Exeter Northcott Theatre Heritage logo - Theatres Produce Memories: a look at the Northcott’s impression on its community. A panel discussion with Janet Gale, Mike Reddaway and Penny Mindelsohn

Theatres Produce Memories

A look at the Northcott’s impression on its community

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Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event has been postponed and will now be taking place on Wednesday 14th July at 6pm. Ticket holders will be contacted directly by our Box Office team. 

Since the Northcott opened its doors in 1967, it has seen generations of theatre goers and theatre makers come and go. In that time the theatre has played a significant role in the lives of its community, its staff and the artists who were connected to its hundreds of productions and projects.

In this panel discussion we’ll be exploring the power of memory, the impact the theatre had on the professional careers and lives of its local community, and the upheavals it has undergone in its journey to become a ‘theatre for everyone’.

Key questions and ideas for this discussion will be an exploration of the large scale, high profile events that the theatre has been known for over the years, including the Shakespeare in the Gardens productions, the annual Christmas pantomime and its community productions.

We’ll be looking at those who developed their careers at the Northcott – but not just the famous names, also the unsung heroes such as Maurice Marshal’s long standing and highly respected technical theatre apprenticeship scheme.

Finally, we’ll be inviting the audience to share their memories and experiences of the theatre – how have the changes undergone by the theatre been perceived by the local community and how does the theatre need to change once again to better serve the people of Exeter and Devon?

The Memory Tree - Green and white note cards on a cut-out tree frame

Janet Gale

Janet Gale is a key member of Exeter Local History Society and Exeter Memories, and worked at the Northcott for over 20 years:

“I started working at the Northcott Theatre for one month in 1987 through an agency, the theatre was about to become the first house to show a play starring Ron Moody, called Sherlock Holmes. A play written by Leslie Bricasse (excuse spelling), so busy writing the script right up to the day the show opened.  

Management asked me to take two weeks leave, and then come back and work for them full time. This I did, and then stayed until the theatre closed and redundancies were handed out to all, (I believe 2009?).

I did all sorts of jobs whilst at the Northcott, but my main job was Secretary to the Production Manager, Mike Reddaway with anything clerical that needed doing. Contacting stage designers, painters, actors, setting up casting days, finding accommodation for the actors and making sure they are happy. Never two days the same and always something to laugh at/with.

I also used to set up contracts with outside venues that wanted the Northcott Box Office to sell tickets for their event, from the BSO to craft fairs.

So miss all my friends and co-workers, but so glad to have been part of a team that brought so much joy to the Community I would not have missed a day of it. We are still in contact. You can never put a good theatre team down.

I did have another job after this in Security Compliancy, I retired about 3 years ago now, but have taken on more work than ever with the community, Trustee, Chair and Director.”

Image of Mike Reddaway

Mike Reddaway

Mike Reddaway was Production Manager at the Northcott from 1983 to 2010 over-seeing all technical aspects of more than 500 productions. He now works freelance as a scenery designer & maker and stage manager. His work includes the pantomimes at Exeter Corn Exchange, productions with stage schools & small festivals and with Exeter College Drama Department.

The Memory Tree - Green and white note cards on a cut-out tree frame

Penny Mindelsohn

Penny Mindelsohn trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama before founding and running the first Israeli Youth Theatre. Penny was invited by the Northcott’s first Artistic Director Tony Church to found the ‘Exeter Northcott Youth Theatre’ working with young people in Exeter. Penny went onto become member of the Devon County Drama Staff team, touring productions to schools and became a senior examiner in Drama for GCSE and A Level examination boards.

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