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Canterbury Tales

Northern Broadsides in partnership with the New Vic Theatre


Geoffrey Chaucer’s
The Canterbury Tales
a new version by Mike Poulton

Come to The Canterbury Tales and experience theatrical riches it’s almost impossible to sum up: love stories, rude stories and farce most lewd, high romance and hidden depths, chivalry, villainy, jousting and boisterous antics, mirth and merriment, poetry and puppetry and a good dose of song and dance. This is human nature at its best and worst and it’s wickedly entertaining.


Wife of Bath – Ishia Bennison
Nun – Emily Butterfield
Squire – Matt Connor
Host – Phil Corbitt
Prioress – Laura Cox
Chaucer – Andy Cryer
Cook – Michael Hugo
Nun – Rosie Jenkins
Clerk of Oxenford – Guy Lewis
Monk – Alan McMahon
Tavern Boy – David Newman
Reeve – Rob Pickavance
Miller – Matthew Rixon
Knight – Neil Salvage
Yeoman – Richard Standing
Pardoner –  Andrew Whitehead

Director & Composer – Conrad Nelson
Designer – Lis Evans
Lighting – Richard G Jones
Puppetry – Lee Threadgold
MD – Rebekah Hughes
Movement – Matthew Bugg

Tour: February – June 2010

New Vic Theatre , Newcastle-under-Lyme
Liverpool Playhouse
West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds
Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
The Nuffield, Southampton
Palace Theatre, Mansfield
Theatre Royal, Windsor
The Lowry, Salford
The Rose Theatre, Kingston
The Viaduct, Halifax
York Theatre Royal

“What’s to be got by transferring Chaucer’s tales from page to the stage? A multifaceted encounter with a bawdy, mystical, hilarious world 600 years old and fresh as a morning in May, that’s what…….. as invigorating as a high wind over the downs in spring.”
The Observer

“Chaucer might be said to have pioneered the Broadsides approach: championing the vernacular in its chewiest, most robust form; capable of embracing any number of styles; always most memorable when being a little bit rude….. Yet Nelson’s production manages to become more than the sum of its entendres. The Clerk’s Tale of patient Griselda– a complex allegory about the constancy of the Christian soul done with such ravishing tenderness that it becomes a highlight.. Chaucer’s work is all about the journey: Northern Broadsides make the arrival truly transporting as well.”The Guardian

“a stunning production”
The Stage

“Nelson’s direction is awe inspiring. He moves his sixteen players like a chess grandmaster.. Wonderful stuff. We see the stories flow by and are delighted by them, the ensemble and each actor as he or she takes the opportunity to shine. Shine they do! this is a tip-top cast….There is a sense of contemporary and historical rightness about this show, Broadsides would do worse than bring it back every two or three years. It shows our culture and national character in a good light. And it’s a smashing night in the theatre.”
The British Theatre Guide

“Nelson plays to Broadsides’ traditional strengths; equal relish for the sound and meaning of language; robust, bravura ensemble acting with individual colour and an eye for audience interaction; a wooden set full of delightful surprises; and brass, string and percussive music by Nelson that sweeps from Dixieland jazz to a hymnal finale of exquisite beauty by candlelight.”
York Press

“From Geoffrey Chaucer’s very earnest opening to the captivating harmonies of the final scene in Canterbury Cathedral, Northern Broadsides’ production is a joyful celebration of this 600-year-old story.The show is bursting at the seams with colourful characters and their bawdy tales…..this is a pilgrimage that delights from start to end.”
Liverpool Daily Post

“In many ways Chaucer and Broadsides go together like the proverbial fish and chips, and the only surprise is they haven’t enjoyed each other’s ribald storytelling company more.”
Liverpool Echo

The Canterbury Tales

The following two paintings were created during the rehearsal period for The Canterbury Tales in co-production with our friends at The New Vic Theatre.

Rob is a ‘Stokie’ whose national reputation has blossomed over the past few years. He has a terrific new catalogue of paintings inspired by his recent year-long boat trip around Britain’s inland waterways. The images are terrific and you can view his work here:

The Clerk's Tale By Rob Pointon

The Clerk’s Tale
By Rob Pointon

The first painting depicts, The Clerk’s Tale and features Rosie Jenkins and Richard Standing.












The second is, The Pardoner’s Tale, in which Richard Standing appears again along with Phil Corbitt, Matt Connor and Guy Lewis.

The Pardoner's Tale By Rob Pointon

The Pardoner’s Tale
By Rob Pointon