Northern Broadsides’ vision is to collaborate in promoting healthy and vibrant communities in the North by sharing powerful stories made by and for its diverse people.

We do this by co-creating touring and place-making theatre that breaks down social, geographic and economic barriers.

Everything we do is:




Although we tour nationally, our home is Calderdale and we consider the artists and audiences living and working in the North to be our creative community.

In the 1990s, Northern Broadsides were one of the first companies to ever use Northern actors to play Shakespeare’s Kings, Queens and Emperors –  not just playing the drunken porters, jesters, or fools, as was the trend back then. 

Listen to our Northern Voice podcast to hear more about the start of the company (Episode 1 – Non-velvet spaces). 


Our first ever production was Richard III – The White Boar was the personal device or badge of King Richard III. So now you know. Nobody knows why he’s quite so grumpy.



The Northern Voice is not a singular dialect or accent. The classics don’t belong to any one region, or voice – they’re part of our common culture.

Using regional Northern voices makes our performances engaging and immediate, allowing audiences to hear and appreciate the words like never before. Our work brings words to life by celebrating the poetry of language and creates a rapport between actor and audience.

The texts have a timeless resonance, no matter when they were first written. 


Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE
Stephanie Cole OBE
Sir Tom Courtenay
Prof Edith Hall
Mike Harding
Rachel Harris
Roger Harvey OBE
Sir Lenny Henry CBE
Blake Morrison
Meera Syal CBE

Alicia McKenzie in Quality Street Rehearsals
Quality Street Rehearsal Photos
Quality Street Rehearsal Photos
Read about our Awards

2017 Executive Director Sue Andrews awarded WGGB Olwen Wymark Theatre Encouragement Award

Nominated by Writers Guild of Great Britain member playwright Deborah McAndrew (An August Bank Holiday Lark and the 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”.

2015 Actor and director Barrie Rutter awarded OBE for services to Drama in Queen’s New Year’s honour list

Barrie Rutter said “After weeks of zipped lips it’s a relief and a pleasure to share the news, especially with nearest and dearest. To be awarded an OBE is a great honour and one which I am delighted to receive. Huge gratitude to those who nominated and championed me and also to my colleagues, friends and audiences of Northern Broadsides whom I share this award with.” 

2015 Manchester Theatre Awards – Best New Play
AN AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY LARK by Deborah McAndrew, a Northern Broadsides production in partnership with New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme on tour.

2014 Manchester Theatre Awards – Best Actress in a Visiting Production
Catherine Kinsella, Rutherford & Son

2014 UK Theatre Award Winner – Best New Play
AN AUGUST BANK HOLIDAY LARK by Deborah McAndrew, a Northern Broadsides production in partnership with New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme on tour.

2013 A Night at the Awards – Best Actor
Barrie Rutter, Rutherford & Son

2013 A Night at the Awards – Best Supporting Actress
Sara Poyzer, Rutherford & Son

2010 The Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Award
Presented to Barrie Rutter “For outstanding achievement in extending the appreciation and enjoyment of the works of William Shakespeare or in the general advancement of Shakespearean knowledge and understanding.”

2009 London Evening Standard Theatre Award
To Lenny Henry – Outstanding Newcomer Award – Othello

2006 Honorary Doctorate from the University of Huddersfield
To Barrie Rutter for his outstanding achievement with Northern Broadsides Theatre Company

2005 Honorary Doctorate from University of Bradford
Awarded to Barrie Rutter for his distinctive contribution as founder and director of Northern Broadsides.

2003 Shakespeare’s Globe Sam Wanamaker Award
To Barrie Rutter for his productions of Shakespeare.

2001 Honorary Doctorate from University of Hull

Awarded to Barrie Rutter for his services to theatre.

2000 Creative Briton Award
Barrie Rutter – Overall Winner.

2000 Liverpool Echo Arts Award
Best Visiting Production – Much Ado About Nothing.

1996 Prudential Award for the Arts

Commendation – Theatre.

1996 Manchester Evening News Award
Director Award to Barrie Rutter.
Best Visiting Production: The Cracked Pot.

1995 British Regional Theatre Award
Best Director: Barrie Rutter.
For Northern Broadsides’ A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Cracked Pot

1994 Manchester Evening News Theatre Award
Best supporting performance in a visiting production. – to John Branwell (Bottom) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

1994 Shakespeare Globe Classic Award – The Tyrone Guthrie Award
To Barrie Rutter for A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Best Production.

1993 Time Out Magazine
To Barrie Rutter and Northern Broadsides for giving fresh voice to classical texts and making them more accessible to a wider audience.

1992 Independent on Sunday Stage Performance of the Year
To Barrie Rutter for his title role in Richard III.

We have also received many nominations over the years.