Departure Lounge Festival 2023

Published Thursday 15th Jun 2023
Calling all artists and audiences... Come and join us for Departure Lounge this summer

Departure Lounge, In Good Company and Derby Theatre’s fantastic summer festival of fresh, thrilling and contemporary performance, panel discussions and much more, is returning for two days this July, and you are invited to join us on Thursday 6 until Friday 7 July. The Festival also celebrates In Good Company‘s 10th anniversary this year…so it‘s time to party!

Departure Lounge 2023 is also going international this year, with the line-up of shows including productions created as part of ConnectUp, an international collective of theatres and arts organisations creating work for young audiences. Add to these some brilliant performances from a whole host of the most exciting UK Theatre companies and artists, and we have a delicious Departure Lounge cocktail of shows, discussions and events to serve up to artists, audiences, participants and young people this summer.

Since Departure Lounge was born in 2013, a firm Festival favourite and highlight has always been the FREE Industry Panel Discussion which, for this year, will focus on Co-Creation: How do artists make work with and for different communities? The panel will be hosted by Clare Brennan, The Observer’s out-of-London theatre reviewer, Director and Dramaturg, and with panellists including: Evie Manning (Co-Artistic Director of Common Wealth, a political site-specific theatre company); Nathan Powell (Director, Writer, Artistic Director of NSDF and associate artist at 20 Stories High); Keith Saha (Artistic Director and Co-CEO for 20 Stories High, Writer and Director) and Sarah Brigham (Artistic Director and CEO, Derby Theatre).

Departure Lounge 2023 (Line-Up)

Book Now!

Featuring Panellists

Chaired by

Clare Brennan


Evie Manning


Nathan Powell


Keith Saha


Sarah Brigham

Other Festival highlights for 2023 include: Sorry I Disappeared, part of the Walk this Play series by ThickSkin, an immersive audio walking tour around the city; A Seat at Our Table by Maison Foo and Derby CAN, a multisensory celebration of food, family and friendship co-created with global friends seeking sanctuary in Derby; Cross the Line, a powerful piece of theatre for ages 12+ which explores themes around line, limit, border and conflict, and asks when does a line become a limit and what does that limit mean?, and Pleasant Land for ages 14+, a story of identity, belonging and growing up along the way inspired by work undertaken with teenagers and schools across Derby (both Derby Theatre and Teatro Elsinor co-productions created as part of ConnectUp);  Delayed Captain by  Simon Raven, a musical re-interpretation of Brian Eno’s classic ambient album, Music for Airports, re-envisioned for the budget airline experience with songs written on a budget keyboard and beach guitar; Bwoy Dem by John Booker, a punchy, dark and comedic two-hander that deals with themes of race, black masculinity, police brutality and what happens when one man is pushed to breaking point; House of Life by Sheep Soup, one-part sermon, one-part purge, three parts party, a travelling musical cult collective hosted by the RaveRend, with one mission: to get the audience happy; Liberation Squares by Fifth Word, a new play in development by Sonali Bhattacharyya about British Muslim schools girls whose adolescence is as complex, infuriating and joyous as any other teenagers, but with the added complications of Islamophobia and cultural erasure; and Astrology Bingo by Figs in Wigs, the world’s first cosmic game show for astrology lovers, bingo wingers and their sceptic friends!

To mark In Good Company’s 10th anniversary, and to round off the Festival in spectacular style on the Friday evening, everyone is invited to the IGC 10th Birthday Party to celebrate, join us for a drink and to dance! 

Prices and How to Book

Festival tickets (for different shows and discussions) are either: FREE or ONLY £5 per person or £7.50 per person
so Departure Lounge continues to offer great value for money to see and experience some of the most exciting, experimental and exceptional performance from across the UK and beyond.  For more information and to book, visit, call 01332 593939 or pop into the Derby Theatre Box Office.  

Partners include...