‘A Little Symphony in F’ is the latest stage of the popular Twilights series of late afternoon and early evening performances at the Cathedral.

Twilights is a partnership between Sinfonia Viva and Derby Cathedral and has been a key element in the Cathedral’s two-year cultural audience development programme supported with a £80,000 Arts Council England grant.  

The concert will feature work by classical music ‘giants’ Haydn, Strauss and Beethoven and Frank Zielhorst explained that this varied programme would appeal to a wide range of classical music fans.

Mr Zielhorst who, for the past two years, has performed extensively as Leverhulme Young Conductor in Association at the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, said: “I am so looking forward to returning to Derby to conduct Sinfonia Viva in Derby Cathedral which is a truly magnificent building with wonderful acoustics.

“This will be my second time with the Orchestra in as many months having worked with the musicians and composer James Redwood for the performance of the education residency ‘Mechanical Advantage’ at Derby Theatre in early February."

For more information and box office details, visit

Musical STEM

Bondholders Sinfonia Viva, Rolls-Royce and Derby Museums Trust have teamed up to launch a creative project that focuses on bringing science, technology and maths to life through music.

The project, entitled ‘Mechanical Advantage’ has been inspired by the gears, levers and pulleys aspects of the key stage two national curriculum following feedback from school teachers about the need to tackle the subject in a more creative way.

Pupils from Chellaston Academy and Bondholder Derby College are working with Viva musicians to compose songs and music on the themes.

They will perform these on February 7 alongside a Sinfonia Viva chamber orchestra at Derby Theatre with a matinee concert for other schools in the city and then at a public concert in the evening.

To launch the project, school and college students recently joined an ‘inspiration day’ at Derby Museum and Art Gallery where they tried out the practical with Rolls-Royce STEM ambassadors.

The students also worked with Viva musicians and composer James Redwood who introduced the songs and music that he has composed with words written by Hazel Gould.

They then went on to gather in the Museum’s Joseph Wright of Derby Gallery to learn more about the work of the famous 18th century painter and philosopher who was acclaimed as the first professional painter to express the spirit of the Industrial Revolution.

Rolls-Royce Engineer and STEM Ambassador Carl Muldal said: “By incorporating scientific messages in a musical context we hope that teachers and pupils alike will be able to look at this subject in a new light. This would give them a better understand of the mechanics behind processes that are a part of everyday life.”

£4.9M to help Creative & Digital Businesses Grow

Local Enterprise Partnership, D2N2 has set up a new £4.9million investment programme to help the creative and digital industries (CDI) sector to expand and attract new customers.

A new programme, the Creative and Digital Industries D2N2 Consortium for increased SME Competitiveness, will launch this year and is due to last three years. CDI is one of the D2N2 LEP’s eight key sectors.

Over half of the total investment will come from programme partners, which included Bondholders Derby QUAD, Derby Theatre and the University of Derby.

The programme will offer services to businesses under the brand name of “The Big House”. Many of the programme’s services will be offered online. It is estimated that around 500 CDI sector businesses will be helped over the three years.

Businesses will be able to get advice on: 

·         Getting established, if they are a start-up company.
·         Accessing grants and business management help which enables their company to grow, become more efficient and bring products to market more quickly.
·         A high growth programme, aimed at firms seen as having the greatest growth potential (digital enterprises are a fast growing part of the sector across the D2N2 area).
·         Additional projects to grow the numbers of black and ethnic minority employees, and women workers, who are currently under-represented in the CDI sector.

The Big House project also received £500,000 from Arts Council England in February and will additionally attract private sector backing.

Peter Richardson, chair of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “We have a growing creative and digital industries sector, often in need of sound business advice on how to expand. D2N2’s new programme aims to address their needs.

“Our £2.4million investment in this initiative and the wide range of partners we are engaging, across both of our counties, shows the LEP’s commitment to this key sector”.

Dragons bring magic to Derby

The tenth annual Derby Festé will return to the city centre this Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th September with a packed programme of spectacular family entertainment featuring a host of top local, national and international artists and performers.

Derby Festé is produced and presented by Bondholders Derby LIVE, Déda, QUAD and Derby Theatre in association with the Without Walls Associate Touring Network. It is funded by Arts Council England and Derby City Council, with sponsorship from Cathedral Quarter, Intu Derby, Derby Riverlights and Park Farm Shopping Centre.

The fun starts on the evening of Friday September 23 with a performance of Carousel by the Southpaw Dance Company on Cathedral Green.

The headline act on Friday evening will be the return of the stunning giant fire-breathing Sarruga Dragons that took the city by storm at the first Festé in 2007. The breath-taking parade will start at Derby Riverlights and wind its way through the city centre and into the Cathedral Quarter, before making a spectacular entrance into the Market Place.

From 9.45pm, the Market Place will then be transformed into a party space with The New York Brass Band and Alex Blood and the Diggers performing live on stage.

Throughout the evening, the popular Night Market by Sheena Holland which has become a popular calendar date in the Cathedral Quarter will be set up in the Market Place – offering an eclectic mix of vintage crafts and food and drink stalls for visitors to enjoy.

On Saturday September 24, the Cathedral Quarter, St Peter’s Cross, Riverlights and Intu Derby shopping centre will be a bustling hub of street entertainment featuring more than 20 different acts including dance, aerial performance, theatre, comedy and contemporary circus.

The climax of Derby Festé will see Derby’s Bass’ Recreation Ground transformed into a magical underwater spectacle on Saturday evening. French company Transe Express will bring its brand new outdoor performance MÚ which will be only its second performance in the UK.

Derby Festé Artistic Director Stephen Munn, Director at regional dance house Déda explained: “We are delighted to have two such spectacular headline performances over the Festé weekend. The Sarruga Dragons and MÚ show two different but equally stunning aspects of outdoor performance."

MÚ is Derby Festé’s only ticketed event. Gates open at 7pm for an 8pm performance. Prices are £7 each and are available to purchase on the door or via the Derby LIVE Box Office 

All the other performances are free

Vivienne Westwood takes spotlight in Derby

Activist legend of the fashion industry, Dame Vivienne Westwood, visited Bondholder Derby Theatre this week for an event attended by over 450 to talk about climate change and social responsibility. 

Dame Vivienne Westwood gave an impassioned plea for the audience to "be intellectual" through reading, learning and enjoying life with an environmental conscience, whilst promoting her Climate Revolution campaign.

Introduced by Adam Buss, Chief Executive of Bondholder Derby QUAD, Vivienne expressed how she wants to build the intellectual movement within universities and colleges: "Education is about helping people discover their true talent. For me the aim of Intellectuals Unite is to make sure that we move towards a green economy. We need to get there urgently, it's crucial in order to save the planet. Any kid off the street who wants to go on a demonstration to find out what's happening - come and join us, you are an intellectual. We have to unite."

Adam Buss commented: "Climate change is one of the most urgent issues we need to address right now." 

Vivienne has twice been named designer of the year in the British Fashion Awards and, in 1992, was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

For further information, please visit

Any kid off the street who wants to go on a demonstration to find out what’s happening - come and join us, you are an intellectual. We have to unite
— Dame Vivienne Westwood

OfficeCare takes lead role at Derby Theatre

Bondholder Derby Theatre is set for a long run after agreeing a three-year extension of its deal with fellow Bondholder cleaning company, OfficeCare.

OfficeCare has already cleaned the theatre for seven years, so the end of this extension will mark a decade in business together.

I am delighted that the Theatre has asked us to do an encore and continue keeping this prestigious set of Derby’s cultural life in tip top condition
— Martin Booth, Managing Director of OfficeCare

A team of staff have a starring role in keeping the premises smart, tidy and freshly clean for both staff and theatre-goers. Daily, they clean the auditorium, behind the main stage, the studio, actors' dressing rooms, box office, bistro and bar area. They usually do an extra job after matinee performances before the curtains go up again in the evening.

Martin Booth, Managing Director of OfficeCare, said: "I am delighted that the Theatre has asked us to do an encore and continue keeping this prestigious set of Derby's cultural life in tip top condition."

As part of the deal OfficeCare has given £12,000 in sponsorship to the theatre that allows it to take corporate guests to shows. 

Derby Theatre joins OfficeCare's portfolio of venues in the sport and leisure sector including Bondholders iPro Stadium, 3aaa County Ground and Déda.

£500,000 funding for culture organisations

A consortium of creative and cultural organisations across Nottingham and Derby have been awarded £500,000 from Art Council England's Creative Local Growth Fund.

'The Big House' initiative is a collaboration between Bondholders Derby QUAD and Derby Theatre as well as The Creative Quarter Company, Nottingham's New Art Exchange and Broadway Nottingham.

The initiative will support more than 200 local businesses and 90 new enterprises - building on D2N2's plans for economic growth in the region's creative and digital industries. Support includes planning, marketing and finance advise as well as digital and technical expertise.

The consortium also includes the University of Derby, Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham City Council.

Adam Buss, Chief Executive of Derby QUAD, said: "The Big House programme will provide creative and digital businesses with support truly tailored to their needs and ambitions, whether they're a start-up or a SME with the potential to really grow. Our role will be to deliver both a real and virtual support and advocacy network, for digital creatives in Derby and Derbyshire, as well as peer-to-peer learning."

Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Derby Theatre, said: "Our role will involve delivering a series of professional masterclasses as well as mentoring and peer-to-peer skill exchange workshops for emerging theatre companies, to develop an exciting new range of performances. This will build on the success of the In Good Company professional development programme for artists in the East Midlands."

The initiative is one of just nine initiatives in England to be awarded funding.

The Big House programme will provide creative and digital businesses with support truly tailored to their needs and ambitions
— Adam Buss, Chief Executive of Derby QUAD
Our role will involve delivering a series of professional masterclasses as well as mentoring and peer-to-peer skill exchange workshops for emerging theatre companies
— Sarah Brigham, Artistic Director and Chief Executive of Derby Theatre

Book Festival opens 2nd chapter

Following on from the success of last year’s festival, plans are already underway for the second annual Derby Book Festival.

The festival will be hosted in a number of venues across the city, from the 3rd to the 11th June.

A major reason for the resounding success of the Festival is due to the wonderful partnership between all the arts and cultural organisations in the city and the huge generosity of local businesses
— Liz Fothergill, Chair of Derby Book Festival

The Derby Book Festival celebrates the joy of books and the pleasure and power of reading. It aims to inspire a new generation of readers with an exciting educational programme. Last year’s festival highlights included Michael Morpurgo, David Nicholls, Sarah Waters, Katie Fforde, Simon Armitage, Penelope Lively and managing director of Waterstones, James Daunt.

A number of Bondholder companies played a key role in organising the event, including Derby City Council, Codemakers, Connect, Archer Hampson, Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District, Dains, Déda, Derby Telegraph, Derby College, Derby LIVE, Derby Museums, Derby Theatre, Foundation Derbyshire, QUAD, Status Social, University of Derby, WDA Branding, as well as Marketing Derby.

Liz Fothergill, Chair of Derby Book Festival, said: “A major reason for the resounding success of the Festival is due to the wonderful partnership between all the arts and cultural organisations in the city and the huge generosity of local businesses.  Their support was crucial and has helped us to successfully secure funding from Arts Council England.  We look forward to working with them all again to make the second Festival even better.”

Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy and musician John Sampson will open this year’s festival on Friday 3rd June, at Bondholder Derby Cathedral.

To celebrate the launch of the festival, organisers have launched a flash fiction competition. The challenge is to write 50 word story around the theme of secrets.

To enter the competition, or to find out more information about the festival, please visit

Time for questions

To conclude the Annual Business Event, a panel of leaders took part in a Q&A panel discussion on various topics looking at the city's next ten years.

Chaired by Steve Hall, Managing Director of Local World and Marketing Derby board member, the panel consisted of:

Mandie and Paul debated the upcoming challenges faced by the city's education and training providers with regards to the future skills pipeline and discussed the best way to meet these challenges.

Howard and Russell talked about how East Midlands Airport can support the region's economy and growth plans in the Midlands Engine after being asked whether it was a dream or reality.

The panel discussion closed with each panel member saying, in one sentence, what national-scale work of art they'd have commissioned in the city, if given a free hand.