Exeter Northcott Theatre has won a prestigious Arts Award for its starring role at the heart of Exeter’s arts and culture scene. The accolade was revealed at a gala dinner held by Exeter Living magazine at the University of Exeter’s Great Hall.
The recognition follows a momentous 2019 for Exeter’s flagship theatre, which last year unveiled a new leadership team and business strategy.
The Northcott saw record audiences of 101,000, generating a 22% rise in income with more than £266,000 raised for charitable activities. Home-produced shows won critical acclaim and customer feedback gave the Christmas pantomime a five-star performance rating.
Artistic Director and Chief Executive Daniel Buckroyd, who took on the leading role just over 18 months ago, thanked staff, visitors and partners, including sponsors Haines Watts, Salcombe Dairy and Kings College Taunton. He said:
“This is a huge vote of confidence in what the theatre’s been doing over the last 12 months. I’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to our dedicated staff team for their hard work and creativity, to the many partner organisations we’ve been working with for their passion and generosity, and most of all to our amazing audiences for their continued support.”
The Northcott emerged from a strong field to win the Arts category of the annual awards on Thursday night. Other nominations included the University of Exeter Arts and Culture, Exeter Corn Exchange Pantomime, Exeter Culture – on behalf of the Exeter UNESCO City of Literature Group, and Theatre Alibi.
Exeter Northcott Theatre, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017, was honoured after flying the flag for work made in Devon and putting Exeter on the map. A co-production of Miles Jupp’s The Life I Lead, which started life in Exeter last year, enjoyed a West End run while the Exeter Northcott production in collaboration with John Cleese, Bang Bang!, premiered in Exeter in February and is currently touring the UK.
The theatre also launched the Exeter Northcott Futures programme, offering unique opportunities for 40 emerging artists, makers, producers and companies to develop their skills and perform new work.
A registered charity with a £2.5million turnover last year, it also launched the innovate Pay It Forward campaign which raised £8,000 to give more than 1,000 tickets to families who would otherwise not have been able to come to the theatre.
In December, the Northcott was awarded £143,500 in Heritage Funding to open up the theatrical archive of more than 50 years more than 80,000 people.
The Northcott’s Creative Learning department reached over 1,400 young people aged 4-21, the Young Company supported over 222 young people to come together and make theatre while a newly-launched Under 26 scheme offered masterclasses and 4,000 discounted tickets.