Manuscripts and Special Collections

Playing Around: Taking Theatre to Communities across the East Midlands

This exhibition ran from 16 January to 3 May 2015. 

'Playing Around' was jointly curated by Jo Robinson (Associate Professor of Drama and Performance in the School of English) and Manuscripts and Special Collections at The University of Nottingham.

Playing Around exhibition poster

'Playing Around' explored the history of two local theatre companies, New Perspectives Theatre and Nottingham Playhouse's Theatre-in-Education company, Roundabout. Operating in various non-theatre spaces from classrooms to caravans, both companies have sought to make national and international issues 'local' to their audiences and bring theatre 'home' to people across the East Midlands.

Their extensive archives had recently been added to The University of Nottingham’s collections and this exhibition provided the first opportunity to see behind the scenes of both companies. Displays explored the place of performance, theatre for children and young people, theatre for rural communities, and building communities. The exhibition investigated how these very different but equally passionate companies have inspired and moved audiences and shaped the cultural and social life of communities across the East Midlands.

Listen again

Lakeside Arts Centre

Audio recordings of the lunchtime talks given by external speakers that accompanied the exhibition.

Exhibition poster


Click on the image above to see a larger version of the poster. 

Exhibition themes

The exhibition boards focused on the ways in which both companies used theatre to entertain, intrigue, teach and develop different communities over the last 40 years, and also the challenges they faced.

The exhibition boards are available to download:

Playing Around: Introduction

Exhibition Boards 2 - 6 including:

  • Rural touring theatre: how does it work?
  • The role of Theatre in Education
  • Walking the tightrope: changes and challenges
  • Theatre for changing communities
  • When can you come back? Developing new relationships

Unfortunately it is not possible to display representations of the original archive material which featured in the exhibition cases.

Visitor comments


It’s really wonderful!

Good exhibition and very enjoyable.

Happy memories!

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Manuscripts and Special Collections

Kings Meadow Campus
Lenton Lane
Nottingham, NG7 2NR

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 4565
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