Bard and King in new season line-up

Be My Baby
Be My Baby

the latest season of professional produced theatre productions from Derby Live offers a mouthwatering selection, ranging from a new musical based on a much-loved novel, to an Elizabethan comedy, to a drama about one of the key figures in American 20th century history.

The season begins with a new version of The Merchant Of Venice, one of Shakespeare’s most gripping plays, at Derby Theatre from February 4 to 26.

This production, set just prior to the Wall Street Crash and the rise of the Third Reich, is a staging of a challenging and morally complex play.

The Mountaintop runs at Derby’s Guildhall Theatre from March 18 to April 9, a play by Katori Hall about the life and death of Martin Luther King. It is set on April 3, 1968, the night before he dies.

In room 306 of the Lorraine Motel, Memphis, Tennessee, King orders coffee. Minutes later a young maid delivers it. She is beautiful, like an angel in disguise. It’s her first day on the job – but, as King discovers, she doesn’t work for the hotel, and her commute to the job has been entirely unconventional.

The Mountaintop has been described by critics as ‘breathtaking, wondrous, hilarious and heartbreaking’ and was the winner of the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play.

Derby Live Youth Theatre, in association with Brief Candle Theatre, is performing Squeakers at Derby Theatre from April 20 to 23. It is a comedy, a mystery and a love story where you can expect ruffs, riots and rivalry aplenty.

Amanda Whittington’s Be My Baby takes to the stage at Derby Theatre from April 29 to May 21. This is a bittersweet comedy exploring a hidden social history about attitudes to teen pregnancy in the 60s.

It’s 1964 and, until now, Mary Adams’s life has revolved around her boyfriend and her Dansette record player. She’s 19, in love, unmarried and – as her mother has just discovered – seven months pregnant.

For a riproaring and risque production filled to the brim with innuendo, try Lysistrata, at Derby Theatre from June 29 to July 2.

Our Lysistrata (Liz to you) is one in a million, the original embodiment of girl power in a man’s world. The women are all tired of playing widow to the war games, so Liz leads them into battle to win back their men in a show that contains strong language and scenes of a sexual nature.

Looking further ahead to the autumn – October 6 to 29 to be precise – fans of LP Hartley’s poignant novel The Go Between might like to check out a musical drama based on the story, with music by Richard Taylor and a book and lyrics by David Wood.

In the heat and humidity of the rural Norfolk summer in 1900, a young boy comes of age as he is unwittingly enlisted as a messenger in an adult affair of deceit and desire.

This is the world premiere of a moving new musical adaptation of LP Hartley’s beautifully wistful novel of naivety, nostalgia and the end of innocence, perhaps best known as a 1971 film of the same name starring Julie Christie and Derbyshire’s very own Alan Bates.

Pete Meakin, artistic director of Derby Live, said: “Derby Live’s commitment to making great theatre in Derby continues in 2011. Yet again, Derby Live will be producing high-quality plays which have had little or no professional exposure previously in the area.”

For ticket details, call the Derby Live box office on 01332 255800.