Exeter Northcott Theatre is delighted to announce a packed 2018 spring and summer season with tickets now on sale for more than 50 new shows.
As a year of 50th anniversary celebrations begin, a diverse programme puts classical drama, new writing and modern adaptations alongside dance, opera, musicals and comedy.
One of the highlights of next year’s season is a first visit from Cornwall’s Kneehigh Theatre with its acclaimed The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk.
The production follows artist Marc Chagall and wife Bella through a war-torn 20th-century Europe, reflecting the artist’s work from the stage with music and dance in the Russian Jewish tradition.
There is an extraordinary new circus adaptation of the Little Mermaid by our associate company Metta, who were behind the smash hit Jungle Book, with awe-inspiring acrobatics and spellbinding original songs.
Following a successful pilot, Beyond My Control returns ahead of a national tour. Science meets theatre in this interactive performance about epilepsy, excitability and all things neurological. Developed in association with the University of Exeter, this work forms part of the theatre’s IMPACT strand of work – leading edge performance on subjects where University of Exeter research is world leading.
John Godber’s award winning comedy about a hopeless pub rugby team, Up ’n’ Under, is given a unique spin by visual physical theatre company fingersmiths’ with a cast of deaf and hearing actors using British Sign Language and spoken English.
The extraordinary Vamos Theatre brings its trademark, wordless, full mask style to A Brave Face, which is set in the Afghanistan war and explores post-traumatic stress and the impact it can have on even the closest of families.
Innovative dance productions include a striking adaptation of Macbeth by the Mark Bruce Company, new works by the Richard Alston Dance Company, a double bill by Ballet Black and the return of Northern Ballet and Ballet Central.
Lionel Bart’s Oliver! is among the musical offerings alongside Sasha Regan’s all male Iolanthe and a production of Flashdance, starring Strictly Come Dancing Champion Joanne Clifton and A1 heart-throb Ben Adams.
For younger audiences there is puppetry and music in Theatre Alibi’s The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon, Birmingham Stage Company’s world premiere production of David Walliams’ Awful Auntie and an imaginative retelling of Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale.
Drama offerings include Filter Theatre’s riotous production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a new staging of Dickens’ Great Expectations, with Nicola McAuliffe and West End hit The Wipers Times, by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, tells the true and extraordinary story of a satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the First World War.
A company of ex-soldiers bonds as a theatrical band of brothers in the heart-warming story about surviving the forces and PTSD, Soldier On – a play within a play written by Soldier, Soldier and London’s Burning actor Jonathan Guy Lewis.
There are a string of comedy shows including Stewart Lee, David Baddiel, Richard Herring and cherished raconteur and cricket lovers’ favourite, Henry Blofeld.
English Touring Opera return with a new staging of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and a revival of their critically acclaimed 2011 Puccini double bill, il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi.
Also, just announced for sale and opening in October is a major new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos starring Tom Burke as the Marquis of Posa. This great romantic drama forms the centrepiece of the theatre’s 50th anniversary year, which is supported by patron Dame Judi Dench.
Paul Jepson, artistic and executive director at Exeter Northcott, said: “I really hope people are as excited as I am about what we have put together for next year.
“Our programme is now not only of incredibly high quality it is also extraordinarily diverse – whether it is what we’ve made, what our associate companies have made or what our partners have made.
“I want people to look at the programme and think ‘wow, I’ve really got to see that’ because we try to put audience enjoyment at the heart of everything.”
January: Exeter University Theatre Company kicks off 2018 with teenage mayhem and ultra-violence in a version of A Clockwork Orange, the Anthony Burgess book and Stanley Kubrick film. Exeter Footlights presents Singin’ in the Rain, with unforgettable scenes such as the title track, immortalised by Gene Kelly in the classic MGM film. The University’s Gilbert and Sullivan Society also celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with a satirical look at the British class system in of the duo’s most popular works, The Mikado.
February: Science meets theatre in the Exeter Northcott Theatre production about epilepsy and all things neurological, Beyond My Control. The unique collaboration with academics at Exeter University opened at the theatre in March this year and begins a national tour. The magnificent career one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, Nina Simone, is told in song and story by actress Josette Bushell-Mingo and her backing band. The region’s best home-grown contemporary dance is given a platform to present a vibrant showcase of diverse events Watch This Space taking place by Dance in Devon followed by a post-show discussion. Dizzying tales from the 40-year climbing career of Andy Kirkpatrick are told in the brand new show, Psychovertical: A Higher Education. The Swedish pop giants of the 1970s are brought back to the stage by ABBA – Forever, one of the UK’s leading international tribute shows. The best a cappella singers in the region battle for a place in the Broadway finals in New York at the ICCA South West Quarter Final. Original live music and puppetry bring to life a magical tale of big ideas and sky-high courage in The Boy Who Climbed Into The Moon. A company of ex-soldiers bonds as a theatrical band of brothers in the heart-warming story about surviving the forces and PTSD, Soldier On.
March: Parents and children are invited to an adventure through prehistory as Ben Garrod uses BBC footage to present So You Think You Know About Dinosaurs! Deadpan humour and meandering monologes will be delivered by hilariously embittered stand-up comedian Stewart Lee in Content Provider, his first new full-length show since the award-winning Carpet Remnant World. Evocative piano backs some of the world’s finest dancers as the Richard Alston Dance Company presents a new work, Carnaval, and quickens the pace with the revival for the first time in a decade of an old favourite, Gypsy Mixture. Exeter’s velvet-voiced boys in burgundy, Semi-Toned, return, fresh from TV success with their biggest show yet with modern hits and golden oldies. The award-winning West End producers of Gangsta Granny will stage David Walliams’ amazing tale of frights, fights and friendship in Awful Auntie. An extraordinary exploration of soldiers and post-traumatic stress comes via the wordless, full mask performance. A Brave Face, inspired by the soaring rates of suicide among veterans and set in the Afghanistan war. Step back into the world of US soul as the explosive Magic of Motown show racks up 40 back-to-back classic hits from the record label that changed history. A hopeless pub rugby team struggle to get ready to take on the local champions in the award-winning comedy Up ’n’ Under, given a unique spin by visual physical theatre company fingersmiths’ with a cast of deaf and hearing actors. A new look at one of the country’s greatest female authors comes with Lucy Worsley: Jane Austin at Home. Ahead of the publication of her new book on the writer, the royal expert and TV presenter dispels the myth of the cynical, lonely spinster in favour of a witty and passionate woman of her time.
April: Exeter Musical Society presents Lionel Bart’s Oliver! as the popular production celebrates its 50th anniversary. Science’s most volatile live show brings a stage version of the weird and wonderful TV show Braniac Live! Kneehigh theatre in Cornwall visits for the first time with the epic tale of the journey through war-torn Europe of artist Marc Chagall and his wife in The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk. One of the world’s finest chamber orchestras The English Concert brings a collection of works from Baroque masters including Bach and Purcell. Inspirational ideas and an exceptional line-up of speakers will return for a seventh year in TEDx talks. Comic Richard Herring confronts mid-life crisis in his stand-up show Oh Frig I’m 50 while cherished national treasure and cricketing raconteur Henry Bloefeld stops off with an armful of anecdotes from on and off the pitch. Undersea adventures are given the high-wire treatment in an extraordinary new adaptation of the Little Mermaid by our associate company Metta, following up on their smash hit Jungle Book with acrobatic storytelling.
May: Movement maps out naked ambition, the ruthless pursuit of power and a tragic descent into murder and madness in a striking dance theatre adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth by the Mark Bruce Company. Sleeping Beauty gets a teenage glam makeover as Exeter touring company Jammy Voo team up with Rhum and Clay, blending theatre, puppetry and 80s pop in The Sleeper – A Teenage Fairy Tale. Audience participation should make a memorable celebration of Disney’s brand new adaption of the classic fairytale in Sing-a-long-a Beauty and the Beast with dance moves and props on hand. Encore Dance Company, from Tring Park School for the Performing Arts, return with an exciting programme of mixed dance genres. A reinterpretation of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays sets the classic tale of young lovers and riotous fairies to original live music in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wordsmith Roger McGough and LiTTle MACHiNe present an evening of classic poetry delivered with passion and humour and set to music. A compelling journey through three generations of songwriting charts a century of popular songs from from a multi-talented family including classics such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Mary Poppins in the delightful Spoonful of Sherman. Eccentric tales from a TV and music hall star takes the audience on a journey through a very personal collection of video tapes in Count Arthur Strong is Alive and Unplugged. Three’s a crowd as imaginary friends collide in Paddleboat Theatre’s Margo & Mr Whatsit, a lively tale told through mime, puppetry, music and clowning. A new production of Mozart’s classic The Marriage of Figaro is staged by English Touring Opera as well as two one-act operas by Puccini. Three up-and-coming young dancers perform works from world-renowned choreographers including a Gothic reworking of the Fairies Prologue from Sleeping Beauty and a timeless version of Cinderella in Ballet Central. Flashdance the Musical tells the story of a welder who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, starring 2011 Strictly Come Dancing champion Joanne Clifton and A1 heart-throb Ben Adams.
June: Gilbert and Sullivan’s topsy turvy love story of fairies and the House of Lords Iolanthe promises a barmy night out. Veteran double act Barry Cryer and Colin Sell celebrate simply being alive as the Ant and Dec of the Sanatogen set in Strictly Come Joking. Comedian David Baddiel brings his critically-acclaimed West End hit My Family: Not the Sitcom with tales of ageing, infidelity and dysfunctional relatives. A balletic retelling of Hans Christian Anderson’s famous fairytale The Ugly Duckling returns to the stage for the first time since 2013. A powerful new adaptation of Dickens’ timeless classic Great Expectations is led by Olivier award-winning actress Nichola McAuliffe as the mysterious Miss Haversham. Artistic director Cassa Pancho leads the company Ballet Black in a double bill featuring a South African fable and setting Shakespearian comedy to a soundtrack that includes Eartha Kitt and Barbra Streisand. Doctor Who is put on trial in hilarious romp across 54 years of time travel in a one-man show by his greatest fan as Australian comic Rob Lloyd presents WHO, Me.
July: A heart-warming children’s tale of friendship and adventure for four-year-olds and above brings music and laughs in an imaginative adaptation of The Snail and the Whale by Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson.
September: The true and extraordinary story of a satirical newspaper created in the mud and mayhem of the First World War is told in the West End hit The Wipers Times, by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman.
October: The centrepiece of the 50th anniversary year is a major new revival of Schiller’s Don Carlos with Tom Burke leading the company as the passionate son and heir to the tyrannical Philip II of Spain. Written just two years before the French Revolution, the play tackles themes of justice, equality, freedom of expression and conscience, religious bigotry and state persecution and is as relevant today as ever.
Exeter Northcott and Moonstone Theatre Company present Moonstone and A Midsummer Night’s Murder, two delicious evenings of Murder Mystery on March 3 and on June 30. The first mystery unravels at a party thrown by a successful jeweller while the summer intrigue comes amid rehearsals for Shakespeare’s famous comedy and is set in 1935. Both events include a meal in The View Restaurant. Also, join us in the Exeter Northcott bar on March 2 as Marlene and Boycie host a gala dinner, only to find Del, Rodney and Uncle Albert among the guests in Only Fools and Three Courses. Uninvited guests and out-of-control relatives serve up an unbeatable theatrical dining experience in The Wedding Reception on March 17.
And finally, Panto makes a welcome return next week with a new production of Dick Whittington by one of the country’s leading pantomime directors, Tony Lidington, starring Exeter’s favourite Steve Bennett as Dame Sarah Suet.
Tickets for the spring/summer 2018 season are now on sale. Call the Exeter Northcott Theatre box office on 01392 726363 or book your seats online at the Exeter Northcott Theatre website: www.exeternorthcott.co.uk. Alternatively buy in person from Exeter Northcott Theatre, Stocker Road, EX4 4QB