Northcott - why is the programming so bitty and unsatisfactory

Jill Lamede, 4 September 2012

A productive and sometimes heated debate!

It was different 13 years ago - more like a rep theatre with lots of in-house productions of Aykbourne etc.
Now: problems “in the grip of ACE”
Full house when ETO and ETT etc are here - but less for edgier productions.

Could it be more like Salisbury Playhouse with its main house and studio?
“Not sure if I would come to see ‘Medea’”
Salisbury hasmore in-house productions - and lots in the programme I would want to see.
But Salisbury is not like Exeter.
Variety is good - it is important to ring the changes. Audiences have less money. Committed teatre-goers are still attending but others are picking and choosing. People don't feel Northcott is “our theatre” anymore.
“ACE use Northcott for their productions.”
Salisbury has an artistic director.
Different people want different things.
If the programming is right you can get full houses more often.
There is good children's theatre at the Northcott.
Familiarity is developing with a number of companies - eg ETT, Alibi, Footsbarn etc. Northcott is talking about bringing in associate artists.

Northcott's funding is secured for 3 years and hopefully will be more secure after that. Then they can concentrate on being creative.
“Why can't you go back to how things used to be?”
“Much less funding!”

“Is it easier to park at Salisbury?”
“Parking problems now solved at Northcott!”
“Northcott can send a parking permit with your ticket if you want to arrive during charging hours”
Northcott image caught up with university.
Average Northcott audience higher than other regional theatres - and still growing. Audiences for Footsbarn coming up from Cornwall.
Reduced funding means reduced staffing for Northcott.
Could city and uni provide more funding?
Relationship with uni is improving.
Who defines the vision for the theatre?
Does Northcott aspire to be a producing house? - Yes... as a long-term aim.
Loss of pantomime and Open Air theatre has had a negative impact.
New relationships are being developed.
Locals are being involved.
Rehearsal space is a problem
Could there be a link with the Barnfield?
“Are we moving in the right direction?”
Marketing is so important.
Consistency is vital - people will come.
Raising the profile - where are the reviews? A problem with short runs.
“If you don't have an artistic director is this still a theatre?”
More positive thinking - future energy promising.

Now starting from scratch with a very small team.
Collaboration - 3 separate productions of Shrew in Exeter this summer!


Programming, programming, producing house, Exeter, Funding, university, Northcott, funding, exeter