Sixfields becomes a stage
No, not really – Northampton’s seating allocation was all part of a theatre production
If you are anything like us, barely a day goes by when you don’t wish you could just spend your summer hanging out on a sofa inside your club’s home stadium, waiting for the new season to start.
Well the fans of League One side Northampton Town were in luck, as they were able to do just that for £5 – and there was even a handy lamp provided for when it got a bit dark.
Sadly, you couldn’t actually stay there 24/7 – this was all a part of an unusual theatrical tour of the Cobblers’ Sixfields Stadium. Billed as ‘immersive theatre’, it went way beyond your bog-standard stadium tour – by using actors, dancers and a handheld film to guide punters around the ground and back through the club’s proud 120-year history.
As fans wandered, the film showed some actors playing three generations of a fictional Northampton-supporting family, and also featured a flying dragon and a gladiator battle. You what? Ah yes, that match against Chesterfield in 1963 really was eventful. The tour was similar to virtual reality but live actors appeared too – including some dressed as players from the old days and even the dragon himself, Cobblers mascot Clarence.
The Twelfth Player was put together by the Seven Sisters theatre company, renowned for innovative installations – this one came to fruition thanks to a brainwave from the local art curator and Town supporter Yasmin Canvin, who got the ball rolling. And they did their research – one sequence hailed legendary winger Tommy Fowler and the current Northampton Ladies team portrayed pre-war women’s players.
Susanne Thomas, who co-runs the theatre company, admits she wasn’t a football fan beforehand, but quickly warmed to the sport. “It’s all theatre really,” she tells Fourfourtwo. “There’s that backstage area, then they come onto the stage and the drama unfolds.”
The production’s been such a roaring success that Seven Sisters are keen to expand it, potentially to other grounds. Maybe keep that sofa by the pitch at Sixfields for a little bit longer, though, just in case veteran Cobblers midfielder Matt Taylor wants to have a sit-down before curling in his next corner-kick.