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Exeter Northcott Theatre takes next step with new leadership team

Photo of Emma Stephenson, Daniel Buckroyd, and Kelly Johnson outside the Nortcott Theatre

Exeter Northcott Theatre has completed the recruitment of a new leadership team as it sets out a bold vision for the future of performing arts in the city and the wider South West region.

Artistic Director & Chief Executive Daniel Buckroyd has announced the appointment of two highly experienced senior managers as part of a major restructure.

Emma Stephenson joins the team as Finance & Operations Director while Kelly Johnson takes on the role of Marketing & Development Director.

Emma Stephenson has worked in financial and management accounting roles in the music industry and for the last 18 years has held a variety of strategic leadership roles within education.

Since 2004 she has worked at the University of Exeter, initially in student recruitment and widening participation and, more recently, heading up the Doctoral College.

Throughout her career she has been responsible for leading organisational change and creating effective teams to deliver high-profile events and sustained programmes of engagement with a wide variety of audiences.

Emma said:  “I have watched the resurgence of the Northcott with great interest over the last few years and know how strong the theatre’s partnerships are within the city right now. I’m thrilled to be joining the team at such an exciting time.”

Kelly Johnson has more than fifteen years’ experience in arts marketing and development.

She began her career in London as Marketing Manager for Soho Theatre and The Royal Court before working on West End shows for commercial producers.

Since moving to Devon she has worked in senior management roles for companies including Exeter Phoenix, The Bike Shed Theatre and Beaford.

Currently a Trustee for DV8 Physical Theatre, she is also advisor to a number of South West artists and theatre-makers.

Kelly said: “The theatre has a vital role to play in growing Exeter’s reputation as a thriving creative city. I’m thrilled to be joining the team and look forward to connecting more people with excellent cultural opportunities which will impact the South West and beyond.”

Exeter Northcott Theatre, which became a registered charity in 2013 and returned to producing in 2015, has reclaimed its position among the Arts Council’s national portfolio with funding until 2022.

The appointments marks the start of a new era for the theatre, which last year emerged from a three-year strategic plan to reinvigorate the organisation.

This began with the appointment of a new artistic and executive director, Daniel Buckroyd, and a re-organisation of the theatre’s leadership team.

The new team of full-time directors will now lead the arts organisation as it embarks on a new period of growth.

Daniel added:  With the Northcott currently going from strength to strength, we’re delighted to announce the appointment of two highly experienced new senior managers. They will work alongside me in setting out a bold vision for the future of the performing arts in Exeter and the surrounding region.”

Exeter Northcott Theatre

Box Office: 01392 726363


Exeter Northcott Theatre is one of the South West’s leading professional theatres. Founded fifty years ago and located at the heart of the University of Exeter’s campus, the Northcott draws an annual audience in excess of 80,000 from across Exeter, Devon and the wider region with its programme of exceptional live performance and creative learning.

Our programme focuses on creation, the critically-acclaimed theatre we make; curation, the extraordinary touring work we bring to Exeter; and collaboration, the projects we deliver in a range of creative partnerships.

Recent Northcott productions include Harold Pinter’s Betrayal; a new adaptation of A Christmas Carol (with Creative Cow Ltd); and a national tour of The Railway Children (with Nick Brooke Ltd).

Recent Northcott collaborations include: Dracula: The Bloody Truth (with Le Navet Bete); French Without Tears (with English Touring Theatre & Orange Tree Theatre); Little Mermaid (with Metta Theatre); and This Is My Body (with Ten Ten Productions – Anti Slavery Day Award Winner 2015).

Plans for 2019 include The Life I Lead, a new comedy starring Miles Jupp (with Jonathan Church Productions); a new hip hop musical In the Willows (with Metta Theatre); and a new comedy version of The Three Musketeers (with Le Navet Bete).

Alongside our performance programme, we’ve developed a radical interdisciplinary commissioning programme – IMPACT – working with the University of Exeter to explore ways in which theatre can build an audience for world class academic research.

The theatre also runs a range of talent development initiatives, including an Associates Programme, which supports the next generation of theatre companies to successfully transition to the mid-scale.





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