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THE COMMOTION TIME Comes To Exeter Northcott Theatre

The play will run from 18 – 23 October this year.

By: Jun. 17, 2024
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To coincide with their season announcement, today Exeter Northcott announces the World Premiere of The Commotion Time, the first play by South West based and highly sought after RSC and Globe dramaturg, Sarah Dickenson.  The play will run from 18 – 23 October this year and will be directed by the theatre's new Creative Director Martin Berry.

Featuring a seven-strong professional cast with local links, a large ensemble of voluntary actors and singers drawn from the local community and and an entire creative team based in the region, The Commotion Time is for, about and created and performed by people who are firmly rooted in South West England..

It's February 1547, soon after the death of Henry VIII.   On the Cornwall/Devon border, the people of Poundstock are looking forward to completing their biggest ever community project: the Gildhouse, a state-of-the-art building for brewing, fundraising and feasting. But there are dangerous clouds on the horizon as the authorities in Exeter force through an array of reforms set to drive division into the heart of the community.  As bellies empty, society fractures and the Gildhouse's key is taken away, the people take action in the only way left to them; marching to Exeter in their thousands to challenge the King and force the authorities to listen.

Depicting an incredible moment in Exeter's history, this original production gives voice to the women at the centre of a story that still shapes the city and its local communities today. It is a true tale of insurrection, love, desperation and murder, told with passion, humour and live music.

Martin Berry says, “When I read Sarah's wonderful play, I knew the Northcott just had to do it. It is a story that says so much about this city, the community, and the plans we are making for the coming years at the Northcott. 


The Commotion Time is a South-West story, by a South-West writer, that speaks directly to the people of Exeter, Cornwall and beyond. Most importantly it is rooted firmly in community, in every sense.   


And if that isn't reason enough to buy your tickets, it is a brilliant and gripping drama, full of laughs, love, passion and murder. If you love period drama, live music, great acting and a proper night out at the theatre, then you'll love The Commotion Time.” 

Brought up in North Cornwall, Sarah Dickenson is a writer and dramaturg with over two decades of experience developing new plays nationally and internationally. As playwright: North Ealing (Theatre503/ Rose Bruford), PowerPlay (Hampton Court), Everything's Fine (co-writer book, Tilted Co). As dramaturg she is currently working on projects with Shakespeare North, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmund's, Shakespeare's Globe, New Perspectives, Jennifer Jackson and Tilted. Her previous roles have included: Associate Dramaturg for Paines Plough, Associate Dramaturg for LAMDA, Associate Dramaturg for the RSC, Production Dramaturg for the Globe, Senior Reader at Soho Theatre, Literary Manager for Theatre503 and New Writing Associate at The Red Room. She has been dramaturg on performance projects and artist development nationally and internationally for organisations and theatre makers, including The Minack, Nuffield Theatre Southampton, Theatre Centre, National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Bristol, Old Vic New Voices, Liverpool Everyman, Theatre Royal Bath, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Tamasha, Apples and Snakes, Almeida, Hall for Cornwall, The Fence, and Churchill Theatre Bromley


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