April 2020

27 April 2020

The Time Is Now: Artists Announced

Five projects to connect local communities through creativity

As soon as Exeter Northcott closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we started exploring ways we could support local artists and inspire audiences with creative activity. In addition to a package of support for the Northcott Associate Artists and ongoing digital mentorship to our Early Career Artists and Producers, we put out an open call, The Time Is Now, to any artist in the South West.

Artists across the region were invited to submit ideas for one of five £1,000 commissions. The only requirements were that projects would need to be in a format people could enjoy remotely and that they should consider current challenges about this particular moment in time.

The open call received an excellent response and the five artists have now been selected. Find out more about their exciting projects below.

“It’s been a joy to read the applications for The Time Is Now commissions. Although asking theatre makers to create something digital is quite a different ask, the breadth of responses has shown just how adaptable and creative our community here in the South West is. We hope there is something for everyone to engage with- from watching outdoor circus, to joining in with a virtual choir, we hope you will enjoy the work on offer and join us in experiencing the creativity of tour local artists.”

– Helen Bovey, Exeter Northcott’s Producer of New Work and Talent Development

The Exeter Northcott team will support the artists to develop their commissions over the coming months and audiences can expect opportunities to watch and even participate as the projects unfold. Updates will be shared online on our website and via the Northcott’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. #TheTimeIsNow

Burn the Curtain

Burn the Curtain is a ‘hands-on’, site-specific theatre company in the South West – where audience and performers travel together, work together, and build the performance together. They will create an interactive Exeter-based online game.

Jump Fall Fly

Jump Fall Fly create positive social change through circus, theatre arts, creativity and coaching psychology. For The Time Is Now, they will create a short film about the mind, using theatre, circus and visuals to tell the story.

Scratchworks Theatre Company

Scratchworks Theatre Company are a physical ensemble of three women who work collaboratively to create highly visual, playful theatre from scratch. They will create a podcast with rural communities called Stories from the Sticks.

Thomas Johnson

Thomas Johnson is a composer, musical director and musician. He has composed music for theatre companies and his music has been performed to audiences worldwide. For The Time Is Now, he will make a collaborative online choral anthem entitled When All This Is Over.

Undivided Attention

Undivided Attention, led by Hugh Malyon, are a diverse, young company consisting of a disabled artist, a performer / creative enabler, a live musician and a female technician/performer. They will make a digital installation entitled Hanging Around.

These commissions were inspired by a Corn Exchange Newbury initiative and funded by

24 April 2020

We Miss You. An Emergency Appeal.

We’re missing the laughter, the applause, the theatre bustling with people sharing something special together.

It’s so important that we remain closed right now, but we hope that when the time is right we can open our doors and come together again. We’re going to need those moments more than ever.

In the meantime, we’re doing everything we can to support our local artists and communities whilst trying to keep the Northcott charity going. But, with the vast majority of our income coming from ticket sales, it’s going to be hard to get through this period.

To ensure we can welcome everyone back, we need to ask for help. It’s a tough time for many but, if you can, please consider donating. Your money will go to essential funds and help ensure we’ll share exceptional moments together again soon.

Your support really is appreciated.

Please click here to donate

Stay safe and we hope to see you soon,

The team at Exeter Northcott

24 April 2020

Northcott Futures continues under lockdown

Our Futures Artists and Producers have not been resting on their laurels during this time of crisis. Find out what they’ve been up to.

Back in January, we launched the first round of our Futures Programmes for Early Career Artists and Producers. Both programmes are 6 months long, with the chance for early career artists to develop skills, take part in masterclasses led by established companies and receive mentoring from the Northcott team. We had workshops with Viv Gordon, Wardrobe Ensemble and Rhum and Clay before we found ourselves unable to continue meeting weekly due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Rather early on in the crisis, we decided we would like to continue our regular sessions, so I have been meeting both the Early Career Artists and Producers via Zoom. Although devising theatre is very different with a screen between us, the artists have been sharing writing stimuli with one another, sharing their performances back the following week. Last week’s task was to ‘write a letter to your body, your past self or your future self’. Below you can hear or watch some of the artists’ responses. Perhaps you’d like to write one of your own. Make sure you share it with us on social media if you do!

James Luckraft-Law: Letter to my body

Alexandra Stewart: Letter to my 16-year-old self

Florrie Taylor: Letter to my future self


The Producers have also continued to develop their craft; looking at budgeting and writing contracts, and planning projects for after the lockdown. It’s been great to have a digital space for the groups to still meet and develop their creativity during this time period.

“It’s been a great comfort having the opportunity to remain active as an artist, and remain connected to the group and the theatre during isolation. Theatre as a whole is normally so focused on the physical and ‘live-ness’, it’s inspiring that the industry has seen this as a chance to further embrace digital media and communication.”
– James Law, Early Career Artist

“As a group we’ve had to adapt to and overcome the ever-changing circumstances, but a global pandemic certainly won’t get in the way of our creative productivity. I’m so glad we’ve been able to continue collaborating online as we have become quite close since the course began back in January. We will continue to support each other and use this time to explore different avenues for our creativity.”
– Hannah Baxter-Freeman, Early Career Artist

Early Career Artists – Hannah Baxter-Freeman, Charlotte Evans, James Law, Kane John Mills, Alexandra Stewart, Florrie Taylor.

Producers Programme – Lucy Bell, Robert Guy, Lucy Townsend, Laura Van Wymersch, Lauren Walsh.

17 April 2020

Hyperlocal Commissions Announced

After launching Hyperlocal with our project partners Arts and Culture University of ExeterExeter Phoenix and Kaleider, we have received over 200 submissions from artists across Devon and Cornwall with a huge range of art forms represented, spanning dance, film, installation, animation, graphics, jewellery, painting, sculpture, textiles, performance, print-making, photography, story-telling, poetry, music, and song.

We were so impressed with all applications, once again showcasing the wealth of creative talent across the region, and would like to thank everyone who submitted a proposal.

Find out more about each selected artist and their commission below:

Brendan Barry

A DIY project with a difference. Photographer Brendan Barry has turned his garden shed into a giant pinhole camera, and has documented its transformation. He will be creating a short film about how he did this, including insights into how to develop and fix film using everyday household materials.

Lucy Bell

Writer Lucy Bell is part of our Artist Development Programme Northcott Futures, and is creating a short story that will be recorded as a podcast. Comfort Stop follows a grounded Devon tour guide who, confined to her flat for 12 weeks, begins to express her frustrations to an invisible audience, via guided tours under her couch and through the tin cupboard.

Somin Griffin-Dave

Dual-heritage Sound Artist, Producer and DJ; Somatic (Somin Griffin-Dave) will be delving into the tones and textures of sounds heard in his everyday environment on a macro and micro level and combining them to create a soundscape that reveals a whole new world of sonic possibilities.

Mark Leahy

Echoing the restraints we are all currently having to live by, Writer and Artist Mark Leahy will be creating a series of short poems confined to a square format, which will be shared on his social media. The poems draw on Mark’s readings, news and other text entering his local environment over these uncertain weeks.

The Macbeth-Ripley Family

A family of artists collaborate to create a short vlog-turned-docudrama which will throw light on how the abnormality of life outside seeps into home life. With no new visitors, the family has to manufacture their company; a dinner guest brings humour and familiarity, as well as something of the uncanny, into a profoundly unfamiliar situation.

Ellie Pellowe-Bailey

Illustrator Ellie Pellowe-Bailey is creating a series of sequential illustrations depicting a single person re-navigating their domestic space as if it were a new and exciting world. As mundane objects gain a life of their own these illustrations will throw up questions about our approach to human connections and communication.

Laura Porter

Artist Laura Porter is working with deconstructed clothing items donated by members of her household to create a small series of sculptural works inspired by the surfaces that are subliminally part of our everyday, which have now come under new scrutiny in the new ‘normal’ we are now living in.

Jennie Rawling

The Borrowers meets Honey I Shrunk this Kids in this short playful puppetry performance from Cornish-based puppeteer, actor and writer Jennie Rawling. Explore her immediate domestic environment from the point of view of a 10cm puppet, as they scale giant noticeboards and navigate around prickly houseplants on their way to a first date.

Katie Villa

A glimpse of family life in lockdown from performer, theatre-maker and parent Katie Villa. Inspired by her four-year old’s obsession with destroying piles, this short photographic diary of parenting through a lockdown will see Katie create daily mini installations of piles of things she finds around the house, inspired by her environment and its limitations and pressures.

Jam Collective with oho_co

The hyperlocality in this commission is a Cornish boatyard: a scene of constant adaptation, and home to a motley crew living across 30+ vessels. When a new pay-what-you-feel food-surplus shop opened on-site, members of Jam Collective, a group of artists and craftspeople, began making preserves to share with their neighbours in exchange for food stories. An improvised ‘jam’ of recorded sounds and conversation snippets provides an aural snapshot of this maritime ecology.

07 April 2020

Northcott Connect. What We’re Doing.

Our stage may be silent but we’re continuing to find ways to support theatre-makers and connect with audiences. Here’s what we’re doing:

The Time is Now: Digital Commission

We’ve invited South West-based artists to apply for one of five £1000 commissions to create a piece of work that can be presented in a format that people can enjoy remotely. This call went out to artists working in any art form, with the only requirement being that proposed projects should look to tackle current challenges such as: supporting the most vulnerable in our communities; parents who have to home school their children; the importance of keeping socially connected; advocating for the arts as an essential part of society; and celebrating key workers.

Find out more about the 5 The Time Is Now projects here.

Hyperlocal Commission

We have also partnered with other organisations in the city to offer 10 micro-commissions for free-lance artists based in Devon and Cornwall. Hyperlocal invites artists to explore the hyperlocal of their immediate domestic environment. Deadline: 7 April, 5pm. More info can be found here.

Associate Artists

Our Associate Artists are having to rethink all of their projects and we’ll support them throughout this period, offering some financial relief and ongoing mentoring. Richard Chappell, Jack Dean and Viv Gordon have each been developing extraordinary projects that we will continue to champion. Find out more about our Associate Artists here.

Early Career Artists & Producers

Our support for Early Career Artists and Producers through the Exeter Northcott Futures programme continues with regular digital hang-outs and be-spoke support, and these groups hope to reconvene to host a first Scratch Night in November.

Theatre at Home

Some of the shows that were due to come to our theatre have been recorded and are now available to view from home. We’ll continue to share these opportunities, as well as other streaming options from our friends and partners on our social media channels. Streamed shows that were due to come to the Northcott include: The Habit of Artnow available at Original Online, and BalletBoyz’s Deluxe, available as part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine programme.

Exeter Community Wellbeing Initiative

We’ll support this new initiative to provide practical help and support for local people during this time. Keep an eye on our website and social media for the latest news and opportunities.

Theatre Quiz

We’ve been running a regular theatre quiz to help us keep in touch with our team of wonderful volunteers, and we’re now planning to move this online in the near future. Brush up on your theatre knowledge and get ready of an online meet up and Theatre Quiz coming soon!

06 April 2020

The Time is Now – Artist Commission

We’re calling out to artists with an exciting commissioning opportunity to help connect communities through the power of the arts.

On 17 March, Exeter Northcott Theatre, along with many theatres across the country, closed its doors to the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we’re not currently able to offer our usual programme of live performances and participation opportunities, we’ve been exploring other ways that we can help the communities we serve to engage in creative activity.

As part of this, we’ve decided to offer South West-based artists the chance apply for one of five £1000 commissions to create a piece of work that can be presented in a format that people can enjoy remotely. This call goes out to artists working in any art form, with the only requirement being that proposed projects should look to tackle current challenges such as: supporting the most vulnerable in our communities; parents who have to home school their children; the importance of keeping socially connected; advocating for the arts as an essential part of society; and celebrating key workers.

Daniel Buckroyd, Artistic Director of Exeter Northcott Theatre, says:

‘We recognise just how important the Northcott is as a space for people to come together and share creative and cultural experiences here in Devon. With our doors temporarily closed by this crisis, we’ve decided to support local artists, to reach out to local communities and to explore new ways of bringing people together.’

To allow us to promote and share this work as widely as possible, projects will need to be either entirely digital or have elements which are digital. Selected artists will be supported remotely by our team to deliver the technical, marketing, participatory and audience engagement elements of their project.

Things you must consider:

  • Accessibility
  • Diversity

Things you might consider:

  • Protecting the most vulnerable in our communities
  • Supporting parents to home school their children
  • Keeping socially connected
  • Advocating for the arts as an essential part of society
  • Celebrating key workers


The time is now! We’re hoping that you’ll have ideas that mean you can be engaging with people as soon as possible, and we’re here to help you do that. But we know that the very best ideas can sometimes take a bit longer to realise, so we want you tell us what you want to make and how long you think that’ll take, and we’ll be here to support the commissioned artists to find ways to connect with our audiences throughout their projects.

What next?

Send us your pitch! This could be a written application, a video or a combination of both. Aim to cover the following points, so that we understand:

  • Your idea
  • Your audience/s
  • How you will make it happen
  • Who will be involved (artists and participants)
  • How it will be inclusive and diverse
  • How it will be shared and reach people
  • When it will happen

Proposals should be no longer than one side of A4 and/or 5 mins of video and should be sent to creative@exeternorthcott.co.uk to arrive no later than 17 April at 12 noon.

We will announce commissioned artists on Mon 27th April.

Please feel free to get in touch for a chat about your ideas ahead of submission – contact Helen Bovey on h.bovey@exeter.ac.uk.

These commissions are offered as part of our Exeter Northcott Futures programme, through which we will also continue to support our three Associates (Richard Chappell, Jack Dean, and Viv Gordon) through this crisis and work with our 2020 cohort of Early Career Artists and Producers.

Exeter Northcott Futures – funded by the Noel Coward Foundation, the Mackintosh Foundation and Idlewild Trust – offers professional development for artists at the start of their careers, support for regionally-based companies at a critical moment in their development and a launch pad for the next generation of producers.

These commissions were inspired by a Corn Exchange Newbury initiative.

01 April 2020

Exeter Community Wellbeing initiative aims to help those in need during coronavirus outbreak

Exeter City Council and Wellbeing Exeter are working together to provide practical help and support for local people to help them through the coronavirus outbreak, including the launch of a new £1 million Community Action Fund.

Exeter Community Wellbeing

Together, they have set up Exeter Community Wellbeing to assist individuals and community groups in helping and supporting each other during this challenging time. The hope is that Exeter Community Wellbeing will nurture the already blossoming examples of people coming together in their communities to help those who need it most.

Through online and telephone hotlines, Exeter Community Wellbeing is gathering information from people and organisations who want to offer their help and support to the community response. They will then share this with individuals who need information about the support on offer in a light touch “matching” service, linking people who need help with local people and groups.

How you can help

Please contact them using the forms on their website, or on 01392 265000 (Mon-Fri 09.00-17.00, Sat-Sun 09.00-12.00), if you are:

  • An individual, community group or network who would like to offer activities or support
  • A community group supporting people in relation to Coronavirus and would like information, advice, resources or funding
  • A community organisation offering staffing or other resources
  • An individual, family, organisation or company offering help and resources
  • A resident who would like practical support because you are self-isolating because of Coronavirus
  • Caring for, or are aware of someone, who would benefit from practical support because of Coronavirus

Exeter Covid-19 Community Action Fund

In addition to this, as part of the Exeter Community Wellbeing initiative, Exeter City Council have also launched a Community Action Fund, offering grant support for community groups and organisations to work on local projects to support those people and communities most affected by the pandemic.

The fund is supported by the Exeter Chiefs Foundation and will support groups and organisations with a one-off grant of up to £1,000 to support projects for community led activities, such as providing supplies for food banks or covering transport costs for getting vital supplies to people isolated at home.

The fund can also be used for a one off grant of up to £3,000 to help existing community organisations that are facing a shortfall in income due to cancellations, and require immediate, short term funding to keep essential services running.

Find out how to apply for funding here.