Welcome to the online presence of Hanby and Barrett: an archive of past productions, news about upcoming projects, links to those connected with the company and information about participants and project partners.



This will be the last update on this website as we switch over to our new company name of Excavate. We will be launching a new website over the next few weeks and much of the material that is on this site will be archived in some way. Thanks to everyone that’s worked with us, in whatever way, over the last fifteen years. It’s been exhilarating, exhausting, and great fun. Without your support we wouldn’t have been able to continue the work for so many years, and be in the position we are now as we look to develop the company.


Our website I Worked At Raleigh has now been launched and is available here.  We’re very proud of it. It has over sixteen hours worth of audio and filmed interviews with over fifty ex employees of the Raleigh factory and was featured on BBC East Midlands Today. The response has been incredible with thousands of people looking at the site from across the world.


‘Songs of Defiance’ by The Army of Redressers is now available on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and various other online stores; as well as on spotify. This set of songs, some of which were heard in our show ‘The Hammer of Defiance’, are performed by a community choir with musical accompaniment. They are all from the years of the Luddite riots, some with their original tunes and some combining lyrics of the time with melodies of the period. We had a great launch night at the Ned Ludd pub in Nottingham; and one of the songs we sang can be seen here.


Our film ‘An Act of Defiance’, telling the story of the Luddite attacks in Sutton in Ashfield, and the subsequent trial, is now finished and will be shown around Nottingham and Ashfield over the next few weeks. We’ll post dates for that on our Facebook page – which is now called Excavate.


We have been awarded funding from Arts Council England as we continue to redevelop the company infrastructure. This has included bringing Jennifer Gilbert-Scott to the team as our General Manager. Jennifer has worked across a number of heritage and arts based organisations and we’re delighted that she’s going to be helping us move forward with our plans. Over the next week we also hope to be able to confirm the appointment of a very exciting artist who will act as a mentor to the company.

And this is only the beginning. As well as looking to develop a whole raft of projects we are soon to rename the company and redevelop the website. This isn’t about changing the work that we do, but is about helping us to move forward after thirteen years of producing community theatre with dozens of communities across the region. And to make sure that we keep on our toes and continue to develop new and challenging projects that explore and animate the histories and culture of communities, towns and villages across the East Midlands and beyond.

Hanby and Barrett is a participatory arts organisation specialising in outdoor theatre events. We work in and with communities to create performances about those communities; their heritage and history, their culture and identity, their stories and their aspirations. The plays are performed in locations that are central to that community’s history however unusual they may be, and this site specific nature of much of the work is central to our growing reputation. We have staged shows in woods, train stations, churches, schools, parks, a Napoleonic Blast Furnace, and throughout the streets and public spaces of towns and villages across the East Midlands. Our shows usually include large local casts and combine strong stories and spectacle to produce beautiful, well crafted theatre that entertains, surprises and delights participants and audiences alike. Most important of all is the fact that we are as inclusive as possible, encouraging seasoned performers to work alongside those who have never performed before, backed up with the skills of professional artists and technicians. For us the enjoyment of the work is both in the artistic quality but also in the energy that is created as the play develops. After everything has been packed away and the last piece of confetti has been picked up the communities that we work in often feel like slightly different places. New relationships have been forged, communities have a clearer idea about what makes them who they are, and a sense of possibility is in the air, leaving the question ‘What shall we do next?’

Best wishes,
Andy and Julian

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