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March 2018

 
30 March 2018

Paul Jepson takes decision to step down as Artistic and Executive Director when successor appointed

PRESS RELEASE

The revitalised Exeter Northcott Theatre is advertising for a permanent Artistic and Executive Director.

This recruitment process was diarised three years ago and comes at a time when the Northcott has successfully secured Arts Council (national portfolio organisation) NPO funding to 2022.

Current Artistic and Executive Director Paul Jepson, said “As my three-year part-time contract as a consultant comes to an end, I am handing on a theatre I love in a much better state than I found it. It has been a great pleasure working with colleagues to reinventing the model of midscale regional theatre in Exeter.

“What we have achieved in the last three years has been astonishing.  The theatre is back to producing, including The Railway Children and our own Christmas pantomime, curating fantastic work, inventing and implementing sector leading programmes, delighting audiences (and a lot more of them at that) – well and truly back on the map.

“I look forward to supporting my successor to engage with the opportunities and challenges ahead, and in particular to supporting our production of Schiller’s Don Carlos in October, with actor Tom Burke and his new theatre company ARA, and to fulfilling my on-going commitments to the IMPACT show Beyond My Control as a freelance producer/director.”

Lucy, Lady Studholme, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said “Paul has made the decision that he wants to return to freelance directing and therefore is not applying for the full-time role. I have greatly enjoyed working with him – he has achieved a huge amount for the Northcott and thanks to the all the hard work and commitment of all the staff and volunteers under his strategic revitalisation alongside Finance Director Catherine Goodridge, the Northcott has now returned to its proud position as Exeter’s principal city theatre. His vibrant energy will be much missed by us all.”

The theatre is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, opened in November 1967 and established a long tradition of home produced drama and pantomime.

The organisation became a registered charity in June 2013, and reclaimed its position among the Arts Council’s national portfolio with NPO funding from 2015 until 2018.

In January 2015, the charity’s board of trustees set a strategic plan to reinvigorate the theatre. At that time, the principle stakeholders – Arts Council England (ACE), the University of Exeter and Exeter City Council – agreed to the temporary appointment of Paul Jepson on the understanding that a formal recruitment would take place after three years.

The University of Exeter, who own the building, have invested over £2m in it over the last three years, and the funding grant from Exeter City Council has seen a small rise in the last year.

When I was engaged three years ago,” added Paul Jepson, “I said that we’d make the Northcott a thriving theatre again. After three happy, successful years it is clear that we have done just that. I hope that others dare to follow our lead. I am full of thanks and admiration for all those who have helped us and in particular for the theatre’s intrepid team.”

Details of the job description and application process can be downloaded here.

ENDS

Notes for editors:

In January 2015, the charity’s board of trustees set a strategic plan for financial recovery, restructure and revision with a brief to provide local jobs and a wide breadth of live performance to Exeter and the South West.

At that time, the principle stakeholders – Arts Council England (ACE), the University of Exeter and Exeter City Council – agreed to the temporary appointment on the understanding that formal recruitment would take place after three years.

Confirmation of continued funding (2018-22) for the Northcott as one of Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations (NPO) triggers this recruitment process.

The growing reputation of the theatre’s home-produced work saw it selected as one of just four regional theatres to win a funded producer bursary – a 12-month role beginning this year.

In summer 2017, the theatre staged outdoor Shakespeare with The Comedy of Errors – the first time for nine years – and brought back traditional pantomime after eight years with an acclaimed production of Dick Whittington, giving professional stage debuts to three local graduate actors and 18 school children from our Young Company.

In a major coup, stage and TV actor Tom Burke announced he is to star in a new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos, co-produced by Exeter Northcott Theatre in association with his new theatre company, ARA, which will work with the theatre as an associate company. The show will premiere in Exeter in October 2018 and then tour.

29 March 2018

Easter Weekend Box Office Opening Times

Friday 30 March (Good Friday) – Closed all day
Saturday 31 March – Open 10am – 6pm
Sunday 1 April (Easter Sunday) – Closed all day
Monday 2 April (Easter Monday) – 5pm – 8pm

Normal box office hours will resume on Tuesday 3 April.  You can also purchase tickets for all shows and dining events on our website 24/7.

26 March 2018

New UK and international tour plans for unique show about epilepsy and the brain

Following the success of Beyond My Control 2018 – a full UK and international tour is planned for the unique show fusing performing arts and science to explore epilepsy and the brain

Exeter Northcott Theatre is marking Epilepsy Awareness Day with the announcement that it plans to take its acclaimed stage show Beyond My Control on a bigger tour next year.

These include staging performances in regional theatres, the Edinburgh Festival and even as far away as Australia.

These ambitious plans follow a successful studio tour in February for the show, which uses improvised drama to explore how regions of the brain connect and interact and how these can lead to repeated seizures in people with epilepsy.

The production – part game show, part improvised drama, part maths puzzle – aims to shed fresh light on epilepsy and pioneering mathematical research from the University of Exeter which offers the potential to revolutionise the way the condition is diagnosed.

Plans for the show, which has been praised for shining a light on a condition which affects around 600,000 people in the UK, have been revealed to mark so-called Purple Day, on March 26.

Audience reaction to the studio tour – which played to audiences in Liverpool, Lincoln, London, Exeter, Swindon and Aberystwyth this year – has been overwhelmingly positive with more than 500 people providing detailed feedback of whom 72% rated it 4 or 5*.

Many were people with epilepsy who felt the show had given a voice to a condition that was rarely talked about.

The Northcott’s Artistic and Executive Director Paul Jepson, who devised the show in collaboration with Professor of Biomedical Modelling John Terry, said: “We have now examined and analysed the reaction to this unique piece of theatre and audiences have clearly responded positively.

“We now want as many people as possible to experience what is a funny, engaging and meaningful reflection on lived experience of epilepsy.

“So we are putting together ambitious plans for a bigger tour of city venues and looking into taking the show to the Edinburgh festival and hopefully overseas, including Australia.”

Beyond My Control is the first production created under the IMPACT programme, a partnership between the Northcott theatre and the University of Exeter.

The collaboration, which began in 2016, unites academics and theatrical practitioners to explore an idea or piece of research as a stimulus for creative work.

Professor John Terry, Director of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Centre for Predictive Modelling in Healthcare, said “Seeing our mathematics brought to life on stage and the positive impact it has had on people with epilepsy and the wider public alike has been absolutely fantastic.

“To create a genuinely engaging and entertaining show, that can explore both complex mathematics and a poorly understood neurological condition has been an incredible experience for me and other members of our team.”

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

Epilepsy Awareness Day (March 26th), also known as Purple Day, was created in 2008 by Cassidy Megan, a young girl from Canada, who has epilepsy and wanted to get people talking about the condition. Cassidy not only wanted to raise awareness but also assure people with epilepsy that they are not alone. Over the past 8 years Purple Day has grown to be a global event with activities to support epilepsy awareness being undertaken around the world.

 

Examples of audience feedback from London shows:

Vasilya: ‘It was really interesting, informing and engaging, especially the part about the mathematical modelling which was interesting to me – difficult concepts even for people who work with science every day so it was really good to break this down.

 “I think the drama part is really interesting for anyone whether they have epilepsy or not. I did know that epilepsy was caused by increased synchronous activity but it was really interesting to me to see the networks brought into play, how one area of brain can take control and lead to seizure. It’s really nice.’

 Pepi: “It was a very original idea I have never seen a play like that; very catching; its educating but also informative. I enjoyed the play but what was different was the presentation – how they presented such a complex issue was amazing. I would recommend it to friends; it is something unique and personal. It made me think of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time it is about science and maths was included. It’s the only thing I have seen that reminded me of it.”

23 March 2018

Recruitment of full-time Artistic & Executive Director

23/03/2018

Exeter Northcott Theatre is advertising for a permanent Artistic and Executive Director.

In January 2015 the charity’s Board of Trustees set a strategic plan for financial recovery, restructure and revision with a brief to provide local jobs and a wide breadth of live performance to Exeter and the South West.

At that time, the principle stakeholders – Arts Council England (ACE), the University of Exeter and Exeter City Council – agreed to the temporary part-time engagement of a director on the understanding that formal recruitment would take place after three years.

Lucy, Lady Studholme, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said the theatre has now returned to a financial surplus, increased audiences numbers and turn-over, widened the range and quality of touring shows and reinstated its tradition of producing its own work, including the Christmas pantomime. This has been achieved thanks to the hard work and commitment of all the staff and volunteers under the strategic revitalisation by the current part-time Artistic and Executive Director Paul Jepson and part-time Finance Director Catherine Goodridge.

In July last year, Arts Council announced that it is continuing to fund the theatre as one of its National Portfolio Organisations (2018 – 2022), and the recruitment process for a permanent full-time Artistic and Executive Director post is now required.

With the support of the key stakeholders the Northcott has now returned to its proud position as Exeter’s vibrant city theatre and the recruitment of a permanent senior director further confirms this success.

A further full-time senior post – Finance and Operations Director – will be recruited later in the summer.

As the Northcott celebrates its 50th Anniversary year, this is an exciting and important opportunity and will give the theatre the ability to grow and deliver the ambition to be a leading theatre in the South West, with a national reputation and making a significant contribution to entertainment, the cultural industries and live performance.

Details of the job description and application process can be downloaded here.

19 March 2018

A Brave Face – Mon 19 March Cancelled Performance

Due to the heavy snow fall over the weekend, the get out  for Awful Auntie was unable to take place on Sunday as planned, and will be taking place today.  Unfortunately, this means that there is now insufficient time to pre-rig and set up for tonight’s scheduled show of A Brave Face, so we have had to cancel Monday evening’s performance.

We will be contacting all ticket holders for tonight’s performance over the course of the day and sending out an email communication shortly.  Customers will have the option to exchange their tickets for Tuesday evening’s performance, or attend a newly scheduled Green Matinee* performance at 2.30pm on Tuesday, or alternatively be issued with a full refund.

*support the environment and use Public Transport to attend this discounted midweek matinee show.

15 March 2018

Open Auditions for Young Performers in Jack and the Beanstalk

We are looking for local children to join the cast of our fabulous Christmas pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.

Following the success of Dick Whittington last year, resident panto dame and Exeter favourite Steve Bennett is returning to lead the company.

We are in search of talented young male and female actors (aged between 10 and 15 on 1st September 2018) to take acting, singing and dancing roles.

Our performances will be split between two teams of young actors. This means we are searching for a total of 16 young people.

Everyone will have the chance to act, sing and dance – you don’t need to be trained, but you do need to have bags of enthusiasm!

The first round of auditions will be held on Sunday 20th May. The audition will be a drama workshop, including singing and dance.

Please be aware that the commitment will be to an 8 to 10 week rehearsal period. This will start with Sundays from the beginning of October and switch to Saturdays and one evening a week (likely to be Tuesday or Thursday) from November 12th.

In addition, children will need to be available for approximately 25 performances between 3rd  December and 6th January, which will include 5 – 6 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, at education@exeternorthcott.co.uk.

Deadline for registering interest is Thursday 19th April 2018.

We are looking forward to seeing you all there…

 

03 March 2018

Dinosaur performance going ahead as planned

11.45am

At this stage we plan to go ahead with tomorrow’s matinee performance of ‘So you think you know about Dinosaurs!’.  The snow is thawing quickly on the University campus and the University’s grounds team are clearing pathways and carparks today in preparation for several events scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

We will post any further updates here if the situation changes.

03 March 2018

Murder Mystery Dining Event Postponed

Due to the University Campus remaining closed and unsafe for public access, we have had to postpone tonight’s Murder Mystery dining event.  If you have tickets for this event our staff will be in touch  to transfer your tickets to a new date.

Please check back for updates about Sunday’s Dinosaur performance.