Two years ago, we set out to explore our archive and discover more about the people who made the Northcott what it is today as well as spark conversations about the contemporary role of theatre.
We worked closely with heritage interns at the University of Exeter’s Special Collections department to identify items from the archive, such as photographs, programmes and posters, that resonated with current themes, including accessibility, diversity and representation in theatre.
You can look through the items we discovered through the digital archive link below.
We then used these items as a springboard for a series of artistic commissions and online talks, culminating last May in The Stories We Tell, a one-day festival featuring heritage-themed activities, interactive exhibitions and promenade performances throughout the Northcott. Check out some of the festival highlights below.
Our heritage project was supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and the University of Exeter.
Northcott Digital Archive
Creative Commissions inspired by our Archive
Liberty Smith – An Antidote to Invisibility
An Antidote To Invisibility was an artwork exploring ideas of theatre and archiving through the lens of representation. The piece used discussion, crafting and an opportunity for metamorphosis into a chosen character to spark ideas for the future of theatre – and whose voices are heard in it.
The central part of the exhibition – a film – was screened within an interactive model theatre accompanied by a pair of large portrait photographs on either side. They stood as guardians of the film.Watch Interview with Liberty Smith
Hannah Kumari – The Places We’ve Been
Taking in parts of the Northcott that audiences wouldn’t normally see, The Places We’ve Been was a promenade performance piece that explored the stories which have been told in the past and asks how we can better serve all members of our community in the future.Watch Interview with Hannah Kumari
Dave Bain – Mural
Items from our archive inspired South West-based artist Dave Bain to create a 30m-long mural in our foyer referencing some of the people from our past who made the Northcott what it is today (including, of course, the Northcott’s resident cat, Sox!).
Before each performance, a multimedia installation interacts with the mural, projecting photos and playing sound recordings from our archive.Creating The Mural
Northcott Memories – Stories from our Archive
Northcott Young Company: Past, Present and Future Voices
Reports and Resources
Northcott Heritage Report by Louisa Adjoa Parker and Latifah Wallace
Meet Our Heritage Interns
Panel Discussions Inspired by Our Archive
The Impact of Women
Diversity and Representation
Theatres Produce Memories
Accessibility and the Theatre
The Role of Regional Theatre
The Future of Theatre
Explore Our Archive
Discover previously unseen photos, posters, programmes and much more from our archive.Northcott Digital Archive
Key Statistics from our heritage project