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Formed in 1992 by Artistic Director Barrie Rutter, Northern Broadsides is a multi-award winning touring company based in the historic Dean Clough Mill in Halifax, West Yorkshire.  We are delighted to be one of the key National Portfolio Organisations in receipt of ACE funding.

The company has built up a formidable reputation, our repertoire combines Shakespeare, European and English Classic plays and new writing. Productions are noted for their distinctive northern voice, strong musicality and clear narrative journey.  Northern Broadsides’ unique theatrical voice is inventive, invigorating, and accessible to all.

Since 1992, we have toured the UK and built up a large following in many regular venues such as WYP, Stephen Joseph Theatre, New Vic, The Rose, The Lowry and often in unconventional locations such as The Tower of London, cattle markets, churches, indoor riding stables and Victorian mills.

Northern Broadsides continues to delight audiences nationally and internationally.

“…here is the true, beating heart of British theatre.” Michael Coveney, The Daily Mail


Emma Rice, Artistic Director Designate, welcomes three new Associate Companies to the Globe:

“I have always valued community. In the theatre the audience and actors form a temporary community, in the rehearsal room artists build strong and sometimes lifelong bonds, and in the wider world, a community of ‘fellow adventurers’ often find themselves colliding surprisingly across the planet. These ‘fellow adventurers’ remind us that we are not alone and that we are part of an national and international theatre landscape. At The Globe we will always choose to look outwards and, in the spirit of this outward gaze, I have asked three companies to become Associate Companies:

Kneehigh of Cornwall, Northern Broadsides of Halifax and Vesturport of Reykjavik. These three companies represent our commitment to, and support of, the amazing work of our national and International colleagues.

I look forward to working with all of these companies over the coming years and welcoming them to Shakespeare’s Globe. We will explore new models of partnership, support each other’s artistic ambitions and create a new community!”

  • Testimonial

    Barrie Rutter OBE

    Founder & Artistic Director

    About Barrie Rutter OBE

    Born in 1946, the son of a Hull fishworker, Rutter grew up in a two-up two-down on the Hessle Road, the fishdock area of Hull, around the corner from Tom Courtney.

    At school, an English teacher frogmarched him into the school play because he had “the gob for it”, and feeling at home on stage, Rutter chose his future direction. There followed a period at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama and many years in the National Youth Theatre culminating in The Apprentices’ by Peter Tierson – a role specially written for him, a practice to be repeated later in his career.

    Seasons at the RSC in Stratford, London and Europe completed the 1970s. In 1980 he joined the National Theatre, a formative period. He met and worked closely with a poet who was to become his guru, Tony Harrison. Rutter performed in all three of Harrison’s adaptations, all written for the Northern voice: The Mysteries, The Orestia, and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus. In Trackers, the part of Silenus was written especially for Rutter. It was this experience of performing in the northern voice that germinated the idea for Northern Broadsides.

    Trackers toured to a wool-combing shed in Salts Mill, three miles north of Bradford. This was to be Rutter’s ‘Damascus’. He was deeply affected by the raw emotion of speaking to a northern audience in a northern voice in a classical play.

    His agent suggested Rutter start his own company, and so he did. In 1992 Northern Broadsides was founded.

    His theatre work includes:~

    For the Royal Shakespeare Company:~ Henry IV, Henry V, Coriolanus and The Taming of the Shrew.

    For the Royal National Theatre:~ The Mysteries, The Crucible, Guys and Dolls, The Oresteia, The Rivals, Animal Farm, Martine and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus .

  • Testimonial

    Sue Andrews

    Executive Director

    About Sue Andrews

    Sue joined the company in 1993.

    Sue is responsible for all tour programming, finance and day to day running of the company.

    After training and working for a number of years as an actor in the early 70’s, Sue was invited to join a newly formed microfilm service company as office manager, using the secretarial skills she had acquired before drama school.  The business developed into one of the most successful of its kind. She left the company after the birth of her first child which coincided with a move to the north of England.

    Sue met Barrie Rutter in 1993 when he was with the National Theatre production of Trackers of Oxyrhynchus which toured to Bradford and where the idea of Northern Broadsides was born. The company was initially supported by Bradford Theatres for the first production – a 6 week tour of Richard III. After the tour, Sue volunteered to assist Barrie in organising the next production and before very long found herself raising funds in order to support a full time admin post which she has held ever since.

    “I have been extremely fortunate in being able to combine my experience and love of theatre with that of growing a small business, which has helped develop Northern Broadsides into the well respected and successful company it is today.”  Sue Andrews

  • Testimonial

    Conrad Nelson

    Artistic Development Director and Composer

    About Conrad Nelson

    Conrad’s acting career spans over twenty years and boasts a vast body of work in repertory and touring theatre in radio, television and film. He has also built a reputation as a dramatic composer and has written music for theatre, television and radio. His longest association by far has been with Northern Broadsides as actor, composer or director on almost every production.

    For Northern Broadsides, work includes:

    Othello, The Tempest, Wars of the Roses TrilogySweet William, Comedy of Errors, AntigoneKing John, The Merry Wives, Much Ado About Nothing, The Mysteries 2000, King Lear, The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus, Samson AgonistesRomeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Kaisers of Carnuntum and Poetry or Bust. Title roles in Oedipus, Henry V and Richard III.

    Other theatre includes work at The Royal National Theatre, The New Vic, Octagon Theatre Bolton, Lyric Hammersmith, Young Vic, Leicester Haymarket and touring with companies including Cheek by Jowl and Renaissance.

    TV includes: The Street, Apparitions, Coronation Street, Without Motive, Waterloo Road, and Only Fools and Horses.

    Radio includes: A Kind of Loving, Sense and Sensibility, Yerma, The Age of InnocenceSilas Marner, Reeds in the Wind, Nosferatu and a Doll’s House.

    Films include: Dancin’ Thru the Dark, Much Ado About Nothing.

    Conrad’s directorial debut as Resident Director for Broadsides was Deborah McAndrew’s acclaimed new adaptation of the famous gothic melodrama The Bells, followed by: Vacuum, Blake Morrison’s Lisa’s Sex Strike, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, The Canterbury Tales, adapted by Mike Poulton, George Orwell’s 1984, adapted by Nick Lane, Hamlet and A Government Inspector and The Grand Gesture, both adapted by Deborah McAndrew.

    Other directing work includes: Oleanna for The New Vic Theatre, Newcastle under Lyme, A Christmas Carol for the Octagon Theatre Bolton, Vacuum for Esk Valley Theatre, Strange Voyagers for Victoria Hall, Broken Time for Three Stones Media, Ballroom Blitz for Hull Truck and Ugly Duck for Claybody Theatre.

  • Testimonial

    Kay Packwood

    Creative Projects Development Manager

    About Kay Packwood

    Kay decided to go to university in her mid 20’s after a friend asked her what she was doing with her life!  On completing a Drama and English Literature BA Hons Degree at St Johns, York, her career in the arts industry began working freelance for various companies.

    Kay got her first job with Northern Broadsides on her 30th birthday starting as re-lighter and went on to design lights for various productions.  Kay is now the Creative Projects Development Manager and acts as the Production Manager as well as general doer of stuff.

    As Production Manager she ensures the delivery of the artistic programme through planning and physical realisation of each production in accordance with financial and administrative policies and procedures; as Creative Projects Development Manager she is responsible for developing opportunities which enhance the company’s creative offer.

Dean CloughDean Clough Mills, HalifaxRichard 3 Tower of LondonRichard III, Tower of London, 1994

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