March 2017

Babe the Sheep Pig
30 March 2017

Babe, the Sheep-Pig

A new stage production of Dick King-Smith’s much loved children’s novel, Babe, the Sheep Pig will run at Exeter Northcott Theatre this April.

Based on the best-selling book by Dick King Smith, Babe, the Sheep Pig is a heart-warming tale of friendship, adventure and bravery. Adapted by Olivier Award winner David Wood (Goodnight Mister Tom, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG), Babe follows the incredible story of one piglet’s rise to become the world famous Sheep-Pig.

When Babe arrives at Hogget’s Farm he is taken in by the trusty sheep dog Fly and discovers a talent for herding. With the help of his adopted Mum, our polite piglet soon wins over the most suspicious of sheep. But can a small pig make it in a dog’s world, and when his farmyard friends are in trouble can Babe save the day?

Join the Northcott for an enchanting family favourite, as the classic novel which inspired the Oscar-winning film, is bought to life by a cast of West End performers in a show brimming with laughter, thrills, stunning puppetry and original live music.


Vampire Night Exeter Northcott
24 March 2017

Vampire Night

An acclaimed Professor of Gothic horror is to come to Exeter’s Northcott theatre to reveal how Dracula was based on medical evidence of ‘real’ vampires, before a performance of Dracula itself.

‘Prof of Goth’, Nick Groom, who is world expert on Gothic fiction, is preparing to present to the Exeter audience compelling medical evidence of the ‘real’ vampires that Dracula was based on.

The Professor of English literature at Exeter University has just been commissioned by Yale University to write a book on vampires, and has published widely on the Gothic.

He will explain how Bram Stoker ‘borrowed’ widely from the Devonian writer Sabine Baring-Gould when he wrote Dracula. Baring-Gould, a vicar from just outside Exeter, wrote not only the hymn Onward Christian soldiers, but a book on werewolves which Stoker was strongly influenced by.

The free talk in the Northcott theatre bar, on the evening of March 31st, will precede the first-night of a brand-new comedy adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula by local Exeter theatre company, Le Navet Bete.

Dracula: the Bloody Truth, will take audiences on a journey across Europe from the dark and sinister Transylvanian mountains to the awkwardly charming seaside town of Whitby where a frantic Van Helsing, the vampire hunter, stages a life-changing  theatrical production of Dracula.
But – echoing Professor Groom’s evidence that Bram Stoker was almost certainly aware of medical accounts of ‘real’ vampire activity in Eastern Europe – the play will turn on the idea that Van Helsing, the nemesis of  Dracula, has presented Bram Stoker with evidence of real vampires, which the writer turns into fiction.

Before the performance, the one-off pre-theatre talk on vampires by Professor Groom, which is free to the general public, and will take place in the Northcott’s theatre café/bar.
Professor Groom  – author of a Very Short Introduction to the Gothic –  will describe how Bram Stoker’s Dracula was born out of real-life accounts of vampires gathered by doctors and surgeons.

The Prof of Goth, whose talk is designed for the general public and afficionados of the Gothic alike, will read passages from Dracula that mirror medical descriptions of how ‘real-life’ vampires are recorded to have behaved.

With trade-mark theatrical flourish, Professor Groom will show how Bram Stoker would have been aware of accounts of 18th century physicians investigating reports of undead monsters who gorged themselves on blood. These incidents led to bodies in Eastern Europe being dug up, decapitated, staked through the heart, and cremated.

The creatures were reported to have sucked the blood of humans and animals and blood would flow from the vampires’ eyeballs, pores, and other orifices. Once dug up, their coffins were said to have been swimming in gore. As a protection against the creatures, local people advised making bread from this very blood against “contracting vampirism.”

Press reports at the time described how in Hungary there were “dead bodies sucking….the blood of the living….. the former are fill’d with Blood.”
The Professor of English literature at Exeter University has just been commissioned by Yale to write a book on vampires, has published widely on the Gothic.

Tickets for his talk on vampires, which will begin at 5.30 pm on Friday 31st March, are not required. The talk is free and refreshments and food can be purchased from the bar.

Vampire night is the first in a series of lectures by academics from the University of Exeter for local people tied to theatrical productions at the Northcott Theatre, which is based on the University campus.

Sir Steve Smith, Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said: “The University is delighted to support such an excellent local theatre, and the exciting programme of plays it is offering to Exeter and the South West.  I’m very pleased our academics, such as Professor Groom, are working with the Northcott  to share their knowledge and expertise on a range of subjects with people from Exeter and further afield. Professor Groom is one of the country’s  experts on the Gothic, and has earned the moniker ‘Prof of Goth’.  I have no doubt Professor Groom will thrill, and perhaps unnerve theatre goers with his explanation of just how Bram Stoker came to know so much about vampires.”

Artistic Director of the Northcott Theatre, Paul Jepson said: “We are delighted to be hosting this event.  Partnership between the University of Exeter and the Exeter Northcott theatre is going from strength to strength and we are increasingly being noticed as a model for a Regional Arts Organisation working creatively and imaginatively with Higher Education.  It is a relationship of enormous possibilities.  We are also delighted to be opening a new show by our Associate Company Le Navet Bete.  They are an incredibly funny, agile, energised, inventive and engaging troupe.  Be prepared for a treat on multiple fronts!”

Dracula: The Bloody Truth will begin at 7pm.

19 March 2017

La Traviata

Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose in association with the Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Mälmo Opera present Verdi’s La Traviata

Fri 7 & 8 April 2017
Following two London transfers (Soho Theatre and Tricycle Theatre) and an extensive UK tour, Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose present their critically acclaimed, new English version of Verdi’s La Traviata; for their debut performance at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre.

The story of Violetta, a so-called ‘fallen woman’ who sacrifices her own happiness for the sake of her lover’s family and future. Set in Atlantic City, USA, during the 1920s prohibition era of speakeasies and bootlegging, with Violetta’s lover Alfredo a passionate young man whose optimism has been shaken by time at the front in the first world war, Violetta’s protector ‘the Baron’ a gang boss, and Alfredo’s father a crooked politician, this new production reveals the hypocrisy and heartache behind the glittering façade of parties.

Directed, and in a new English translation by OperaUpClose’s Olivier Award-winning Artistic Director, Robin Norton-Hale, with a new orchestration for piano, clarinet and cello by Harry Blake (West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Resident Composer). La Traviata premiered and ran for six-weeks at the King’s Head Theatre in 2013, in 2014 the production transferred for a five-week run at Soho Theatre and in 2015 it ran for another two-weeks at the Tricycle Theatre. The cast includes soprano Elinor Jane Moran and tenor Philip Lee from the company’s Olivier Award-winning La Bohème.

OperaUpClose’s Artistic Director, Robin Norton-Hale: “We are delighted to be making our debut in Exeter. The city has such an exciting and eclectic arts scene, and the Northcott an unparalleled reputation for high-quality, exciting drama. We can’t wait to work with the Theatre, and to meet the people of Exeter and the surrounding area at our performances.”


Critical acclaim for the production:



For further information and to request interviews, review tickets and images, please contact Jenny Hogg on 01392 722 408 or email her.


Note to editors
OperaUpClose is an Olivier Award-winning opera company, producing new, unintimidating, affordable and high-quality English chamber re-imaginings of well-known works and premieres of new operas. They have produced 25 operas to date, are an associate company of Soho Theatre and tour their productions nationally and internationally to great acclaim.
For more information on OperaUpClose, please visit: http://www.operaupclose.com/

Dick Whittington Exeter Pantomime
15 March 2017

Young Performers Needed for Exeter Northcott’s Pantomime

Exeter Northcott Theatre is looking for local children to join the cast of its recently announced family pantomime Dick Whittington.

The theatre is searching for talented young male and female actors, aged between 10 and 15 on 1st September 2017, to take acting, singing and dancing roles in the show.

Everyone will have the chance to act, sing and dance – auditionees don’t need to be trained, but need to be prepared to give it their all.

Dick Whittington marks the spectacular return to the Exeter Northcott tradition of producing its own pantomimes. Expect plenty of audience participation, live music, magic, mayhem and lots of laughter – the perfect recipe for a family Christmas panto treat!

The first round of auditions will be held on Sunday 14th May. The audition will be a drama workshop, including singing and movement. Those successful in the first round of auditions will be required to attend a call back audition on Sunday 11th June.

Auditionees need to be aware that the commitment will be to an 8 – 12 week rehearsal period of up to two evenings per week and some Sundays from September. In addition, children will need to be available for 20 performances between 2nd December and 7th January, which will include 4 – 5 part days off school. They will be expected to attend school even on performance days, and on days after an evening performance.

For more information and to register interest via an application form, please email Lisa Hudson, Northcott Theatre Education and Outreach Officer.

Deadline for registering interest is Tuesday 2nd May 2017.


Dick Whittington Exeter Pantomime
06 March 2017

Our 2017 Christmas Show Announced

Exeter Northcott Theatre is delighted to announce its 2017 Christmas show will be the traditional family pantomime Dick Whittington.

The show will see a spectacular return to the Exeter Northcott tradition of producing its own pantomimes.

Steve Bennett returns as the Dame, a role he played previously at the Northcott for 14 years, and will be directed by one of the country’s leading pantomime directors, Tony Lidington.

Steve Bennett said, “I’m absolutely delighted to be returning as Dame this Christmas for what will be my 15th Northcott panto! I’ve done panto elsewhere but nothing compares to the Northcott. I really feel like I’m coming home!”

Tony Lidington added “I’m delighted to be working at the Northcott and with such an experienced co-writer and Dame in Steve Bennett. I have been creating and producing pantomimes that combine traditional history and conventions with rollicking family entertainment for over 30 years: having created unique, box office-breaking pantomimes for the last 6 years at Richmond’s Georgian Theatre Royal, it is fantastic to be working close to my home in Dawlish! “

With his faithful Puss by his side Dick leaves his Exeter home for the bright lights of London in search of fame and fortune.  Follow his adventures as he reaches the big city and travels the high seas. Will Dick find his fortune? Can he and Puss defeat the evil villain King Rat and return home triumphant?

Expect plenty of audience participation, live music, magic, mayhem and lots of laughter – the perfect recipe for a family Christmas panto treat!

Tickets are now on sale, with a special Earlybird offer, and can be bought online or by calling the Exeter Northcott Box Office on 01392 726363.

Exeter College exeter northcott performing arts
03 March 2017

New Performing Arts Academy Launched

Exeter College has launched a new Performing Arts Academy to support exceptional talent in the performing arts.

The new academy is being launched by the College in partnership with the Exeter Northcott Theatre and will be supported by the University of Exeter.

Applicants will soon be able to apply for entry in September 2017. The mission of the new academy is to nurture talent in the performing arts by enabling access to industry expertise in drama and theatre.

The academy will provide a range of opportunities including acting, singing and dance master classes with industry professionals. There will also be a range of additional classes, review and analysis of professional performance work as well as work experience, and shadowing opportunities.

The new academy was formally launched on the first night of Roald Dahl’s The Twits at the Exeter Northcott Theatre on Monday February 27th. The show starred Academy ambassador and Exeter College alumnus Alex Chang, who studied for a BTEC in Performing Arts and is now touring with The Twits.

The launch of the academy builds on Exeter College’s reputation for excellence in the performing arts.

John Laramy, Exeter College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted that we are launching a performing arts academy. The range of partners involved and their commitment to this project aligns fully with our ethos and our continued pursuit of excellence.

“As a College we have a vision to be an exceptional college and this new academy means that we will be able to offer something special to students, alongside our outstanding curriculum.  The fact that an Exeter College alumnus is staring in The Twits to launch this academy shows the potential of what, collectively, we can achieve.”


Paul Jepson, Exeter Northcott Theatre Executive Director, said: “We’re delighted to be working in partnership with Exeter College, and to be supported by the University of Exeter, on the new Performing Arts Academy. Supporting the next generations of young performers is at the heart of what we do at the Northcott and we are thrilled to be working alongside the College and University in this exciting new initiative.”


Actor and Academy Ambassador Alex Chang said: “My time at Exeter College undertaking the BTEC in Performing Arts provided the crucial foundation I needed as an introduction to performing. Ultimately, undertaking the course made me realise my passion for the craft and art of performance, and I owe a great deal to those strong, core foundations.


“If I was a student again I would be applying to the academy in a heartbeat and I actively encourage students to do so. It’s a promising time to be beginning the foundations of training in the performing arts in Devon, and all budding performers should definitely go for it.”


Professor Stephen Hodge, Head of Drama at the University of Exeter, said: “We congratulate Exeter College on the launch of its new academy, and are happy to share with its participants the surprising range of career opportunities that a degree in drama opens up.”


Exeter Northcott Theatre is Exeter’s flagship professional theatre. The theatre is passionate about live performance and delights in presenting a varied programme of the highest quality dram, opera, music, dance, comedy and family theatre.