Departure Lounge is run by In Good Company in collaboration with Derby Theatre.  In 2020 it is celebrating its 8th anniversary.  

Departure Lounge is our summer festival celebrating fresh new contemporary theatre from right across the UK. It usually takes the form of a jam packed four days of Edinburgh Fringe previews, works-in-progress, workshops and talks.

We are committed to supporting and playing host to a range of work from both small and large independent touring companies and so transform our theatre allowing for performances on stage, outside and in and around the theatre.

For Connect Up we will host an additional day which will encourage young people to attend the festival.

In December 2020 we delivered Departure Lounge Staycation Festival. As part of it we platformed 14 shows, 2 workshops, 1 networking event with venues right across the Midlands. We also held a panel discussion, hosted by Lyn Gardner. Panelists included Tobi Kyeremateng, Sarah Brigham, Alan Lane and Amahra Spence. This also presented us with the opportunity to record a show on the Main Stage at Derby Theatre specifically for the festive. We recorded Fatty Fat Fat by Katie Greenall, this show has also been made available on-demand with BSL + captions. We also got the privilege of seeing the very first scratch sharing of The Marathon Project; a work-in-progress piece produced by some of the UK’s most exciting new musical theatre makers who have come together for the first time to collectively create a piece inspired by the 1904 Olympics Marathon.

Partner Theatre

Short Info
  • founded in 2002
  • yearly festival
  • presentation of approx. 12 productions
  • around 2000 audience members


Jen Sullivan

Aoife O’Connor

Joanna Saw

Emily Coleman

Sarah Brigham

Jenny Langlands

Associate Producers: Rafia Hussain and Phoebe Wall Palmer

In July 2021 Departure Lounge Festival returned to Derby Theatre: On-Stage, Online, Outside, and all Socially Distanced! As part of the festival, we platformed 16 events, a digital networking event, and a Panel Discussion. Chaired by Lyn Garnder, the panel discussion on The Power of Independence included Sarah Brigham, Dr Cecila Wee, Sunita Hinduja, Adele Thomas and Amanda Parker. We took advantage of the everchanging situation and hosted the Panel Discussion on Zoom and hosted a hybrid festival with part of the programming remaining digital. Shows like Crown By Phases Collective and Uproot were available on-demand on the Friday allowing audiences the flexibility to watch when they wanted at home. For those that were comfortable being back in person, A Good Neet Aht by Phil Green and States of Independence by Unanima Theatre took over the main stage and reminded us how much we enjoyed being in the Theatre.
With 2021’s programming, a lot of the work focused on connectivity and many of the digital experiences involved engaging with the work in a laid back or 1-2-1 with the artist approach, 36 Questions that Lead to Love Presented by Lynn Lu and Cyclical by Michael Pinchbeck are just some of the shows where you could experience this.

This was the 2021 lineup.