In September 2021, the Northcott collaborated with Newcourt Community Association and local volunteers to organise the Newcourt Community Festival. This free event for all those living in Newcourt brought people back together after 18 months of separation in a celebration of community, togetherness, place and creativity.
Creative experiences and performances by artists from Newcourt and across the city formed the heart of the festival. These local artists were chosen by a community commissioning circle, and included musical guests Colin Rea and Emily Howard, a storytelling workshop from PaddleBoat Theatre, a Right Royal Write-Off (think ‘medieval bards meet poetry slam’) from Spork!, dancing disco-fish puppets from PoCo Creations, and performances of a brand-new story, Georgina and the Dragon, from Northcott Futures emerging artist Donald Craigie. Local street artist Steve McCracken was also in residence, painting a large mural of his much-loved birds, whilst chatting to festival-goers about how he makes his art. You can still see the finished mural on the wall of the Community Centre garden!
The feelings of community here are incredible.
Spork!, your resident poet laureates, present… the Newcourt Festival Poem!
As well as battling it out in a true poetry joust, Chris and Harula collected words, feelings and ideas about their community from festival-goers. At the end of the day, they graced the stage one final time… to present a Community Poem, written with and for the people of Newcourt.
Watch the video to listen to the poem.
(Subtitles are provided, please press the icon to turn on.)
Lots of lovely moments of interaction. Some unexpected ones, surprising ones, funny ones. That’s been lovely.
The Festival took place at the Newcourt Community Centre, using the whole building as well as the gardens. Bike-powered smoothies, fresh pizzas, coffee and cakes were provided by local businesses (along with many fantastic raffle prizes!), craft and growing activities were run by locals, and outdoor games were led by Space Youth Services. The sun duly put his hat on and came out to play – along with around 150 Newcourt residents!
The Newcourt Community Festival is part of a long-term relationship between the Northcott and Newcourt, which aims to stimulate and support creative and community activity that is responsive to the interests, needs and priorities of the local community. In Newcourt, this has already led to popular drama activities and creative holiday residencies for local children, and early plans are under way for a creative youth café offer. At the Festival, two ‘Creative Listeners’ spent the day talking to locals and running creative consultation activities, to learn about what people in the local area might want to see or do going forwards.
What an amazing day on Sunday! Newcourt very much appreciates what you all did to make this a very special day for our community.
Newcourt Community Association Leader
This event was funded by Exeter Northcott Theatre, Newcourt Community Association, Devon County Council and SPACE.
We can’t wait to see what happens next!
Are you part of a community which would like to see more creative things happening on your doorstep?
We’d love to hear from you!
Contact our Community Engagement Producer, Nicole, for a chat.Email Nicole