Big names of the stage line up to support local theatre

PUBLISHED: 16:00 11 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:56 11 June 2020

Big names of the stage show their support for the Northcott Theatre Picture: Mark Dawson Photography

Big names of the stage show their support for the Northcott Theatre Picture: Mark Dawson Photography

Northcott Theatre

Big names of the stage line up to support Exeter Northcott theatre

Dame Judi Dench shows her support for local theatre Picture: Northcott TheatreDame Judi Dench shows her support for local theatre Picture: Northcott Theatre

In recent weeks, the region’s theatres have been hit incredibly hard by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

With non-existent ticket sales and customers, it has been, undoubtedly, an exceptionally challenging time for the industry, as many theatre owners try to balance the financial books.

One theatre in particular, Exeter Northcott, has seen a loss of more than 90 per cent of its income from a lack of ticket sales as result of closing its doors due to the coronavirus restrictions.

Commenting on the impact of the closure, Daniel Buckroyd, artistic director and chief executive of Exeter Northcott said: ‘We’ve lost huge sums in the last few months and we predict a suppression in income for years to come.

Imelda Staunton shows her support for local theatre Picture: Northcott TheatreImelda Staunton shows her support for local theatre Picture: Northcott Theatre

“These are challenging times but as a charity, we will do everything we can to come back fighting fit to support our artists, our audiences and communities.’

To strengthen its resolve, the theatre is launching a fundraising campaign and it seems to have the backing of some very famous international celebrities, local artists, volunteers, students and local audiences.

Its fundraising campaign, Love Local Theatre, asks people to donate and share a short video or a few words about why they support the theatre.

These videos are being added to an ever-growing ‘supporting wall’ on Exeter Northcott’s website which places household names, next to audience members and young families.

Celie Imrie shows her support for local theatre Picture: Northcott TheatreCelie Imrie shows her support for local theatre Picture: Northcott Theatre

To show support to the campaign some big names of the screen and stage have already sent in contributions.

The highly acclaimed actor, Dame Judi Dench, said: “I have been associated with Exeter Northcott Theatre for many years, and I know that regional theatres such as this are the lifeblood and future of this country’s cultural industries.

“They are vital in creating and nurturing the performance arts in all forms in the hearts of cities and towns across the country, giving the shared experience of pride, joy, wonder and entertainment to their many and various communities.

“It’s so important we help our theatres right now when they need us most. Please donate and join me in supporting Exeter Northcott today.”

Another big name backing the campaign is Caroline Quentin, who said: “I support the Northcott, because thriving regional theatre is the sign of a happy, healthy, civilised South West.”

Whilst Alistair McGowan said: “I support the Northcott because theatres are where memories are made, lives enriched, dreams realised.

“Regional theatres – just as much as football teams – put a town on the map. Think ‘Exeter’ and I and thousands like me think ‘Northcott’.”

Other videos include luminaries such as Imelda Staunton who spent many years at the Northcott in her early career and explains how vital the Exeter theatre was to her development as an actor, and Celia Imrie who has happy memories of the theatre involving seasons of hard work, good fun, music and joy. She implores people to keep the doors open because the Northcott ‘is the heart of the city’.

The campaign is also being supported by some of the fresh young faces of the Northcott Young Company such as Harry Bennet who explains how the Northcott has given him ‘confidence on stage and in every-day life’.

Whilst regular audience members such as Sandyha Dave recognise that the Northcott is ‘a precious resource promoting a rich and diverse culture in Devon’.

In a normal year, the Northcott would draw an annual audience in excess of 100,000 from across Exeter, Devon and the wider region with its programme of exceptional live performances and creative learning. Its vision is to be a vibrant artistic hub for regional creative talent and a producer of mid-scale touring theatre with a special focus on drama, work for children and families, and new voices from the South West.

People are being invited to add their messages of support and donate via Exeter Northcott Theatre’s website – go to www.exeternorthcott.co.uk.


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