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.

National Lottery Heritage Fund logo: (Left) a hand with crossed fingers. (Right) Text reads: 'Made possible with Heritage Fund'.    University of Exeter Logo

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
A photo of the Northcott's mural by Dave Bain

Northcott Memories – Stories from our Archive

Theatre Stories

Listen to Stories

Northcott Young Company: Past, Present and Future Voices

Watch, listen, explore

Reports and Resources

Northcott Heritage Report by Louisa Adjoa Parker and Latifah Wallace

Read the Report

Schools Resources

Learn More

Meet Our Heritage Interns

Watch The Interview

Panel Discussions Inspired by Our Archive

The Impact of Women

Find out more & Re-watch

Diversity and Representation

Find out more & Re-watch

Theatres Produce Memories

Find Out More & Re-Watch

Accessibility and the Theatre

Find Out More & Re-Watch

The Role of Regional Theatre

Find Out More & Re-Watch

The Future of Theatre

Find Out More & Re-Watch

Explore Our Archive


Discover previously unseen photos, posters, programmes and much more from our archive.

Northcott Digital Archive
Photoset from The Merchant of Venice, November 1967
© Nicholas Toyne

Key Statistics from our heritage project

Support Us

Become a Member

Support our work and enjoy exclusive benefits.

Join Today

Make an Impact and Donate

Donate and help us make projects with young people, artists and communities happen.

Read more

a seat

Adopt your very own seat at the Exeter Northcott and help secure a bright future for the theatre.

Find out more