Exeter Northcott Theatre is delighted to announce a remarkable new season with tickets now on sale for more than 30 shows.
To crown a year of 50th anniversary celebrations, we have put together a wide-ranging programme of powerful classical drama and modern adaptations alongside thrilling dance, opera, heart-warming musicals and comedy.
One of the highlights of the season is a stunning new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos starring popular TV detective and musketeer Tom Burke, in the first co-production with his new company, Ara – now a Northcott associate. The magnificent tale of passion and power – written at the time of the French revolution but set in the court of the tyrannical King Phillip II – plays out against the chilling backdrop of the bloody and ruthless Spanish Inquisition.
To mark the first production from the new partnership, a special free-to-attend Spotlight on Don Carlos talk with Tom Burke, director Gadi Roll and Schiller expert Gert Vonhoff, takes place on stage on July 12. BBC presenter Judi Spiers will chair the discussion, looking at theatre’s role in the 21st century, the new staging of Don Carlos and how the battle of ideas it portrays in the 18th century is relevant today.
There is an extraordinary new hip-hop musical, In the Willows by our associate company Metta, who were behind the smash hit street dance Jungle Book and circus spectacular Little Mermaid, with awe-inspiring acrobatics and spellbinding original songs. With epic show tunes and killer beats, the Edwardian classic The Wind in the Willlows by Kenneth Grahame is brought popping and locking into the 21st century.
In The Life I Lead, comedian Miles Jupp relates the remarkable bittersweet life story of cinema’s famously stiff English gentleman, Mr Banks – David Tomlinson’s character in Disney’s Mary Poppins. The one-man show, which tells of real-life heartbreak and his relationship with a father who held a stunning tragi-comic secret, it is the Northcott’s first co-production with acclaimed director Jonathan Church.
Exeter’s favourite panto dame Steve Bennett returns as writer, director and star of the Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, continuing the Northcott tradition of staging traditional home-grown panto for all the family. A special playful, interactive version of Hansel and Gretel by associate company PaddleBoat provides a morning alternative to the main show for early-years families.
Fresh from a record-breaking West End season, the hit The Wipers Times, by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, tells the true and extraordinary story of a satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the First World War.
Dance productions include Jasmin Vardimon’s Medusa, a deconstruction of the famous Greek myth in a visually stunning new work. Trailblazing choreographer Wayne McGregor makes his debut at the Northcott with the startling Autobiography, a grand and bewitching work suffused with body-shaking electronic beats and immersive lighting.
Madagascar the Musical is among the musical offerings, starring X-Factor winner Matt Terry, while Salad Days offers a delightful romp of a show which broke box office records in the 1950s and is credited with inspiring a seven-year-old Cameron Mackintosh.
For younger audiences, Tall Stories brings Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning sequel The Gruffalo’s Child to life in a magical, musical adaptation, while Horrible Histories will be live on stage using actors and ground-breaking 3D special effects to look back in time to the Awful Egyptians and Terrible Tudors.
There are a string of comedy shows including North-east stand-up Chris Ramsay, Australia’s greatest comedy theatre export, Puppetry of the Penis and the Olivier nominated Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel performing their homage to Morecambe and Wise, An Evening of Eric & Ern
English Touring Opera returns with Handel’s story of a royal family in Armenia locked in conflict, Radamisto and a unique triple bill of works by Purcell, Carissimi and Gesualdo.
Paul Jepson, artistic and executive director at Exeter Northcott, said: “The quality and diversity of this autumn programme – in particular the work produced through our associates – shows how far the theatre has come in the past few years.
“Shows from the West End sit very comfortably alongside the uniquely innovative work we have created ourselves.
Paul Jepson, pictured with new artistic and executive director, Daniel Buckroyd
“We are thrilled that Tom has chosen to work so closely with us with his new theatre company, Ara, and cannot wait for the curtain to go up on Don Carlos, a genuine spectacle.
“We hope that our established audience will approve and that this engaging mix of work will also appeal to those who have not visited us before.”
September: Tall Stories brings Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s award-winning sequel The Gruffalo’s Child to life in a magical, musical adaptation. West End hit The Wipers Times, by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, tells the true and extraordinary story of a satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the First World War. A Vision of Elvis starring Rob Kingsley, the internationally renowned Elvis Presley tribute act. Taiko Meantime return with Japanese drums for their Resonance Tour. Olivier nominated Jonty Stephens and Ian Ashpitel performing their homage to Morecambe and Wise, An Evening of Eric & Ern. Wayne McGregor makes his debut at the Northcott with the startling Autobiography, a show based on his genetic code. Horrible Histories will be live on stage using actors and ground-breaking 3D special effects to bring back to life Awful Egyptians and Terrible Tudors.
October: Globetrotting adventurer Benedict Allen brings his Ultimate Explorer show, tracking his latest exploits in Papua New Guinea. BBC Radio’s voice of cricket Jonathan Agnew takes a trip down the wicket and along memory lane with An Evening with Aggers. Jasmine Vardimon unveils Medusa, a visually stunning deconstruction of the famous Greek myth inspired by the sea. The dark arts of juggling are revealed by the award-winning Gandini Juggling with their amazing Smashed, a mesmerising mix of circus and theatre which presents a tea party audiences will never forget. Tom Burke takes time out from appearing as detective Cormoran Strike to play the Marquis of Posa in Don Carlos, the centrepiece of the theatre’s autumn programme. The TV star plays a champion of the oppressed, who questions the iron rule of King Phillip II of Spain and becomes an unlikely power broker in the duplicitous court. Written just two years before the French Revolution, Schiller’s play reveals a man caught at the intersection of passion and politics: smitten by his stepmother and seduced by Posa’s dangerous vision of freedom. The chilling work is full of Shakespearean echoes and its themes of justice and equality; freedom of expression and conscience; religious bigotry and state persecution are as relevant today as ever. Critically acclaimed and award winning stand -up comedian Chris Ramsey presents a date from the Just Happy To Get Out Of The House Tour. Australia’s greatest comedy theatre export, Puppetry of the Penis, celebrates 20 years with its hilarious show. The Chicago Blues Brothers flip-flop into town with a high-octane, musical mash-up which has jump started the legacy of Jake and Elwood for a new generation with its modern twist on the cult classic film. TV film critic Mark Kermode shows his musical side with a rib-tickling journey into his attempts to conquer rock ‘n’ roll.
November: Shakespeare At The Tobacco Factory presents the popular Henry V in a thrilling examination of the nature of power which explores the burden of leadership and explodes the myth of heroism. TV travelling man Neil Oliver tells the Story of the British Isles in 100 places, revealing his aim to make people cherish the natural beauty of Britain. Madagascar the Musical presents a stage version of the animated tale of an unlikely gang of creatures who break out of their zoo home in New York and embark on new adventures across the ocean, starring X-Factor winner Matt Terry. A hilariously camp tale of life before the modern era of girl bands plays out in the comedy-cabaret drag-show homage Bugle Boys: A Salute to the Andrews. English Touring Opera returns with Handel’s story of a royal family in Armenia locked in conflict, Radamisto, and a unique triple bill of works by Purcell, Carissimi and Gesualdo.
December: TV’s harmonious boys in burgundy, Semi-Toned, the University of Exeter’s premier all-male a cappella group, return for a festive extravaganza of song. London Festival Opera are to appear in sumptuous Victorian dress to recreate the glory of days gone by with A Christmas Night at the Opera. The Northcott’s newly-revived tradition of Christmas pantomime continues with Jack and the Beanstalk, a giant of a pantomime in the form of a delightfully old fashioned piece of theatre for the whole family. Resident dame Steve Bennett takes on the writing and directorial duties this year, bringing decades of experience to the show. To complement the panto, a special festive version of Hansel and Gretel by associate company PaddleBoat provides a morning alternative to the main show for the over 3s with relaxed performances.
February: Northcott associate company Metta Theatre follows up the smash-hit street-dance Jungle Book and circus-musical Little Mermaid with In the Willows – The hip-hop musical, a new version of the Kenneth Grahame classic. With epic show tunes and killer beats, this classic story of Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad is brought popping and locking into the twenty first century, featuring fast bikes, fierce moves and fabulous vocals. The Life I Lead sees comedian Miles Jupp relate the remarkable and bittersweet life story of David Tomlinson, who played stiff English gentleman, Mr Banks in Disney’s Mary Poppins.
Diners will be transported back to 1913 and asked to piece together a mysterious death at Paddington station for Murder Mystery – Death of a Suffragette on September 20. The much-loved Peckham market traders, Del, Rodney and Uncle Albert are back for the popular Only Fools and 3 Courses on December 1. Basil, Sybil and Manual prepare a highly-improvised feast of the unexpected in the dining room of TV’s most unpredictable Torquay hotel for Faulty Towers – The Dining Experience on December 20 PLUS see in the new year Mon 31 ‘Spend Christmas and New Year in the Faulty Towers Restaurant.’
Tickets for the Autumn 2018 season are now on sale. Call the Exeter Northcott Theatre box office on 01392 726363 or book your seats online at the Exeter Northcott Theatre website: www.exeternorthcott.co.uk. Alternatively buy in person from Exeter Northcott Theatre, Stocker Road, EX4 4QB