Lancaster University

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Local Residents Take Over Nuffield Programme

01/24/2008 15:40:27

"Maresa von Stockert - Tilted Productions : Glacier" was chosen by local residents

The Nuffield Theatre at Lancaster University is experimenting with innovative ways of choosing its programme of events, following on from the successes of last year.

The Autumn 2007 programme was chosen by a group of 12 visiting artists and resulted in sell-out audiences.

Now the Spring 2008 programme has been chosen by a group of seven local people from the Lancaster area.

They all answered an advert placed by the theatre director Matt Fenton, and with no previous experience of programming theatre they have watched performances across the region and contacted the artists they most wanted to see. The only rule they have followed is that they had to choose something which had not been seen by Matt himself.

He said: “We are always battling the perception that the Nuffield Theatre is only for students and academics, not for the general public, or that you need a degree in theatre studies to appreciate the shows. We wanted to give other people the chance to present their take on what they think are exciting new performances. Also, if we are a venue that supports, maybe even expects, artists to take creative risks, what risks are we prepared to take?”

The programming experiment was popular with the residents involved, one of whom, Cressida Graves, said: “I found it a fun and collaborative experience - it made me realise how lucky we are to have the Nuffield….I don’t think Matt’s out of a job yet!”

Another local programmer, Jill Anderson, said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in this experiment. It has reconnected me with theatre, after a period in which I had seen little.”

The programme the seven have chosen is a daring mixture of contemporary dance, radical theatre and new circus.The season even includes a real coup – the UK premiere of cult Belgian theatre collective Abattoir Fermé.

The full programme is online at