Vision and Mission

At Northern Broadsides, we want to bring the world’s classic texts (and new ones) to life, with a northern twist. Everything we do is inspired by the diverse voices, cultures and heritage found here in the North. We believe that theatre can inspire change, support diversity, and help people to understand the world we live in a little better. We want our work to reach as many audiences as possible, and engage everyone regardless of their social or economic background. No matter who you are, we hope our productions will bring you insight, knowledge, and – most importantly – entertainment.


Language & The Northern Voice

Our identity is rooted in the voice of the North of England, a dialect and accent that’s full of energy, character and warmth. The classics don’t belong to any one region, accent or voice – they’re part of our common culture. Using regional voices makes our performances more engaging and immediate, allowing audiences to hear and appreciate the words like never before. Our work brings words to life by celebrating the language of poetry and creating a rapport between actor and audience. The texts have a timeless resonance, no matter when they were first written.


“Northern voices, doing classical work in non-velvet spaces.”   Barrie Rutter

Founded by Barrie Rutter in 1992, Northern Broadsides is an artist-led touring theatre company with a difference. For the past 26+ years, we have created fantastically original, creative and witty productions from our home in Dean Clough, Halifax, earning the acclaim and applause of audiences, critics and industry experts alike.

Our repertoire mixes together adaptations of classical plays, with a strong focus on Shakespeare, and new texts from today’s most talented and inventive writers. 


“A powerful combination of artistry, drama and unpretentious interpretation that gives an extra dimension to anything they care to present.” – Audience member

Barrie Rutter OBE acted in Tony Harrison’s adaptations of The Mysteries, The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus and The Orestia for the National Theatre. He was inspired by the raw emotional effect of speaking to a northern audience in a northern voice while performing a classical play. And so the idea for Northern Broadsides was born. He assembled some of the Trackers cast and officially set up the company in 1992.

Shakespeare’s Richard III, the first performance we staged, toured unusual locations like the West Yorkshire Transport Museum in Bradford, the Marina Boatshed in Hull and Middleham Castle in North Yorkshire.

Our deeply northern aesthetic and choice of weird and wonderful venues have carried on exciting critics and audiences ever since. 








Artistic Director/CEO 

Laurie Sansom is a British Theatre Director from East Peckham and before his appointment at Northern Broadsides, was Artistic Director / Chief Executive of the National Theatre of Scotland, Artistic Director of Royal and Derngate (Northampton) and Associate Director to Alan Aykbourn at Stephen Joseph Theatre.

Executive Director

Kay is responsible for all tour programming and day to day running of the company.

Finance Officer and Friends Coordinator (Part time)

Katie manages the day to day finances of the company and run the Friends of Northern Broadsides membership scheme.

Marketing Manager (Part-time)

Jess organises all the marketing for our productions. She also works on our audience development initiatives and works closely with tour venues on promoting our productions.

Production Assistant

Georgia oversees the day-to-day tasks at Northern Broadsides and works closely with our Artistic Director, engaging in research and helping to develop our shows.

Project Coordinator

Creative Engagement Producer


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.



Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE
Stephanie Cole OBE
Sir Tom Courtenay
Prof Edith Hall
Mike Harding
Roger Harvey OBE
Sir Lenny Henry CBE
Blake Morrison
Dame Ingrid Roscoe DCVO, FSA
The Rt. Hon. Lord Shutt of Greetland OBE, FCA
Meera Syal CBE


Chair: Rachel L Harris

Steve Bonfield, Nicky Chance-Thompson, Emma Goodway, Sarah Horne, Grant Stott, Rebecca Yorke.