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Rutherford & Son


By Githa Sowerby
Edited for Northern Broadsides by Blake Morrison

Directed by Sir Jonathan Miller and designed by Isabella Bywater
Rutherford & Son  stars the company’s Artistic Director Barrie Rutter in the lead role of John Rutherford.

★★★★ The Guardian

★★★★ The Times

★★★★ Daily Telegraph

★★★★ whatsonstage


Rutherford & Son is again a must-see, worth-debating event. –
The Daily Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

Miller’s production is beautifully attentive to the play’s richness of ideas and complexity of moods –
Daily Telegraph (Dominic Cavendish)

Barrie Rutter was born to play the role of Rutherford –
The Guardian (Alfred Hickling)

A superb production – whatsonstage (Michael Coveney)

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Your father is a control freak The family business is a millstone round your neck Home feels like a prison And yet you have dreams
This powerful drama written and set in the North of England, 1912, is an unflinching portrayal of an industrial Edwardian family on the brink of collapse. John Rutherford is a tyrannical patriarch, blind to the hopes and feelings of his family. The success of the family-owned glass works, Rutherford & Son, takes precedence over everything … even happiness.
In a household run on fear cracks begin to appear. The emotional pitch builds up like a pressure cooker. The dramatic voltage intensifies as Rutherford’s absolute authority is challenged and a catastrophic family mutiny begins to unfold, threatening to destroy his world and his factory.Ranked by the National Theatre as one of the Top One Hundred Plays of the Century, there are few dramas as deeply human, uncompromising and immediately rewarding as this. Northern Broadsides, directed for the first time by the renowned director Sir Jonathan Miller, bring its trademark gritty, no nonsense performance style to this astonishing play that sees Artistic Director, Barrie Rutter, taking the role of the imperious John Rutherford.

“One of the nation’s most acclaimed and fiercely intelligent directors.”   BBC NEWS

“One of the top one hundred plays of the century.”  National Theatre poll

Nicholas Shaw (A Provincial Life, National Theatre of Wales and John Fisher in Land Girls, BBC)
as John Rutherford Jr
Andrew Grose (Rainman, English Theatre Frankfurt)
as Richard Rutherford
Sara Poyzer (Othello, Northern Broadsides)
as Janet
Kate Anthony (Pam Hobsworth in Coronation Street)
as Ann
Catherine Kinsella (We are Three Sisters, Northern Broadsides)
as Mary
Richard Standing (Swallows & Amazons, Bristol Old Vic)
as Martin
Gilly TompkinsGilly Tompkins – as Mrs Henderson.  This is Gilly’s first production for Northern Broadsides.


The production is designed by Isabella Bywater, who has worked regulary with Sir Jonathan, as well as productions for Nicholas Hytner, Deborah Warner and Lucy Bailey. Lighting will be designed by Guy Hoare (Othello, Northern Broadsides)

Set in early 1912, Rutherford & Son tells the story of iron-fisted John Rutherford as he battles the scheming rebellion of his younger son and his daughter’s scandalous love-affair, while fighting to prevent the legacy of the family glassworks from shattering. Tackling timeless issues of family dynamics both at home and in business, this remarkable drama is as relevant today as it was when it was first performed.

Rutherford & Son will open at the Viaduct Theatre, Halifax from 8-16 February and will then visit Dukes, Lancaster, Oxford Playhouse; Hull Truck Theatre; New Vic Theatre, Stoke; Rose Theatre, Kingston; Watford Palace Theatre; West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds; Theatre Royal, Winchester; Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough; The Lowry, Salford Quays; and Liverpool Playhouse and York Theatre Royal. Press night will be on Wednesday 13 February at the Viaduct Theatre, Halifax.