Northcott Heritage Report

We commissioned Louisa Adjoa Parker and Latifah Wallace to explore the voices and representation of ethnically diverse people in our archives and in our theatre’s history. As part of a wider piece of inclusion work we are undertaking, they created a report so that we can learn from the past and become more inclusive in the present and future.

Questions that have been asked throughout our heritage project project include:

Whose stories have been told? Who is telling them? And where are the gaps? 
The theatre’s archive reveals some attempts at telling stories about people with diverse heritages – as well as attempts to address the lack of representation of arts practitioners and communities with diverse heritages including African diaspora people, South, East and South East Asian diaspora people, and recent immigrants to Exeter and Devon.

How have these stories been told and presented? Who is the voice behind the communication and promotion of these works and what role do they have in the way ethnically diverse people’s stories are told? 
The way the theatre’s programme is shared and received is documented in detail in the archive through material such as press cuttings, which provide an insight into the viewpoints and interpretations that have been promoted historically.

How do we present and showcase difficult parts of history? Where is the line between cultural appreciation and cultural appropriation? And can theatre entertainment be effective as education/activism?
The role of theatre in addressing diversity and inclusion has also been acknowledged but is generally low on the agenda.

How does some of the material in the archives link with themes/concerns today? And how can we equip researchers and audiences moving forward to create positive change?

If you would like to access the report, please email us. Please be aware that this document contains images and examples of historic racism and racial slurs which may be distressing, especially for those with lived experience of racism. Content warnings are provided throughout the report.

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