Last night (Tuesday 15 September), Kinky Boots the musical started its UK run at the Adelphi Theatre in London and to celebrate the county’s still thriving footwear industry, a specially commissioned framed print was presented to the cast.
Based on the 2005 film about a Northampton shoe factory taking a high-heeled approach to business, Kinky Boots was filmed (in part) locally with one of the UK’s oldest shoe companies, Northampton based Trickers, used as a film set.
Hand-made in Northampton since 1829, Trickers are particularly renowned for their heavy brogue shoes and boots which have been adapted for both country walking and town use. Today, the Trickers factory in St. Michael’s Road Northampton houses some 90 operatives producing around 1,000 pairs each week.
Export is now the “life blood” of the company and approximately 70% of the shoes made at the St. Michael’s Road factory are exported throughout the world, where they are accepted as being amongst the highest quality hand-made shoes originating from the UK.
Tricker’s has also been honoured in receiving the Royal Warrant from His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, and has been a supplier to his Royal Highness and his household for over 20 years.
The company’s new Managing Director, Martin Mason, is passionate about opening up new markets and also recognises the responsibility the footwear industry has to young people in the business.
Mr Mason said: “Our association with the Kinky Boots film was that our 186 year old factory was chosen as the primary filming location in Northampton. The ”spin off” to our business is that there has been more interest in working for Trickers, in fact only last month we opened a dedicated training room for new shoemaking students and have now employed our first in-house trainer.“
A brighter future for footwear
NEP’s Bright Futures campaign, launched in March, is giving Northamptonshire’s young people fresh insight into the many great career, training and apprenticeship opportunities across all major sectors including the county’s footwear industry - an important contributor to the local economy with over 25 manufacturers producing world-leading global brand footwear. It is essential to attract and train more young people to alleviate the current footwear skills shortage which Bright Futures campaign is helping to address.
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