Exeter’s Northcott Theatre is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a charity gala on Sunday 12th November, featuring a range of performances from some stand-out names. Officially launching the celebrations, actors such as Ruby Bentall, Bertie Carvel, and Alex Kingston will take part in the gala in order to raise funds in to strengthen the theatre’s foundations.
Opening on the 2nd November 1967 with a production of The Merchant of Venice, the Northcott brought theatre back to the area following the demolishing of Exeter’s Theatre Royal in 1962. Aiming to serve the needs of the local community, local businessman George Northcott established a trust of over £100,000 to build the ‘Northcott Devon Theatre and Arts Centre’ on the Streatham campus.
Throughout its history, the theatre has played an important role in maintaining Exeter’s theatrical scene, as well as launching the careers of well-known television and film performers including Celia Imrie, Imelda Staunton, and David Suchet.
Nowadays, the theatre is still thriving. As well as providing great access to theatre for students, the Northcott also provides entertainment for the rest of Exeter and beyond. Now under the artistic direction of Paul Jepson, the theatre has become a new model regional theatre, providing a hub of varied and entertaining shows. As well as welcoming touring shows, the theatre has also been focusing on its own productions, with recent shows such as The Comedy of Errors and The Railway Children proving popular. As well as this the theatre has also engaged and created a range of innovative projects, including the radical interdisciplinary programme IMPACT, a partnership with the University of Exeter, and the Associates Programme, which supports up and coming theatre companies.
Paul Jepson, current artistic and executive director, is confident that the Northcott is heading in the right direction,
“The Northcott has got its mojo back. Our National Tour of The Railway Children has received rave reviews, we’ve just co-produced the tour of People Places & Things with Headlong, the National and Home, we’ve had first visits from great leading edge companies like Complicite & Gecko, we’ve gone back to Summer Shakespeare with our Graduate Company… Attendance is up – significantly and our audiences are becoming more diverse.”
Tickets for the gala are on sale now and can be bought online at www.exeternorthcott.co.ukor through the theatre’s Box Office on 01392 726363.