Delia Derbyshire takes centre stage in Noctium Theatre's "Hymns for Robots"

Delia Derbyshire takes centre stage in Noctium Theatre's "Hymns for Robots"


I am obliged as ever to Heather Kincaid at the Belgrade Theatre for her heads-up on a new music centred production.

Local innovator and icon of 20th century music Delia Derbyshire will be the focus of a new production by Coventry company Noctium Theatre next month.

Created with the support of the Belgrade Theatre as part of its Springboard talent development programme, "Hymns for Robots" tells the story of Coventry-born electronic music pioneer Delia Derbyshire, now best remembered for groundbreaking work on the original "Doctor Who" theme tune.

After a successful run at this year's Edinburgh Fringe Festival that saw them scoop up excellent reviews, Noctium Theatre now head back to the Belgrade with their latest work – the follow-up to their warmly received debut, "The Country Doctor".

Inspired by Delia Derbyshire's own inventive and experimental approach to her work, "Hymns for Robots" combines Delia-esque strange sounds and "weird wobbulations" with Noctium's own distinctive visual style to produce a heightened, immersive theatrical experience.

Raised in Coundon in the late 30s and 40s, Delia Derbyshire went on to earn a place at the then-girls' grammar school, Barr's Hill, before winning a scholarship to study at the University of Cambridge. Later, she joined the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, where she helped to create the iconic theme music for "Doctor Who".

This was only the beginning of her career, however: less widely recognised are her massive contributions to electronic music more broadly, which has led to her being described by some as "the mother of modern music", cited as an influence on bands ranging from The Beatles to The Chemical Brothers and Pink Floyd to Orbital.

Now Noctium are joining a growing chorus of voices calling for her extraordinary work to receive the recognition it deserves, strengthened by the success of Coventry's City of Culture 2021 bid.

Noctium Theatre is comprised of Coventry University graduates Connor Alexander, Jessie Coller and Charles Craggs, and is supported as part of the Belgrade Theatre's Springboard scheme. As a registered charity, the Belgrade relies on the generous support of audiences, funders, corporate partners, members and donors to fund programmes such as the Springboard initiative.

Press comments on "Hymns for Robots"

"Constantly engaging, absolutely hilarious and unbelievably charming"
Broadway Baby★★★★★

"super-smart recreation of the life of a pioneer"
The Stage★★★★

"a production that does credit to [Delia's] brilliance in a manner that respects her idiosyncratic career"
Edinburgh Festival List★★★★

"as accomplished as it is charming"
Backstage on the Fringe★★★★

"atmospheric and instructive"
All Edinburgh Theatre

"an informative, engaging show… entertaining a plethora of senses"
The Fountain

"Hymns for Robots" shows at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry from Wednesday 19th until Friday 21st September. Tickets are available to book now by calling the box office on 024 7655 3055 or visiting where prices are even cheaper.

  Web      Social media   


Related articles

Honorary Doctorates for Delia Derbyshire & Pete Chambers


The practice of universities awarding honorary qualifications often seems to result in the famous, rich, powerful & previously honoured getting ...
 [1 image] More

"Delia @ 80" events at Coventry Music Museum

Friday 5th May 2017 would, in a perfect world, have been the day Delia Derbyshire celebrated her birthday.
 [1 image] More

Road to be named after Delia Derbyshire

After a campaign led by Pete Chambers BEM, Director of The Coventry Music Museum & top Coventry and Warwickshire music historian, a new road is to ...
 [1 image] More

Vince Hill's farewell concert in Coventry


With 2019 marking his 85th birthday, singing star Vince Hill will be heading home to Coventry next month to perform a special farewell concert at the ...
 [1 image] More

‘Respect to Aretha' at the Belgrade Theatre


I am indebted to Heather Kincaid of the Belgrade Theatre for her heads-up on the news that local singer Letitia George (who previously appeared on ...
 [1 image] More