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Nottingham New Theatre History Project

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The history project collects and publishes information on past shows, committees and other goings-on at The Nottingham New Theatre the only student run theatre in England.

We use a static site generator (Jekyll) among other tools to turn the data and website source hosted here into the website published at

This project is run by a group from the New Theatre's Alumni Network.

Running Locally


To get the site running locally you will need a working Ruby environment, the bundler gem installed, Node.js, Gulp, CoffeeScript, and Bower. The following instructions work on Ubuntu.

  • curl -sL | sudo -E bash - to setup and add a PPA for Node JS 6.x rather than the older 4.x versions.
  • sudo apt install ruby-dev rubygems nodejs libffi-dev for an up to date Ruby with development bits and the Gem package manager, Node.js and its package manager npm.
  • sudo gem install bundler for the Ruby depenancy manager.
  • sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node because some Node packages put it in the wrong place.
  • sudo npm install -g gulp coffee-script bower for Gulp, CoffeeScript and Bower.

Project Install

  • git clone to clone the repo to your computer.
  • cd history-project to change into the directory.
  • bundle install to install all the Ruby dependencies the project needs to build.
  • npm install to install all the Node dependencies the project needs to build.
    • You may also need to run npm link gulp-v3 to get our version of gulp to behave.
  • bower install to install all the frontend dependencies the project needs to build.


  • gulp build to build the site to _site.
  • OR gulp debug does the same but skips minification and enables Jekyll's incremental builds.
  • gulp server to serve the site using the built in webserver. Changes to Sass & Coffee files will trigger an automatic frontend rebuild and reload. Content (Jekyll) changes will not, this is because Jekyll takes a considerable time to run.

To get more verbose output from Jekyll, run export JEKYLL_LOG_LEVEL=debug before building.


gulp test to run test suite locally. Currently we test for bad links, valid image tags, script references and the validity of site JSON feeds.

Branches pushed to the GitHub repo are have preview builds deployed on Netlify, you can find links to the most recent ones here:


Docker is a cross platform software container platform. Following these instructions will allow you to build and view the site on your local machine in an environment as close to the production system as possible.

  • Install Docker (on windows, you probably want Docker Toolbox)
  • On windows, open the 'Docker Quickstart Terminal'. On Mac/Linux use a console of your choice.
  • git clone to clone the repo to your computer.
  • cd history-project to change into the directory.
  • Type ./

Once everything has finished running, you should see the site at http://localhost:8000. Hit ctrl+c to stop the server. If using 'Docker Toolbox' and localhost doesn't work, you can find the IP address of the virtual machine by running echo " $(docker-machine ip default)"

By default ./ uses the parameters start install build test serve in that order.

  • start builds the docker container, and starts it running in the background
  • install installs all necessary dependencies for the site
  • build builds the jekyll site
  • test runs the test suite
  • serve runs a server so you can view the site locally
  • stop halts and destroys the docker container. You will need to run start and install again after running this

You can add/remove steps to ./run_dev as needed. For example, there is no need to run start or install every time you want to build the site.

Environment variables (such as the Smugmug API key) can be changed by modifying the ENV lines in the Dockerfile (and then running start again).


See the site documentation.


After building the site you can run the test suite with gulp test. Bear in mind you may want to disable htmltest's external link checking as this may take some time on a consumer internet connection.

You may also test the syntax of YAML front-matter via gulp yamllint.

Asset Storage

All photographs and image assets are stored using the theatre's SmugMug.

Other binary assets are stored under assets/ using Git LFS. This separates these large files from the main repository. If you do not have LFS set up on your machine please do not attempt to commit assets as this would bloat the repository.

Special Thanks

  • Browser testing tools generously provided by BrowserStack.


This project as a whole isn't particularly helpful for other organizations, what we're doing here can be described as coding in the open, rather than building an open source project. That said parts of the project may be of interest or use to others. This repository is a mix of source and content, as such there are two licences that apply.

  • All source files (HTML templates, Sass, CoffeeScript, Ruby, shell scripts) are released under the MIT licence.
  • All content files (HTML files, Markdown, YAML datafiles, images, graphics) are copyright © The Nottingham New Theatre 2016.