Mikron Theatre, one of the country’s most versatile touring theatre companies, has announced that from April it will commence its celebrations of 50 years of touring on the river and by road with the premiere of Red Sky At Night, Lindsay Rodden’s new play about the nation’s obsession with the wild and wonderful world of weather, and a remount of the acclaimed Yorkshire theatre company’s hugely successful 2015 production of Maeve Larkin’s play about the Women’s Institute- Raising Agents.
Based in the village of Marsden, at the foot of the Yorkshire Pennines, the company are like no other. For starters, over the last 50 years they have toured 66 productions on board a vintage narrowboat and spent over 34,000 boating hours on the inland waterways.
Secondly, they perform their shows in places that other theatre companies wouldn’t dream of; a play about growing-your-own on an allotment; a play about bees performed next to hives, a play about fish and chips to audiences in a fish and chip restaurant, as well as plays about hostelling performed in YHA Youth hostels and the RNLI, performed at several Lifeboat Stations around the UK. Over the last 50 years the company has performed 5200 times to over a staggering 436,000 people.
Mikron Theatre’s Artistic Director Marianne McNamara said: “We are so blooming chuffed to have reached our golden jubilee year, half a century. There have been times that we did not think we would make it; funding challenges, boat stoppages and a pandemic have been hurdles along the way. The reason we are still here is because of the incredible support that we have received from our friends and supporters up and down the country. We are so grateful to them.”
Featuring music written by Mikron’s Marsden neighbours, the acclaimed folk duo O’Hooley and Tidow (Gentleman Jack, HBO/BBC), the 50th anniversary tour will start with Maeve Larkin’s Raising Agents which tells the story of Bunnington Women’s Institute, a down-at-heel WI with memberships dwindling and who can barely afford the hall, let alone a decent speaker. So, when a PR guru becomes a member, the women are glad of new blood.
Initially, the milk of WI kindness begins to sour when she re-brands them as the Bunnington Bunnies. They are hopping. With stakes higher than a five-tiered cake stand, a battle ensues for the very soul of Bunnington, perhaps the WI itself!
On the threshold of one century into the next, this tale of hobbyists and lobbyists asks how much we should know our past, or how much we should let go of it.
Touring alongside Raising Agents, the company will premiere Red Sky At Night, Lindsay Rodden’s (Here, Northern Stage and Curious Monkey co-production and The Story Giant, Everyman Theatre Liverpool) new play about the nation’s obsession with the wild and wonderful world of weather.
Through the chronicles of history, people have gazed up and marvelled at the mysteries of the weather. Generations have tried to master the elements and understand the magic of the skies.
Hayley’s sunny, beloved dad was the nation’s favourite weatherman. He could make a typhoon sound like a tickle. Hayley is now following in his footsteps, to join the ranks of the forecasting fraternity. Or at least, local shoestring teatime television.
When the pressure drops and dark clouds gather, Hayley is melting faster than a lonely snowflake. She has seen the future’s forecast, but will anyone listen?
Raising Agents will be touring nationally from 7 April and Red Sky At Night from 14 May with both shows ending on 22 October.
For further information and tour dates on Raising Agents and Red Sky At Night please visit https://www.mikron.org.uk/shows