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'Playing Around' explores the history of two local theatre companies, New Perspectives Theatre in Education company, Roundabout. Using theatre posters, teachers' packs, programmes and photographs, together with press reviews and recollections from company members, this exhibition celebrates both companies and their use of theatre to entertain, intrigue, teach and develop different communities over the last 40 years.
Operating in a wide range of non-theatre spaces - from a gypsy caravan in a field outside of Peterborough to village halls, car showrooms and school classrooms - both companies have sought to make national and international issues 'local' to their audiences, bringing theatre 'home' to audiences across the East Midlands. Their extensive archives have recently been added to The University of Nottingham's collections and this exhibition provides the first opportunity to see behind the scenes of both companies. 'Playing Around' explores their history from small but ambitious beginnings in the 1970s and 1980s to fulfilling their mission to champion local talent and tour groundbreaking theatre to schools and rural communities in the region and beyond. Displays showcasing the place of performance, theatre for children and young people, theatre for communities and building communities will investigate how these very different but equally passionate companies have inspired and moved audiences.
Despite the challenges, including their their constant battles for funding, both continue to shape the cultural and social life of communities across the East Midlands.