Live theatre takes to the streets of Derby

Visitors to Derby Cathedral Quarter will be taken back to the Edwardian era this summer as part of the popular CQ Saturdays entertainment programme.

Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID), which was voted best city location in the Great British High Street Awards, has again commissioned Derby-based Ashrow Theatre for CQ Saturdays Street Theatre.

Ashrow Theatre actors will take to the streets in the Cathedral Quarter for the first time on Saturday May 27 and then on every fourth Saturday in the month between 11am and 3pm up to and including September.

They will perform extracts from ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, as well as interacting with members of the public in character and letting people know about the history of the area, landmarks, places of interest and events and activities taking place over the coming weeks and months.

This year, Jack (played by Frank Simms) and Gwendolen (Maisie Barlow) will being joined by well-known local actor and former Eagle Award winner Jenny Earl who will play one of the most iconic figures in literature – the mighty Lady Bracknell – casting a very close eye across proceedings.

Actor and director Rowan Scarborough, who set up Ashrow Theatre in 2011, explained: “We are delighted to be returning to the Cathedral Quarter this summer which is the perfect setting for this innovative approach to street theatre.

“As well as performing adapted scenes from ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ they will be staying in character to talk to passers-by and tell them about different buildings and Edwardian life in Derby.

“So, as well as telling this popular story, the actors will be bringing history to life in the area in a fun and entertaining way.”

Fellow director Frank Simms continued: “Street theatre does hold its challenges but its particular joy is that you can be flexible and adaptable to the audience.

“If someone followed us for the whole afternoon, they would get a great feeling for the story and for the history in the Cathedral Quarter but it is equally as enjoyable to dip in and out of.”

Martin Langsdale is chair of the Cathedral Quarter Management Group, which drives forward activities under the area’s Business Improvement District status.

He concluded: “CQ Saturdays Street Theatre has been a popular and unique part of our street entertainment programme.

“The particular appeal of the street theatre is the mobility of the performances.  The actors move around the area and will draw visitors with them – encouraging people to explore more of the Cathedral Quarter’s hidden gems.”

CQ Saturdays Street Theatre is a key aspect of the popular weekly programme of free entertainment in the Cathedral Quarter.

Other CQ Saturdays events include the Towers, Tunnels and Tales tours on the first Saturday of the month; CQ Saturdays Street Circus, a teaser for Derby Feste and held on the second Saturday of the month; and CQ Saturdays Knickerbocker Glorious, featuring live family entertainment on the third Saturday of each month.

Information about CQ Saturdays Street Theatre and all the events in the Cathedral Quarter are available at; on Twitter @DerbyCQ and Facebook CathedralQuarterDerby