Casting Call – The Beat of our Hearts

A new play exploring LGBTQIA+ experiences of loneliness & belonging, developed with University of Exeter Wellcome Centre and the Intercom Trust, and produced by Exeter Northcott Theatre

Exeter Northcott Theatre is looking for 4 actors with lived experience within the LGBTQIA+ communities for its production of The Beat of our Hearts in Jan/Feb 2022. We’re particularly keen to meet actors based in the South West where the play is set. The four roles are:

Valentine (Val)

Identifies as a lesbian / pronouns she/her.

Local kick ass librarian and activist. In her forties. She’s a warrior who makes things happen and who refuses to be intimidated. Experienced the fall out of Section 28 at school. Only now realising and coming to terms with its impact. Loves punk music and art activism. Migrated to this place years ago and now part of the scenery.


Working out how they identify / most comfortable with using pronouns they/them.

Trying to find their own light. Youngest character at twenty. On the cusp of so much promise and potential. Struggling with their family who are struggling to accept their identity. Most open about their own sense of loneliness and belonging. Local to this place. Carrying a sense of belonging deep with them as a conflict and wondering how to leave. Move on.


Identifies as gay / pronouns he/him.

Born in 1957, the year the Wolfenden Report was written, and ten years before the Sexual Offences Act that legalised homosexuality for adult men over 21 years old. So he is sixty four years old, but young in his demeanour and curiosity. A widow. His husband passed away a few years ago, which prompted the move to this place.


Identifies as a bisexual trans man / pronouns he/they.

Like the feathers of a bird, Quill wants to migrate, escape, fly away to warmer climes, take flight; also to write things down, in ink. They are in their late twenties. Almost thirty. Romantic at heart. Carries a notebook. A secret poet. Wanting to share them with others, but not quite sure how. Grown up in this place. A dreamer.

Key dates:

  • Auditions – 6th & 9th Dec 2021 (Bristol)
  • Rehearsals – 4th Jan – 28th Jan 2022 (Exeter)
  • Production Week – w/c 31st January 2022 (Exeter)
  • Performances – 3rd-5th February 2022

Fee & Expenses:

  • The total fee for this work is £2272.50 (£454.50 x 5 weeks).
  • Plus subsistence allowance of £181.05 per week if required to stay away from home.
  • Associated travel costs will also be reimbursed.

Diversity & Inclusion:

There continues to be a significant lack of diversity across the arts, with a pressing need to provide progression routes for talented people from backgrounds that are under-represented. Exeter Northcott Theatre is committed to playing its part in addressing this by putting inclusion at the heart of our recruitment processes, finding new ways to share the power and resources we have at our disposal, and fostering a working culture that is welcoming for all our team. We actively encourage people with different backgrounds to join us and positively impact our teams and working practice. We are particularly keen to receive applications from LGBTQIA+ actors due to the themes of the project; it is important that the diversity of our casting is intersectional and we also particularly keen to receive applications from people of African and Caribbean heritage, people of South Asian, East Asian and South East Asian Heritage, D/deaf and disabled people, or those experiencing barriers due to their socioeconomic background.


After the application deadline, longlisted candidates will be asked to submit a self-tape. Once the longlisted candidates’ self-tapes have been reviewed, shortlisted candidates will be invited to audition on either the 6th or 9th December 2021 in Bristol. Travel costs cannot be reimbursed for auditions, therefore all successful candidates must be South West based and/or be able to arrange their own travel.

Deadline for submissions: 10am, Mon 29th November
Live interviews for shortlisted actors will be on 6th & 9th December

MORE INFO About this Project:

The Beat of Our Hearts is a new play about LGBTQIA+ loneliness and belonging, commissioned by a research team at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health at the University of Exeter, and scheduled for production at Exeter Northcott Theatre in early 2022, alongside the production of associated digital assets/resources, and the possibility of a programme of accompanying ‘festival’ events organised by the Wellcome Centre. The play represents the culmination of work that writer, Natalie McGrath, and researchers from the University of Exeter, have undertaken with LGBTQIA+ people in the South West to explore histories and experiences of isolation, community, and intimacy. The overall project is supported by the AHRC, with additional funding from Arts Council England.

About our Writer:

Natalie McGrath (she/her). Playwright, poet, lyricist, producer of arts and cultural heritage projects, Co-Director of Dreadnought South West.

Work includes; Coasting and Wild Doves (Bristol Old Vic), Rift (Brewhouse Theatre Taunton), Scottish Kiss (Paines Plough’s Come to Where I’m From), Metal Remains (Theatre West) was shortlisted for the Meyer Whitworth Prize, Exodus (Box of Tricks NWxSW Tour), Oxygen and The Cause touring productions (Dreadnought South West) published by Methuen & Co. Electric Spaces (Exeter Phoenix, Exeter Bikeshed Theatre and Barbican Theatre, Plymouth). The Sound RnD supported by ACE SW and Theatre Royal, Plymouth. All the Things We Grieve was an Exeter City of Literature Compact Commission.

A Writer on Attachment to the Traverse Theatre in 2019 after coming to their attention though Open Submissions. We’ll Meet In Moscow was part of Shift Scot’s Pride Plays in collaboration with the Traverse Theatre, LGBT History Month 2020 and is now an on demand audio drama by Traverse Theatre Company for Traverse 3, part of their summer festival 2021.

Currently under commission by the University of Exeter’s Wellcome Centre for the Cultures and Environments of Health (WCCEH), in partnership with Exeter Northcott Theatre, writing a new play; The Beat of Our Hearts, about LGBTQIA+ loneliness. Writer in Residence on Out and About Queering the Museum at RAMM (Royal Albert Memorial Museum). Her play Exodus is being published by Slate Publishing as part of a wider collection of writing about Dartmoor.

About our Research Partner:

Intercom Trust is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans+ charity working across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the wider South West, providing; Help and Support, Advocacy, Counselling, Training, Information, Support Groups, Online Directory, Community Surveys, Conferences, Consultancy.

About Exeter Northcott Theatre:

Opened in 1967, Exeter Northcott has established itself as a key regional centre for theatre and the performing arts, with a programme of drama, dance, music, opera, musicals, family shows and comedy that attracts around 100,000 people a year. In recent years it has also begun to develop a thriving programme of projects & participation with South West-based artists, children & young people, supporting under-served communities to realise their creative projects and ambitions. As part of this, they’re currently working on the development of a new city-centre creative hub at the Barnfield Theatre.

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