July 2018

27 July 2018

Exeter Northcott Theatre to sell locally-sourced ice cream after Salcombe Dairy sponsorship

The Exeter Northcott Theatre has teamed up with Salcombe Dairy to supply audiences with locally-produced ice cream.

As part of the deal, the South Devon producer has sponsored the theatre’s Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.

Exeter’s favourite panto dame, Steve Bennett, returns in November as writer and director as Dame Trott.

Salcombe Dairy began life in a small, stone-built shed at the bottom of Coronation Road after being founded in 1979.

It now employs 20 people full-time and as many as 50 in the busy summer season, supplying hotels and restaurants across the south of England as well as Wembley Stadium and Singapore Airlines.

Mark Gambrill (left) and Dan Bly

The 460-seat theatre, which was founded in 1967 and is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, sells almost 15,000 ice creams each year.

Supplies of meat, fish and vegetables to the View Restaurant are locally-based and now the Northcott will sell ice cream made in Devon using all the main ingredients from the county.

Salcombe co-owner Dan Bly said theatres produced demand from audiences mostly in the winter, helping keep the business busy all year round.

He added: “We are a Devon company and from our perspective it is vitally important to support local businesses.

“We have been making ice cream from the farm for 40 years – we buy Devon milk and cream and source ingredients as locally as possible.

“We pride ourselves on being a quality brand and the Northcott is an established theatre which is pushing forward.

Mango sorbet

“Working together is great marketing for us – many people already know about us it will expose many more people to our product.”

Mark Gambrill, Exeter Northcott general manager, said the plan was to supply around five flavours, both at the bar and inside the auditorium during the interval.

“It is clear that our audiences support ‘buy local’ and as Devon produces some of the best quality ice cream in the country it seems a perfect match to partner with Salcombe Dairy,” he added.

“By sponsoring Jack & the Beanstalk this Christmas, it will help us grow our audience base as we bring pantomime home to the Northcott Theatre.”


20 July 2018

Write to Play scheme offers opportunity for D/deaf and disabled playwright


  • Sixth year of Graeae’s renowned Write to Play programme to be run in partnership with leading South-West England based organisations Bristol Old Vic, Exeter Northcott Theatre, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Wiltshire Creative, Nuffield Southampton Theatres and Ustinov Studio at Theatre Royal Bath.
  • Applications open to D/deaf and disabled writers based in South-West England from 3 August to 3 September 2018.
  • FREE Taster sessions are being held at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on Tuesday 21 August – sign up here by 17th August


Write to Play is a bold new writing initiative committed to developing the skills and experience of D/deaf and disabled writers.

Over the course of one year, five writers will each write and develop a full-length play through collaboration with some of the most creative minds in the industry.

Paul Jepson, Artistic Director, Exeter Northcott Theatre, said: ‘We are delighted to be working with Graeae and our partner producing theatres in the South West on this excellent programme. We are confident that it will enrich our organisation.’

Applications for year six will open on 3 August 2018, closing on 3 September 2018, open to people who identify as D/deaf and/or disabled living in South West England and with some experience of writing for theatre.

Full details on how to apply can be found on Graeae’s website at www.graeae.org

The first five years of Write to Play have developed the skills of twenty-five playwrights, many of whom have gone on to have work produced professionally. In August 2017, Graeae and the Royal Exchange Theatre produced for the first time a full length play from a Write to Play graduate. Cosmic Scallies by Jackie Hagan (from year 2 of the programme) premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017, followed by a run at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Both runs played to sell-out houses, 4-star reviews and audience acclaim.

Year five of the programme, for D/deaf and disabled writers of colour, is currently in session, in partnership with the Bush Theatre, Soho Theatre, Ovalhouse, Talawa and Tamasha. The writers are Leanna Benjamin, Lettie Precious, Shahid Iqbal Khan, Charlotte Maxwell and Kathryn Golding.

Click here to read more about the other writers and partners from the previous five years of the programme.

The year-long Write to Play programme includes Playwriting 101 (an intensive craft-focused playwriting course), specialist workshops, mentoring sessions and opportunities to have short pieces of work performed in front of an audience. The programme will not only provide the writers with the opportunity to develop their skills, it will also introduce a new generation of D/deaf and disabled playwrights to the wider theatre landscape.

Graeae will announce the successful writers on the sixth year of the programme in late October 2018.

The Write to Play programme (incorporating Play Labs and Play Chats) is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Arts Council England and Backstage Trust.


Graeae is a force of change in world-class theatre – breaking down barriers, challenging preconceptions and boldly placing Deaf and disabled artists centre stage. Artistically led by Jenny Sealey, Graeae’s signature characteristic is the compelling creative integration of sign language and audio description, which engages brilliantly with both disabled and non-disabled audiences. Championing accessibility and providing a platform for new generations of artists, Graeae leads the way in pioneering, trail-blazing theatre. Graeae won the Promotion of Diversity Award at the TMA Theatre Awards UK 2012.  www.graeae.org

Exeter Northcott Theatre is Exeter’s flagship professional theatre and creates, curates and collaborates on a vibrant programme of exceptional performance, championing inclusivity, education, talent and skill development. Recent productions and co-productions include: Dick Whittington, The Comedy of Errors, People, Places & Things, The Railway Children, Dracula: The Bloody Truth, Peter Pan; French Without Tears, This Is My Body, Betrayal and A Christmas Carol. This year the theatre’s new co-commissioning programme with University of Exeter academics, toured a pioneering first production, Beyond My Control – a play about epilepsy and the brain, ahead of international tour plans. Exeter Northcott also runs an Associates Programme, which supports the next generation of up and coming midscale theatre companies, including PaddleBoat, Metta Theatre, Le Navet Bete and Ara. This autumn, the theatre is the lead producer for a major new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos, and in spring 2019 will be co-producing The Life I Lead – a new comedy starring Miles Jupp.

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for people and communities throughout the UK both now and in the future. We do this by funding the charitable work of organisations that are building an inclusive, creative and sustainable society.

The Foundation is one of the largest independent grant-makers in the UK. In 2016 we made grants of £42.4 million towards a wide range of work within the arts, children and young people, the environment and social change. We also have a £45 million allocation to social investments for organisations with the aim of creating social impact. www.esmeefairbairn.org.uk



06 July 2018

Exeter Northcott Theatre to LIVE STREAM stage talk with TV star Tom Burke

The Exeter Northcott Theatre is to live stream an event from the stage for the first time.

Tom Burke, best known as the popular TV detective Cormoran Strike, is appearing in Don Carlos, which opens at the Northcott in October.

Burke and director Gadi Roll, who have launched the new theatre company behind the play, Ara, as an associate of the Northcott, will be joined on stage on July 12 by Professor Gert Vonhof, from the University of Exeter, an expert on the writer, Friedrich Schiller, for a talk about the production and theatre in the 21st Century.

The discussion about the play, its contemporary relevance and why classical theatre still matters in a digital age, will be led by former BBC presenter Judi Spiers, followed by a Q&A.

The talk is free, starts at 6pm on July 12, and will last for around 90 minutes.

The event will be live streamed via the theatre’s You Tube and Facebook channels, a first for a Northcott production.

Burke, who played Athos in BBC’s The Musketeers and Dolokhov in the miniseries War & Peace and is a regular performer on the stage and will explain why he chose Don Carlos as the new company’s debut play.

He plays Rodrigo, Marquis of Posa, in the epic tale of passion and power set against the chilling backdrop of the bloody and ruthless Spanish Inquisition.

He has shed some light on what audiences can expect from Schiller’s chilling work and what kind of vision he and director Gadi Roll will try to bring to the Northcott stage.

Burke says he is not really interested in doing naturalistic staging and instead wanted to create a unique world on stage, warning that theatre must remain “uniquely theatrical” or it may “die as an art form”

The theatre has been looking into the possibility of live webcasts and has chosen this home-produced show and the preview event as a trial.

Artistic and Executive Director Paul Jepson said: “We are extremely excited about Don Carlos and the fact that Tom has chosen to work with us and become an associate of the theatre.

“By live-streaming this talk we hope to tell as many people as possible about a production which though set at the time of the Spanish Inquisition, contains powerful themes relevant to the modern day.”

The actor and director last worked together in 2007 in Don Juan Comes Back from the War, a technically outstanding production praised for its staging and its “soaring requiems, resonant sound effects, torches flaming amid the snow and ice”.

Don Carlos will see a similarly sparse and expansive staging, banks of lights illuminating stand-out scenes between Burke’s revolutionary idealist, Posa, and King Philip II of Spain and the confrontation between the monarch and the Grand Inquisitor.

Don Juan Comes Back from the War

Schiller’s play, last staged by Michael Grandage in 2004, is an historical tragedy but was written 200 years after the Inquisition, just before the French Revolution and is infused with the fervent idealism of the late 18th century.

To book FREE tickets for Spotlight on Don Carlos at 6pm on July 12, call 01392 726 363 or go to www.exeternorthcotttheatre.co.uk

To watch online visit Facebook or You Tube.

04 July 2018

Two new homegrown Associate shows in production after major arts awards of £110,000

Two new theatre productions created in Exeter are set to go ahead after funding of more than £110,000 was awarded.

A brand new comedy version of The Three Musketeers by Le Navet Bete will open at the Northcott next May ahead of a UK tour.

The ingenious physical theatre company, which is based in Exeter and is an associate of the Northcott, was handed £80,000 by the Arts Council to adapt the popular adventure story by Alexandre Dumas.

The show is the latest work from the foursome, famous for Extravaganza, Dick Tracy and Dracula: the Bloody Truth, which has been widely translated.

Now a global hit, the slapstick take on Bram Stoker’s vampire tale has been and licensed worldwide with up-coming performances in the United States, Canada, Greece, Austria, Germany, France and Mexico.

PaddleBoat Theatre, another Northcott associate based in the city, will present a version of the classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel.

The company, which is known for its work with children and won Best Family and Children’s Show at the Brighton Fringe Festival, won a total of £30,000 in funding split between the Ragdoll Foundation and Santander, which contributed £5,000 for a school project.

Hansel & Gretel

The show will run in December around the Christmas pantomime and is aimed at families with young children families or anyone who would appreciate a relaxed, inclusive environment’

Paul Jepson, the Northcott’s artistic and executive director, said: “It’s brilliant that our Associate companies are succeeding in winning these major grants. 

“It is testament to the growing reputation of our organisation as a champion for the best companies in the South West and for the effectiveness of our Associates Programme not only in identifying talent but in supporting it onto the midscale by providing the opportunities, mentorship and skill development that these companies require.”

Stuart Cottrell, literary manager at PaddleBoat, said: ‘We are so excited to be able to offer Exeter families a relaxed, early-years theatre show over the Christmas period.

“The funding we’ve received from the Ragdoll Foundation will allow us to develop Hansel & Gretel in a really exciting way, working alongside children of different ages, needs and abilities in schools along Topsham Road.

“The result will be something truly special that both PaddleBoat and the Northcott hope to continue in the coming years.”

Al Dunn, a co-director of Le Navet Bete, added: “We are thrilled to be awarded £79,993 by Arts Council England to produce and tour a brand new comedy version of The Three Musketeers.

“In co-production with the Exeter Northcott we launch the show at the Northcott in Spring 2019 before embarking on a national tour.

“We have a larger team than ever on this show and it will certainly be our most ambitious piece of work yet.”


Notes to Editors:

*The Ragdoll Foundation was established in 2000 by Anne and Barrie Wood, supported by Ragdoll Productions. It is dedicated to supporting the creation, appreciation and awareness of imaginative and innovative content that reflects the world from a child’s point of view. The Ragdoll Foundation’s Open Grant scheme, launched in February 2016, has been designed to support the cultural sector’s work with children and young people. For further information, please visit http://www.ragdollfoundation.org.uk/ .