Return of smash-hit Derby Theatre production for autumn 2023 and exciting new play for 2024

Published Thursday 12th Jan 2023
Derby Theatre is delighted to announce the return of their smash-hit, sell-out production from 2015, Brassed Off, returning to the main stage for autumn 2023, plus a new, fantastic, feel-good production for 2024, Welfare (It Were Welfare To Us) by Abi Zakarian, both exploring the proud mining history of the region.

Brassed Off, adapted by Paul Allen and based on the screenplay by Mark Herman from the smash-hit film, broke all Box Office records when Derby Theatre staged it over 7 years ago. The production was phenomenally popular, with audiences and the press alike, with quotes including: One of the finest things the Theatre has ever done” ★★★★★ from The Stage and “Exhilarating…it brought the full house to its feet” from the Derby Telegraph, with audience members adding: “Brilliant, brilliant, just utterly brilliant” and “Oh wow, this production just makes your heart burst and sing, an ultimate feel-good show”, to name just a few. Brassed Off will once again feature live music from Derbyshire’s premier brass band, Derwent Brass.

An older gentleman sits in a social hall as he plays bingo.

Photo Credit: David Severn

Perfectly paired with Brassed Off, to celebrate our local mining heritage, Derby Theatre will also produce and stage a brand-new play in 2024, Welfare (It Were Welfare to Us) by Abi Zakarian, a production full of heart, humour and bingo! – which will see the Theatre transformed into the site of The Derbyshire Miners’ Holiday Camp. Abi is an award-winning, British Armenian playwright, born and bred in Derbyshire to a family of miners.

Sarah Brigham (Artistic Director and CEO, Derby Theatre and Director of Brassed Off and Welfare) said:

“I am thrilled that Derby Theatre will be launching a year-long celebration of our local mining heritage during 2023 and 2024.. We are pairing the popular and much-loved stage adaptation, Brassed Off with a brand-new play by Derbyshire-born playwright, Abi Zakarian. Alongside, and in between both, we hope to be out in those communities with a proud mining history developing opportunities for members of the public to take part in arts activities and contribute to the creation of Abi’s play.

Making theatre, which is ambitiously popular and with a local relevance and ensuring there is room for new writing and innovation, is what Derby does best, and these two autumn blockbusters are the perfect example of that. I’m also delighted that the brilliant Championship Derwent Brass will be on this incredibly exciting journey with us.”

A Derby Theatre Production
Adapted by Paul Allen, based on the screenplay
by Mark Herman from the smash-hit film
Directed by Sarah Brigham

Love, loss, faith and flugelhorns

Strikes. Cost of living crisis. It’s 1992 and the miners are striking as their local colliery faces closure.

Danny’s dreams of leading the pit’s brass band to victory at a national competition at the Albert Hall seem remote as the men choose between picket lines and redundancy packages. But when Flugelhorn – playing Gloria returns to her home town the band get their oompah back and romance is rekindled with her childhood sweetheart Andy. However, when the real reason for Gloria’s return is revealed and the pressures of the strike get too much for the band members, things start to fall out of tune…

Brassed Off is a much-loved tale, full of heart and humour made right here in Derby .

Balancing grit and wit with a poignant look at recent history, the performance also features live music from Derbyshire’s premier brass band, Derwent Brass to deliver a thrilling night at theatre.

A Derby Theatre Production
WELFARE (It Were Welfare To Us)
A new play by Abi Zakarian

Miners, Holiday Makers, Strikers, Bingo Hall Players: those seeking refuge, those demanding hope and those on the trail of fun…UNITE!

In 2024, Derby Theatre will be transformed into the site of The Derbyshire Miners’ Holiday Camp. The blueprint for Butlins, this was the place Miners went to holiday, and later to recover as it was turned into a convalescent home.

Tiptoe with us through the decades as we meet the Miners and their families, who all frequented this beloved home in Skegness.

Expect Brass Bands, rousing speeches, the BEST entertainment and a whole load of bingo!

Written by award-winning British-Armenian playwright Abi Zakarian; born and bred in Derbyshire to a family of miners.

Brassed Off will run at Derby Theatre from Friday 29 September until Saturday 28 October, 2023 and Welfare will run at Derby Theatre from Friday 27 September to Saturday 12 October 2024.


Brassed Off

Audio Described Performances: Thursday 5 and Thursday 19 October, both at 2:30pm
Captioned Performances: Saturday 14 October, 2:30pm and Wednesday 18 October, 7:30pm
BSL Performances: Saturday 21 October, 2:30pm and Wednesday 25 October, 7:30pm
Dementia-Friendly and Distanced: Thursday 26 October, 2:30pm


Audio Described Performances: Thursday 3 and Saturday 5 October, both at 2:30pm
Captioned Performances: Thursday 10 October, 7:30pm
BSL Performance: Wednesday 9 October, 7:30pm
Dementia-Friendly and Distanced: Thursday 10 October, 2:30pm


Tickets will be on general sale from 12pm on Wednesday 18 January, with prices as:

Standard tickets: £15 – £35 for Brassed Off
Standard tickets: £15 – £23 for Welfare
Concessions for under 26s: available on both productions

Friends discount: 50% off preview performances, £5 off all other performances (Bands A & B) on both productions.
Schools’ tickets: £12.50 each on both productions.

For more information and to book tickets, call the Derby Theatre Box Office on 01332 593939 or go online at


Book a non-preview performance of Brassed Off and get up to 4 tickets for ONLY £15 each to see any performance of Welfare. This offer is available when either booking both shows at the same time, or at a later date with proof of purchase for Brassed Off.