Our beautifully designed stage and auditorium works exceptionally well for all types of theatre and dance and is loved by audiences and artists. We offer a range of high quality touring drama from new and established companies covering the entire spectrum of theatre by offering new writing, classic plays, mask theatre and devised/experimental work. We have also developed a strong, enthusiastic dance programme and in recent years have made a return to producing our own work.
The theatre opened in 1967 and has a rich history of developing new writing and nurturing artists at the beginning of their careers. An array of new writing has been premiered at the theatre over the decades; from the first public performances of Edward Bond’s Bingo in 1973 through Howard Barker’s BLOK/EKO in 2011 to Dawn King’s Ciphers in 2013, Exeter audiences have enjoyed the opportunity to be in at the beginning of exciting new works and careers.
Since 2015, under the artistic direction of Paul Jepson, we have steadily been increasing our producing arm. Recent productions and co-productions include: Dick Whittington; People, Places & Things (Headlong, NT, Home & Exeter Northcott); The Railway Children (Exeter Northcott and Nick Brooke Ltd co-production (National Tour ); The Comedy of Errors (outdoor Shakespeare South West Tour Summer 2017); Dracula: The Bloody Truth (Le Navet Bete in association with Exeter Northcott); J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan; French Without Tears (Exeter Northcott, English Touring Theatre and Orange Tree Theatre co-production); This Is My Body (Exeter Northcott and Ten Ten Productions – Anti Slavery Day Media Award Winner 2015); Harold Pinter’s Betrayal; A Christmas Carol (Exeter Northcott and Creative Cow co-production).
This has allowed the theatre to develop a radical interdisciplinary commissioning programme – IMPACT. In March 2017 we successfully piloted, Beyond My Control, an interactive performance about epilepsy, presented as part of its IMPACT Programme in partnership with the University of Exeter, using the medium of performance to facilitate public engagement for the University’s world class research.
We also run an Associates Programme, which supports the next generation of theatre companies to successfully transition to the midscale. Current members comprise PaddleBoat Theatre Company, Metta Theatre and Le Navet Bete.
This year sees the addition of a fourth partner when Ara, the newly formed company led by stage and TV star Tom Burke, premieres Don Carlos, what is hoped to be the first of many heavyweight classical dramas.
The associate programme, which was designed to support young companies with a strong local connection into the midscale, provides artistic mentorship, production management support, tour booking, education support, marketing and sales planning and support with bid writing.
It has already led to a string of unique productions since its launch in 2016.
The award-winning Le Navet Bête are an Exeter-based troupe of clowns whose high energy, spectacular and hilarious shows have wowed audiences globally.
They have staged Dick Tracey at the Northtcott and opened Dracula: The Bloody Truth, a riotous show which went on a national tour and is now licensed worldwide.
A new adaptation of the Three Muskateers is currently being commissioned as a coproduction with the theatre and is set to open in 2019.
The inventive and ground-breaking Metta have also made an impact, fusing street-dance, skateboards and rap to bring an acclaimed version of Kipling’s Jungle Book to the Northcott in 2016.
The innovative company then added a 21st century twist to another children’s classic in April 2018 with a circus version of Little Mermaid, which casts a strong female lead and a handsome prince in touch with his feminine side.
A forthcoming adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows takes the riverbank to the ‘hood in 2019 with the radical In the Willows – The Hip-Hop Musical, a co-production with the Northcott.
The imaginative children’s theatre company, Paddleboat – a key player in the theatre’s education and outreach programme – stage its delightful tale of imaginary friendship, Margo and Mr Whatsit, in May 2018.
A new and immersive co-production of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Hansel and Gretel is in co-production to be performed for young children around the Christmas pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk.
We actively work alongside other venues in Exeter in terms of programming and audience development, to maximise opportunities for audiences to access the highest quality performing arts throughout the city, and have been part of the Exetreme Imagination Children’s Literature Festival, Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival and the UK Taiko Festival.
We are confident that our ever increasing and broadening audiences will always find something to enjoy and, as ever, we look forward to welcoming you to the Exeter Northcott Theatre and sharing our passion for live performance and hospitality with you.