Over the years we have worked with many different people, but our core team has remained pretty much the same. However in 2020, as we entered our third decade, we recruited a new team of associates to help us think about the kind of work we might develop and the new partnerships we could forge. As well as looking forward to the projects we will cook up together we’d also like to thank all of those who have worked with us in the past, many of whom have been vital to our work over the years and some of whom are sadly no longer with us.
Andy co-founded the previous incarnation of Excavate (Hanby and Barrett) with Julian Hanby in 2000. Since then he has written all of the company’s shows, and has co-directed the majority of them. His work for stage and radio has included a Sony Award winning series; ‘Dolly’, a cloning meets country and western musical, which The Times chose as one of their top five shows of 2010; and the first ever stage version of Ibsen’s ‘The League of Youth’, which was premiered by Nottingham Playhouse and which is published by Nick Hern Books. In 2010 he wrote ‘The Story Traders of Sichuan’ for an English and Chinese cast, following a period of research in Chengdu and Chongqing; and in 2013 he was funded by the British Council to work in Kosovo. His most recent play, again for Nottingham Playhouse, ‘Tony’s Last Tape’, is based on the diaries of Tony Benn and has just finished a national tour that ended with a special performance at the House of Commons.
Tim Harris has been working in the arts since the 1980s, and has been a venue manager, arts officer, promoter and producer. He first worked with Hanby and Barrett in setting up the Luddite anniversary drama “Hammer of Defiance” in Ashfield in 2011. He co-produced the Lincolnshire Cultural Olympiad project in 2012 (“Golden Fables” which involved two actors, four Poet Laureates, four composers, a musical ensemble and a one hundred strong choir) , and the “Managing a Masterpiece” Heritage project in 2012-13 to engage people in the rich artistic history of the Stour Valley. He has been Business manager for a West Midlands mask company, raising the funds to keep them touring for the past 5 years. He is currently producing a Poem for Suffolk (fortunately, with a poet!) for publication, and live performance in winter, 2015.
Has has produced, or commissioned, or delivered a number of site-specific dramas over the years. He is a firm believer in the importance of local stories, rooted in history, to engage people in creative activity on their own terms and the lasting impact they can have.
In 1985 I was appointed Artistic Director of the Gate Theatre, London. In 1989 I joined the National Theatre as Literary Manager before becoming Artistic Director of the Palace Theatre, Watford in May 1995. I was the Artistic Director of Nottingham Playhouse from August 1999 to November 2017.
I’ve directed more than 60 productions and my most recent include a tour of The Kite Runner; Tony’s Last Tape at the Omnibus Theatre, Clapham; DNA at Lakeside Arts, Nottingham; The Understudy both online and at the Palace Theatre, London; various projects for both LAMDA and the University for the Creative Arts. I will be performing my one man show ‘Channeling Jabez’ at the Squire Performing Arts Centre later this year.
I am currently on the Performing Arts Sub-committee for Creative Folkestone. I’m also a playwright and my work has been produced widely in the UK and Europe.
Lisa Goldman is a writer, script consultant & director. Plays she has written include immersive, site specific Hoxton Story (2005), Cable Street (National Theatre Connections 2022 and screenplay). This year she is on Writers Attachment at National Theatre Studio writing a new play called Remedy. Lisa is also author of The No Rules Handbook for Writers (Bloomsbury/Oberon 2012) and runs a script consultancy. As Artistic Director and Joint Chief Executive of the Red Room (1995-2006) and Soho Theatre (2006-10), she developed, directed and produced numerous award-winning new plays.
Most of my work has been in the places where young people reveal, discover or celebrate their innate creativity; and through theatre this has mostly been as Director of Roundabout in the 1980s, and then as Chair of Theatre Writing Partnership in the noughties. More widely I worked with Ken Robinson at Artswork, and then succeeded him as Chair of the Trustees. And then 18 years ago I started Ignite! at Nesta to explore what creativity meant in learning, and to support the exceptional talent of young people.
As Ignite! has shifted over the years, settled in Nottingham, developed more projects, I’ve become more and more convinced that it is curiosity as well as creativity that underpins all our learning. I’m also building appreciation of activities that bind communities together; so that our current statement of purpose is to find opportunities for communities to express their curiosity in creative ways. And this has led me into a path described as Citizen Science, but where the investigations are led by the participants and into topics and questions that matter to them. And this in turn means that I also appreciate the threads that hold communities together in Basford, Nottingham and elsewhere, especially in Koli, a village in North Karelia in Finland.
And – in my own work – I’m writing a series of A-Z essays – the first on Creativity, the second on Curiosity, and the next I plan to be the A-Z of Community. There are others still at the dreaming stage, The A-Z of Culture and the A-Z of Childhood. I seem to write these best when I am in Koli.
I am a theatre maker – actor, director, producer, and part-time senior lecturer at University of Derby as Programme Leader for MA Applied Theatre & Education and just completing my PhD in Applied Theatre. I am currently producing work with young people who have refugee and living in care experience. I am really interested in theatre that contributes to discourse and empowers participants and audiences to make a difference. I have lived in the East Midlands since 1990 when I first came to Nottingham Playhouse to work on a show for youth clubs on HIV/AIDS and now live in Derbyshire (one story that might be interesting to explore with Excavate is that of the Pentrich rising).
I am very interested in telling stories that inspire and increase participation and access to the arts and in particular theatre.
If I had a choice of 3 artists around for dinner, it would have been David Bowie, Robert Fripp and Brian Eno. I’ve been smitten by their work over the years – not always in a good way – but always in a way which demands that you pay attention, however difficult that may be at the time. I say this in response to Andy’s clarion call for band members. I would have like to be a hybrid of those 3 dinner guests but given that’s not possible (yet) or even desirable (ever), I would opt to play my Eno to your Bowie, Fripp, Brian Ferry, Laurie Anderson or even Bono. I’m particularly interested in playing Eno the Producer in the guise of Associate Artist with Excavate and would look to dust down some long standing projects that have never (yet) found the light of day: a new staging of Battleship Potemkin in an old cinema; the staging of Shostakovic’s The Execution of Stefan Razin in Nottingham’s Market Square; and bringing some film scripts to fruition with collleagues who might be interested in collaborating on an M62 Road Movie; an Anglo Saxon cop film and the adaptation of my short novel (which has sold hardly anything on Amazon), The Confessions of an Ageing Tennis Player. There, that’s my shopping list!
I am a visual artist who originally trained in sculpture. I now work on projects and have started calling myself a community artist again as I think it probably best describes what I do. I usually end up building something but I now also make films and do large-scale projections. I’m in the last year of a PhD at Man Met where I am exploring the artist in residence as a mode of knowledge production. I have a lifelong interest in stories, objects and try to work playfully with both. I am one half of the artist collaboration poly-technic our work can be found here poly-technic.co.uk