Northcott Theatre Archive

Scope and Content

The Northcott Theatre archive comprises operational and production records spanning the period from its opening in 1967 to its refurbishment in 2007. These include administrative, legal and operational records, information on the technical management of theatre productions, promotional literature and press coverage. There is also a collection of photographic records of productions and actors, along with records of film productions from the earlier Theatre Royal in Exeter.

Administrative / Biographical History

The history of live entertainment in Exeter can be traced back to the Roman occupation of the city, with evidence of an amphitheatre on Dane's Hill. Between the 13th and 18th centuries, plays were performed by groups of strolling players, and in 1721 the first regular theatre venue in Exeter opened, which was a room in the Seven Stars Inn. In 1735, the first purpose-built theatre opened; The Exeter Theatre in Waterbeare Street. A series of buildings were subsequently destroyed by fire, until the Theatre Royal in Longbrook Street opened in 1889. This venue was active until its closure, and demolition of the building, in 1962. Early that same year, G.V. Northcott entered negotiations with the Board of Directors of the Theatre Royal in an attempt to re-create it as a Theatre and Arts Centre. A site at Exeter University was offered, which had been earmarked for a theatre on the University's Development Plan. Northcott established a Trust with a benefaction of £100,000 (later supplemented by a gift of £50,000 from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and by other bodies), to establish the Northcott Devon Theatre and Arts Centre. The architects were Sir William Holford and Partners and the theatre consultant was Michael Warre. The Theatre opened with a production of The Merchant of Venice, starring Tony Church, its first Artistic Director, on 2nd November 1967. Among the actors who have performed at the Northcott Theatre are Lysette Anthony, Honor Blackman, Celia Imrie, Robert Lindsay, John Nettles, Bob Peck, Diana Rigg, Imelda Staunton and David Suchet.

Conditions Governing Access

Usual EUL conditions apply.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual EIL restrictions apply.


Expected from Northcott Theatre outstore.