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NEWS:

Northern Broadsides Executive Director Sue Andrews to receive prestigious award

Northern Broadsides is delighted to announce that their Executive Director Sue Andrews has won the prestigious WGGB OLWEN WYMARK THEATRE ENCOURAGEMENT AWARDS 2017.

The Olwen Wymark Awards, the brainchild of playwright Mark Ravenhill, were set up to give WGGB (Writers Guild of Great Britain) members the opportunity to publicly thank those who had given them a positive experience in new writing over the previous year.

They are named in honour of playwright Olwen Wymark, passionate supporter of WGGB and former Chair of the WGGB Theatre Committee, who died in 2013.

Nominated by WGGB member playwright Deborah McAndrew (An August Bank Holiday Lark and the forthcoming new adaptation of Charles Dickens Hard Times) for her support since Deborah’s first production for Northern Broadsides in 2004.

Deborah McAndrew said: “I have had eight plays produced by Northern Broadsides and Sue’s encouragement and hard work on my behalf has been fantastic throughout. She reads every draft and is unshakeable in her support of the writer.

“Sue’s determination in recent years that all new work for the company should be published has meant that four of my plays have been published by Methuen, including the 2017 production of my adaptation of Cyrano de Bergerac. I know that Sue was also behind the commissioning of An August Bank Holiday Lark, which won ‘best new play’ awards for me in 2014.

“She has made so much of my work possible from the very beginning right up to the present time and receives little or no public recognition for everything she does.

Sue, who has been with Northern Broadsides since its formation in 1992 will be stepping down from her role as Executive Director later this year.

Sue Andrews said about receiving her award: “I am delighted to be receiving this award. It is always exciting to commission a new play and a joy to see it on a stage but for me, nothing quite beats having the final, published edition in my hand which gives the play a permanence and possible future life. It is a privilege to be a small part in this process and it is only possible in the first place because of the huge and enviable talent of the writer.”

Sue will receive the award at The Writers’ Guild of Great Britain (WGGB) annual awards for the encouragement of new writing at the Royal Court Theatre, London, on Friday 2 February 2018.

PATRONS
Northern Broadsides are delighted to announce that actors Sir Lenny Henry CBE, Sir Tom Courtenay, Stephanie Cole OBE, Meera Syal CBE, Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE and playwrights Mike Poulton and Blake Morrison will be joining the award winning Yorkshire theatre company as Patrons.

Hard Times
Opening: Viaduct Theatre Halifax – 16-24 February
National tour: 27 Feb- 26 May 2018

Hard Times By Charles Dickens

A new adaptation by Deborah McAndrew (Winner of UK Theatre Award Best New Play – An August Bank Holiday Lark)

Directed by Conrad Nelson
Designed by Dawn Allsopp
Lighting by Mark Howland
Musical director Rebekah Hughes

Coming this February, the premiere of Deborah McAndrew’s  witty new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ great Northern novel of repression and longing Hard Times.

Imagine a world where imagination is forbidden. Coketown is such a place. Thomas Gradgrind will not permit fanciful thoughts in his school or his home. But what effect will this policy have on his own children, Tom and Louisa? How can he protect them from corrupting influences – especially when the circus comes to town?

Dark satanic mills, interrupted by the colour and vibrancy of Sleary’s Circus, set the stage for a sweeping tale of suppressed love, seduction and social mores, peopled with the sharply observed exaggerated characters that Dickens is celebrated for.

Playwright Deborah McAndrew said about adapting the classic tale:

‘I’ve always admired Hard Times – Dickens’ one truly Northern novel. The title is a bit off putting, giving the impression of a story that is relentlessly grim. However, it’s full of all the usual brilliant Dickens characters, and lots of very good jokes. It’s also a life affirming story, and a manifesto against a dry, utilitarian approach to education and human discourse in general.

At his school Mr Gradgrind insists on facts and only facts. His pupils and his own children are not just limited, but psychologically and emotionally damaged by the exclusion of the Arts from their education and their lives. In the 21st Century, with our own education system increasingly focused on a core of fact based subjects at the expense of music, drama and art, this tale seems as pertinent as ever – and Hard Times might just as well be called ‘Our Times’.

Director Conrad Nelson added:

Nestled amongst the charcoal-etched towers of Dicken’s fictional Coketown sit the bold stripes of Ringmaster Sleary’s Gilliam-like circus tent. Hoop-la! It is in this vibrant three-ringed arena that we set our play and where we celebrate life, risk, adventure and the power of imagination.

Audiences will meet the characters below a big top where the flames of a circus fire-eater become the flaming coals of the inscrutable young Louise Gradgrind as she stares into the fire, searching for something within herself that she knows is missing, and where the taught line of the tightrope walker becomes the precarious strand of Stephen Blackpool’s happiness between an ill-advised early marriage and the promise of a future with the true love of his life.

In Deborah McAndrew’s witty and imaginative adaptation, we maintain all the humour and pathos of the original novel, presented with a lightness of touch in a clear and fluent drama.

It might be grim up north in Coketown, but this is a place populated by the most colourful personalities that you’re ever likely to meet. Broadsides’ vibrant performance style and musical verve and wit are best suited to deliver Charles Dickens at his popular best. Northern Broadsides – not for gradgrinds.”

The Captive Queen
Friday 2 February – Sunday 4 March 2018
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Directed by Barrie Rutter
Designed by Jessica Worrall
This timely story of passion, politics and patriarchy is a reimagining of John Dryden’s Restoration drama, Aureng-zebe (1675). The Captive Queen is set in the late 20th century during the last days of the great woollen mills of the north of England, but retains a flavour of Dryden’s original Mughal Indian setting. The original score by Niraj Chag re-creates the rhythms of war, of workmanship, and of India, providing the backdrop for the regular beat of Dryden’s rhyming couplets, which echo the relentless whirring of the machines.

BARRIE RUTTER OBE TO STEP DOWN AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Founder and artistic director Barrie Rutter OBE will step down in April 2018 after leading the company for twenty-five years.

Rutter’s final productions for Northern Broadsides will be the forthcoming world premiere of For Love or Money, Blake Morrison’s new adaptation of Alain Rene Lesage’s French comedy Turcaret which will open at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax in September and then tour until December 2017.

In January 2018, Rutter will direct the Shakespeare’s Globe and Northern Broadsides co-production of The Captive Queen at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, in which he will also appear as the Emperor.

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