Exeter’s theatre companies: ‘Paddleboat Theatre Company’ in interview

I have written a piece in Exeter Life this month about Exeter’s homegrown theatre talent. This is the second in a series of three interviews in full with local theatre companies.

PaddleBoat Theatre Company’s work is firmly rooted in family theatre, performing in schools, libraries, museums, festivals and running interactive workshops, projects and community lead work.

Exeter's theatre companies: 'Paddleboat Theatre Company' in interview, pic by Pete Norris

Pic by Pete Norris.

Tell me a little about the company and how it works:

PaddleBoat is a collaborative company. We work together to create, produce, market and perform our family shows. We perform in theatres, schools, libraries, festivals, museums and once did a show off the back of a lorry. We also deliver a lot of community led work,working extensively with schools and local partners, offering workshops, longer artistic residencies and exciting projects. PaddleBoat is all about celebrating creativity and sharing stories. We work creatively with children to offer families a chance to share in a story and to spark everyone’s imagination!

Which shows have you performed? 

3 years ago we performed our first production A Little Man’s Holiday. Since then we have enriched that show to make it accessible for audiences with additional needs, and created four original family shows. According to Arthur tells the story of a lonely old man with an adventurous past; Christmas Chaos was a tinsel-filled tale about the worst kind of festive family; Margo & Mr. Whatsit a heartwarming show about a little girl trying to find her forever home with the help of her imaginary friends; and our brand new show Rustle, an interactive family adventure jam-packed with puppets, songs and outdoor surprises!

Exeter's theatre companies: 'Paddleboat Theatre Company' in interview, exploring exeter

Paddleboat Theatre Co at at Deaf Academy by royal academy for deaf education.

What makes you stand out from the other theatre companies in Exeter?

At PaddleBoat’s heart is our desire to work directly with our audiences. Whenever we make a new show we will work with school children to explore the show’s themes and the storyline before we go into rehearsal. Children are very honest, playful and creative. They’ve helped us design set, given us ideas for scenes or characters and completely changed the plot in some cases. We love going back into the schools at the end of the process and performing the show back to the kids who helped create it.

What are your plans for the future?

We love the South West and Exeter. We’re really excited that we’re now associates with Exeter Northcott and Plymouth Barbican, and have had a lot of support from Exeter Phoenix. We’re currently organising our Christmas tour and looking towards the next show to start in 2018. 

Matthew and Michael at Deaf Academy by royal academy for deaf education, exploring exeter, pic by Erin Walcon

pic by Erin Walcon

How would you describe Exeter’s theatre scene?

Eclectic and ever growing! It’s so great to see more and more creatives not only staying on from the university to make work but moving to Exeter because of the opportunities on offer. We feel that the city is a very supportive space to be artists, to make theatre, and to be both creative and entrepreneurial The fact that there are so many inspiring, open, and supportive National Portfolio Organisations in Exeter says a lot; Exeter is starting to get noticed nationally as a cultural hub.


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