Northern Broadsides: Freelancers are the lifeblood of the Theatre industry. It’s time we put them in the spotlight.
There are just three weeks remaining to enjoy Northern Broadsides’ Digital Squad project, which exhibits the diversity of the Northern experience of lockdown, in short films created by freelance artists.
A diverse range of Northern freelancers from Newcastle to Liverpool are in the spotlight in Northern Broadsides’ online Digital Squad project, which archives the multifarious experiences of lockdown throughout the North. All pieces were created by freelance theatre artists, a group who have faced unemployment and uncertainty throughout lockdown.
Some campaigners, namely #FreelancersMakeTheatreWork, have called out the ‘pitiful funding figure’ allocated to freelance theatre artists, who make up 70% of the industry, and have warned that huge numbers of workers will be forced to leave the industry without more support.
Northern Broadsides join the ‘Moving Forward Together’ campaign, working with Freelancers Make Theatre Work to explore imaginative ways to work with freelance communities, to develop new digital content and to realise the full potential of Arts Council funding. Only half of the current £59m Project Fund is available to individuals, therefore it is only through organisations committing to collaborations with freelancers that this money can be accessed productively.
On the importance of freelance commissions for artists, Artistic Director Laurie Sansom said;
‘Digital Squad reflects the huge diversity of freelancers across the North who want to be making work now about this time of crisis and the change that must follow. These voices are sometimes angry, other times vulnerable, often irreverent and always compassionate, and together they create an imaginative record of a society in lockdown. At Broadsides we are looking to support more freelance artists to make work in new ways as we all try to respond to a rapidly changing world’.
The company, when not in lockdown, are famous for producing bold, radical and accessible productions of classic and new plays, and were touring J.M. Barrie’s Quality Street when Theatres were forced to close in March this year. Eight additional Digital Squad videos were written and performed by the Quality Street company, including actors Dario Coates, Alicia McKenzie and Jim English.
Notable pieces from the project include a short film telling the story of a clinician whose public and social struggles with wearing her burqa change during the pandemic, written by award-winning playwright, director and producer Marjorie H Morgan. Stockport-based Nana-Kofi Kufuor produced a piece about a social worker and a mother suffering with domestic abuse in lockdown.
Also from Liverpool, blind writer Mandy Redvers-Rowe created SnapShots; a series of films which explore non-visual beauty, creating pictures with words.
On her inspiration for the films, Redvers-Rowe said,
‘When we went into lockdown and our everyday landscapes changed so dramatically, my instinct was to somehow try to capture these images, take photographs, snapshots. Pictures tell stories, evoke memories, allow us to re-live specific moments in time. But of course, words can do this as well’
Disabled writer and performance artist gobscure, from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, performed monologues from the back yard of his council flat. Broadsides were proud to present the commission as an example of their commitment to supporting work created by disabled artists.
gobscure said, on the importance of the commission for freelance disabled artists:
‘Let’s have plural narratives. Let’s talk in different ways. Just talking to disabled people, asking ‘What can you do? What would you like to? What are you interested in?’’
The company have reached thousands of new audiences through their digital work, and are continuing to explore how they can work with freelance artists across the North. They will soon announce a second round of commissions and are asking for donations to enable them to support freelance theatre workers who are struggling to get work amidst thousands of theatre closures. Donations can be made online at: www.northern-broadsides.co.uk/support/
Northern Broadsides’ Digital Squad videos are available to watch at northern-broadsides.co.uk/digital-squad until Monday 31 August 2020.
Some very sad news
We are saddened to learn of the deaths of our much-loved supporters and friends, Dame Ingrid Roscoe and Tony Gartland.
Dame Ingrid Roscoe was one of our valued patrons, and Tony Gartland a previous member of our Board. We thank them for their support of the company and send our heartfelt condolences to their families at this difficult time.
NORTHERN BROADSIDES NEWS
Thousands of Calderdale residents celebrate the region becoming a Valley of Sanctuary
Artworks is inviting thousands of people living in Calderdale to make a creative expression of their lives to celebrate the region becoming a Valley of Santuary; a culture of hospitality and welcome for Refugees and Asylum Seekers.
Artworks, a Halifax-based not-for-profit organisation who provide opportunity and engagement with art for all, are calling out to people living in Calderdale to provide a heartwarming insight into what it means to be here, in this place, at this time. Their callout says:
“People of Calderdale, here we are. Wherever you’re from, whatever communities you’re part of, we are all united in being in the same place at this unique moment in time. Who are you? What do you imagine? For yourself, this place, and the future?”
Any form or creative expression is welcome, from drawing to writing, song to dance. Submissions received will be brought together and turned into a series of beautiful creative responses shared during Refugee Week, from 15 – 20 June. These include an audio visual collage by Artworks, a live theatre performance from Stand Up Be Counted and live artwork at The Piece Hall. People living in Calderale can take part by making something about them and sending it to Artworks before 5 June by text or email to join thousands of other contributions from across the valley.
WhatsApp / Text: 07914863892 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, age and postcode.
This project is made possible by The Community Foundation for Calderdale and Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council Support and Integration Fund as well as emergency funding from Arts Council England. It is delivered in partnership with St Augustine’s Centre and the Valley of Sanctuary with the theatre performance and audio visual collage commissioned by Northern Broadsides.
NORTHERN BROADSIDES NEWS
Northern Broadsides announce nine winners of £1k commissions for Northern theatre makers
The Halifax-based theatre company continue to create new work throughout lockdown in the form of short videos by a diverse range of Northern actors and playwrights responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Northern Broadsides Theatre Company have today announced the nine winners of their Digital Squad commissions, each of whom will be creating new work for the company in response to life in the current global pandemic. The winners cover a large area of the North of England, including:
BBC1 Xtra Monologue competition winner Nana-Kofi Kufuor has previously been commissioned by Box of Tricks Theatre Company, Red Ladder Theatre Company and Oldham Coliseum and will produce a piece about a social worker and a mother, questioning what those in poverty and fear do to survive during the pandemic.
Hebden Bridge, Calderdale
Multidisciplinarty arts company Northern Rascals (under the artistic direction of Anna Holmes and Sam Ford) will create a thought-provoking dance piece highlighting the effects of Covid-19 on young people. The piece will be co-devised alongside young people aged 16-24.
Marjorie H Morgan is an award-winning playwright, director and producer based in Liverpool. Her work explores the theme of ‘Home,’ and will tell the story of clinician Dr Areema Waqar whose public and social struggles with wearing her burqa changes during the global pandemic.
Mandy Redvers-Rowe, a disabled writer and performer whose work has appeared on BBC Radio 4 and BBC1, will be working with the Quality Street acting company to perform a series of word-pictures demonstrating unique snapshots of the physical and emotional impact of social distancing, taken throughout a world in lockdown.
Writer, performer and director Daniel Bye (Going Viral, The Price of Everything), whose new show These Hills Are Ours was in the third week of a three-month tour when all UK Theatres closed, will be exploring intimacy and contact in a live online performance between two unprepared performers who meet for the first time on camera. This piece is a co-commission with Absolutely Cultured.
Millie Gaston set up her theatre company, Brainchild Theatre, in 2019 which has been supported by Harrogate Theatre, Leeds Playhouse and Arts Council England. Dedicated to creating female-led work, Gaston will be exploring a world connected solely by social media, asking who we become after we spend 2020 hidden behind a screen.
Writer-performer-artist gobscure, whose last play Joey toured nationally in 2019 and was named Best North-East Experiment (British Theatre Guide), will perform monologues from the back garden of a Tyneside council flat, and will experiment with the Japanese notion of tree-bathing.
Lancashire / Leeds
Junior doctor Benedict Hughes and writer Janine Swarbrick will help the public gain an insight into challenges faced by a Junior Doctor on the front line in the fight against COVID-19 in the form of a sonnet cycle about a working day at Leeds General Infirmary.
Alex Slater, Rosie Fleeshman, Stephanie Rutherford and Jack Taylor-Wood from Nothing to Declare Productions will tell the story of a high rise block of flats in the heart of Salford, where residents of Ivory Rise meet online for their monthly neighbourhood watch meeting. A short film examining how quickly fear can turn to blame as ‘the new normal’ becomes reality.
Northern Broadsides’ Artistic Director Laurie Sansom said,
“We were inundated with so many intriguing proposals by 99 talented artists from across the North. It meant it was incredibly difficult to settle on a final nine, but we believe these short films will capture a snapshot of the North in lockdown, and ask some challenging questions about a world that will never be the same again”.
This new project comes after Broadsides’ UK tour of the J.M. Barrie play Quality Street was halted due to the closure of all UK theatres on 20 March, in the fight against the spread of Coronavirus.
Quality Street, the play which inspired the name of the chocolates that have been made in the company’s hometown since 1936, had just arrived at the Liverpool Playhouse when the closures were announced.
The name Digital Squad is fitting, following Broadsides’ commitment that each of their touring productions will be co-created with a local community group. Regency rom-com Quality Street, for example, was co-created with five of the factory workers from Halifax, where the chocolates are made.
The actors who were due to perform on the Quality Street tour have each been bringing their talents to the screen throughout lockdown and have posted videos of their own, sharing their own experiences and reflections on lockdown with Broadsides’ eager audiences.
The videos range from films about taking inspiration from the nature around us, a grandmother trying to connect with her daughter online throughout lockdown and stories of immigration from Jamaica to the North of England in the 1960s.
All videos are uploaded on Thursdays at
Top, left to right: Mandy Redvers-Rowe, Daniel Bye, gobscure, Nana-Kofi Kufuor, Millie Gaston, Marjorie H Morgan
Bottom, left to right: Benedict Hughes, Janine Swarbrick, Nothing to Declare Productions (Alex Slater, Rosie Fleeshman, Stephanie Rutherford and Jack Taylor-Wood), and Northern Rascals (Anna Holmes and Sam Ford)
NORTHERN BROADSIDES NEWS
NORTHERN BROADSIDES ANNOUNCE NEW DIGITAL PROJECT
We are offering nine commissions worth £1,000, aimed at theatre makers struggling to make ends meet in these difficult times. It will be awarded to a diverse range of artists who best represent the entirety of the region and who have a bold and original proposal. Playwrights may wish to write a piece to be performed by our Quality Street acting company, whilst other theatre makers may wish to perform it themselves or use the medium in other ways. For full details on applications please click here.
Updated 24 March 2020, 11am
PERFORMANCES OF QUALITY STREET CURRENTLY SUSPENDED
On government advice, we are currently suspending performances of Quality Street, with most tour venues having announced their immediate closure. The venues will contact those with tickets booked to arrange refunds, although it may be possible for you to donate the cost of your ticket to the theatre to show your support to the industry at this difficult time. Further updates on the rest of the tour will be posted on our social media channels and website.
The reviews are in for Quality Street!
We are delighted to have received wonderful reviews for Quality Street. Here are the highlights:
★★★★ ‘a good-looking and well-pitched revival’ The Stage
★★★★ ‘A lot of giddy fun’ The Telegraph
‘delightful, playful, entertaining… what a splendid start for Laurie Sansom and his team’ The Yorkshire Times
‘Jessica Baglow is outstanding as Phoebe’ WhatsOnStage.com
‘JM Barrie’s bittersweet romcom is a treat’ The Guardian
Our thoughts are with Barrie Rutter
We are sending our thoughts and best wishes to our founder, Barrie Rutter OBE, who we are saddened to hear has been diagnosed with throat cancer. Everyone at Northern Broadsides is thinking of Barrie and his family and wishing him the best during his treatment.
Casting announced for Quality Street
Casting is today announced for Quality Street, Laurie Sansom’s debut production as Artistic Director of Northern Broadsides. The production, a rare revival of J.M. Barrie’s farce, will open in February 2020 in Halifax, the home of Quality Street, the UK’s most popular brand of chocolates. Barrie’s play was so popular in its day that it gave the chocolates their name.
Jessica Baglow (Macbeth, Jane Eyre) will play the title role of Phoebe Throssel and Dario Coates (The Rubenstein Kiss, Endeavour) as love interest, Valentine Brown. Further cast features Jim English (For Love Or Money, Richard III) as Fanny Willoughby/Arthur, John Gully (When We Are Married, The Merry Wives) as Recruiting Sergeant/Spicer/Georgy, Claire Hackett (East is East, All My Sons) as Patty, Louisa-May Parker (Sitcom Stories, If I Should Fall) as Susan Throssel, Alicia McKenzie (The Crucible, Blonde Bombshells) as Mary Willoughby, Sophie Mercell (Autumn, Passing) as Charlotte Parratt and Gabriel Paul (The Play That Goes Wrong, Queen of Chapeltown) as Ensign Blades/Isabella.
The show marks the beginning of a new producing model for Broadsides, with each production co-created with “creation squads” formed from the local community. For this production, the actors will collaborate with workers from the Quality Street factory, developing contemporary tales of hapless love and a live commentary that will frame the action of Barrie’s regency rom-com. As well as providing a modern lens through which to view Barrie’s story, Broadsides also aims to build long-lasting relationships between the employees and their local theatre company.
Quality Street will tour to Halifax, Salford, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, Leeds, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Hull, York, Lancaster, Bury St Edmunds, Guildford, Derby, Scarborough and Harrogate. Quality Street is directed by Laurie Sansom, with design by Jessica Worrall, lighting design by Joe Price and sound design by Nick Sagar.
Northern Broadsides Receive Grant from Community Foundation for Calderdale
We are delighted to announce that we have received a grant from Community Foundation for Calderdale to fund the work we will do with the employees of the Quality Street Factory in Halifax around our forthcoming show, Quality Street.
The Community Foundation for Calderdale supports hundreds of charities and voluntary groups across the borough, addressing inequalities and working together to help create opportunities for those that most need help.
Laurie Sansom’s first production for Northern Broadsides will be a revival of J.M. Barrie’s rarely performed farce Quality Street. The production will open in February 2020 in Halifax, the home of Quality Street, the UK’s most popular brand of chocolates. Barrie’s play was so popular in its day that it gave the chocolates their name.
For this production, the actors will collaborate with workers from the Quality Street factory, developing contemporary tales of hapless love and a live commentary that will frame the action of J.M. Barrie’s regency rom-com. As well as providing a modern lens through which to view Barrie’s story, Broadsides also aims to build long-lasting relationships between the employees and their local theatre company.
Northern Broadsides Announce New Productions
New Artistic Director, Laurie Sansom, today announced his first production for Northern Broadsides will be a revival of J.M. Barrie’s rarely performed farce Quality Street. The production will open in February 2020 in Halifax, the home of Quality Street™ the UK’s most popular brand of chocolates. Barrie’s play was so popular in its day that it gave the chocolates their name.
Phoebe Throssel lives on Quality Street, the bustling hub of a quaint northern town where she runs a school for unruly children.
Ten years since a tearful goodbye, an old flame returns from fighting Napoleon. But the look of disappointment on Captain Valentine’s face when he greets a more mature, less glamorous Phoebe, spurs our determined heroine to action.
She becomes the wild and sparkling Miss Livy, a younger alter-ego who soon entraps the clueless Captain. As their romance is rekindled, can she juggle both personas? Or will her deception scandalise the town and wreck any future with the man she loves?
This show marks the beginning of a new producing model for Broadsides, with each production being co-created with “creation squads” formed from the local community. For this production, the actors will collaborate with workers from the Quality Street™ factory, developing contemporary tales of hapless love and a live commentary that will frame the action of Barrie’s regency rom-com. As well as providing a modern lens through which to view Barrie’s story, Broadsides also aims to build long-lasting relationships between the employees and their local theatre company.
Northern Broadsides has a long-standing commitment to make bold, radical storytelling that is accessible to all. For the past 27 years, the company has created popular and witty productions in the ‘Northern voice’, and under its new Artistic Director it is reimagining what the ‘Northern voice’ means in today’s world. Sansom was previously the Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland, directing The James Plays trilogy in an unprecedented collaboration with the Edinburgh International Festival and the National Theatre of Great Britain and touring round the world. Previously he was Artistic Director at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, winning the inaugural Stage Regional Theatre of the Year in 2010, TMA Best Director, and producing a trilogy of new adaptations of classic plays as part of London 2012’s Cultural Olympiad.
The company’s home, Halifax, has recently been billed ‘The Shoreditch of the North’ and is booming with live events, film, food and drink festivals, independent shops and theatre, and has entered the public consciousness through the huge success of Sally Wainwright’s Gentleman Jack and Happy Valley. Two years ago, the extraordinary Piece Hall opened for business, a regency piazza returned to its former glory and now hosting major recording artists and other major events. The region is becoming a must-visit heritage destination and Northern Broadsides is playing a key role in this cultural renaissance.
Christmas 2019 will also see the company celebrating the festive season with a programme of folk songs and stories drawn from the Broadside Ballads published from the 1600s. Local folk singer Alice Jones will star in the fundraiser at The Viaduct Theatre, Dean Clough, alongside musicians who have been recently granted asylum in Halifax.
Quality Street will tour to Salford, Lancaster, Bury St Edmunds, Liverpool, Newcastle upon Tyne, Guildford, Derby, Leeds, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Scarborough, Harrogate, Huddersfield, Hull and York. Visit the What’s On page for tickets!
NORTHERN BROADSIDES NEWS
Friends of Northern Broadsides meet new AD Laurie Sansom
On 27 June, the Friends of Northern Broadsides were joined by industry professionals to say hello to Laurie Sansom for the first time in his capacity as Artistic Director of Northern Broadsides. The Evening with Laurie Sansom was an opportunity for the Friends to find out Laurie’s plans for the company and how he intends to honour the past whilst moving the company forwards. They were the first to hear what our Spring 2020 production will be – shh!
Broadsides alumni Cath Kinsella was on hand to quiz Laurie about his theatre career before we opened the questions to the audience. Folk singer and multi instrumentalist Alice Jones provided some wonderful music to close the evening.
We were delighted to see so many friendly faces all cheering Laurie on. Thanks to everyone for coming and to True North Restaurant for showcasing their Northern hospitality with some fantastic canapés.
Stay tuned for announcements on our upcoming productions!
Northern Broadsides to open prestigious Shakespeare Festival in Germany
(Photos by Christopher Krey)
We are delighted to announce that our acclaimed co-production with the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme of William Shakespeare’s glorious tale of antagonistic romance and chaotic comedy Much Ado About Nothing will be opening this year’s Shakespeare festival at The Globe Theatre in the German city of Neuss from the 14-16 June.
The prestigious festival– now is in its 29th year – will run in from 14 June to 13 July and will stage 33 performances of fifteen productions from France, Poland, Hungary, England and Germany. As well as the productions, there will be a Shakespeare Day for children, workshops for school pupils and teachers, and introductory presentations for the seven premieres scheduled to take place in Germany and on NRW radio.
Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Conrad Nelson said:
“As we career into continued uncertainty I take some solace in the knowledge that Arts organisations across European and the words of a 400 year old play can still form the foundations for an effective and enjoyable artistic partnership. Northern Broadsides absolutely delighted to be returning to the International Shakespeare festival in Neuss, with our critically acclaimed production of Much Ado about Nothing. Under the enthusiastic leadership of producer Dr Rainer Wiertz The Globe Theatre continues to flourish. My last visit in 2000 was playing the reluctant lover, ‘Benedick’ in the same play – the memories of which are vivid. In 2019 I return as Director and despite of all, I have no reluctance in hoping that our future cultural liaisons with Europe could be equally as bright.”
Dr. Rainer Wiertz, Artistic Director of the Festival added:
“The start of our festival is always a very special event, and we all are eagerly and curiously looking forward to your vibrant, explosive and dashing Much Ado About Nothing. We are very proud that you will participate in this year’s program!”
The Shakespeare Festival, which takes place annually in the early summer, is unique of its kind. Fans of Shakespeare’s dramatic, turbulent, witty plays make the journey to the Rhine from all over Germany and are inspired by the atmosphere. It’s relaxed and uncomplicated and the theatre companies from all four corners of the world contribute to this, bringing international flair to Neuss for four weeks of the year in June and July.
The Globe Neuss on the Rennbahn is a small-scale replica of Shakespeare’s 1599 theatre. The intimate horseshoe design brings the audience really close to the action, whether their seats are in the stalls or on one of the two raised tiers. A unique atmosphere is created by the lovingly designed ambiance, with its “(Shakes)beer garden” and its inviting foyer contributing to the festival’s very special quality.
The Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre co-production is currently on a national tour and will be visiting in the coming weeks Derby Theatre (26-30 March); Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds (2-6 April); Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield (16-20 Apr), Viaduct Theatre, Halifax (25 Apr-4 May), The Lowry Salford (7-11 May); York Theatre Royal (14-18 May) and Harrogate Theatre (21-25 May).
For more information visit www.shakespeare-festival.de
21st century technology to bring Shakespeare’s 16th century drama Much Ado About Nothing to life
Photos by Jenny Harper
21st century technology is bringing Shakespeare’s 16th century drama to life in an exciting new project launched by Northern Broadsides and its partners.
A brand new mobile app provides background information, learning resources and even drama exercises based on Shakespeare’s language and stagecraft. The app runs alongside the current touring co-production of Much Ado About Nothing by Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre. By scanning a map of Messina, where the action is based, students, audiences and lovers of the Bard can “lean in and listen” to the play’s back stories, immersing themselves in an interactive, augmented reality tour of key locations from the play.
As they move around the city through the screen of their mobile device, they can watch videos and listen to music, enhancing their understanding and enjoyment of the production, which is set in the 1940s after World War II. The app, which is available at the Apple and Android App Stores, and augmented reality content are the result of a collaboration between Northern Broadsides, Filament Projects, Stute Theatre and augmented reality specialists ooh-AR.
Further to the new app, actress Sophia Hatfield, who is playing Margaret and a member of the Watch in the show, has written A Muddle In Messina, a new storytelling piece aimed at school children aged 4 – 11, which will play in libraries alongside the tour. The interactive map and performance work in tandem to create a world of music, language and so much more. Everyone who attends A Muddle In Messina will receive a printed map so they can enjoy the Augmented Reality content on their very own devices. A pdf of the map is also available at www.norther-broadsides.co.uk. Download the Much Ado About Nothing AR app, print out the map and put it flat in front of you before scanning it.
Northern Broadsides Artistic Director Conrad Nelson said
This Spring we tour our critically acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s, Much Ado about Nothing. It’s been my desire to explore the effective marriage between digital content and the live theatre experience and I am delighted to be working with Filament Projects, Stute Theatre and Ooh-AR in launching our first interactive, augmented reality app. This will run in conjunction with the excellent Northern Broadsides on-line education pack written by award winning playwright, Deborah McAndrew and a new live show, Muddle in Messina, written by Sophia Hatfield. This production for 4-11 year olds will tour to libraries across the UK. It is an ambitious project that has received support from ACE and generous donations from trusts and individuals for which, many thanks.
Kay Packwood appointed permanent Executive Director of Northern Broadsides
“Following our recent recruitment process, The Board are delighted to announce the appointment of Kay Packwood as Executive Director. Kay’s passion and vision for Northern Broadsides is infectious and we look forward to the new team leading the Company forward.” – Rachel Harris. Chair, Board of Trustees.
Laurie Sansom appointed new Artistic Director and CEO of Northern Broadsides
Northern Broadsides is happy to announce that Laurie Sansom will succeed Conrad Nelson as Artistic Director and CEO in June this year.
Laurie Sansom, said about his appointment:
“I’m thrilled to be joining Northern Broadsides at a moment when the companies who champion regional and diverse voices couldn’t be more crucial. I spent many of my years as a young director working at The Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough and other theatres across the region, where the work of Northern Broadsides is so valued by audiences and artists alike. The company’s bold and accessible take on classic and new plays has long been at the heart of the region’s cultural life, and I’m looking forward to working closely with local communities and partner theatres to develop its role making popular, radical work that reflects the rich diversity of today’s world.”
Rachel Harris, Chair of Board of Trustees of Northern Broadsides added:
“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Laurie Sansom as Artistic Director/CEO. Laurie brings boundless energy, vision and creativity to his work. He shares our vision to build on our position of strength as a producer and leading touring company in the UK. We look forward to an exciting future together. “
Laurie was the Artistic Director of the National Theatre of Scotland 2013-16, for whom he directed The James Plays trilogy by Rona Munro in an unprecedented collaboration with the Edinburgh International Festival and the National Theatre of Great Britain. They were then seen across the UK and in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Whilst in Scotland he also directed his own adaptation of Muriel Spark’s The Driver’s Seat, and The 306:Dawn, a new site-specific piece of music theatre for the 14-18 NOW’s cultural programme to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Previously he was Artistic Director of Royal & Derngate, Northampton where he directed the European premier of Tennessee Williams’ Spring Storm and Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond the Horizon, which both transferred to the National Theatre, London, and won him the 2010 TMA Award for Best Director. He also directed new versions of The Bacchae, Blood Wedding and Hedda Gabler as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad, Frankenstein (with Frantic Assembly), The Duchess of Malfi, Follies and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.
At the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, he was the Associate Director to Alan Ayckbourn, where he directed over twenty new plays including Villette (with Frantic Assembly) and a season comprising three new micro-musicals.
He has directed for theatres around the UK. His production of Dangerous Corner for the West Yorkshire Playhouse transferred to the Garrick Theatre, West End and he has also made work for the New Vic, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Birmingham Rep, Salisbury Playhouse, The Lyric Hammersmith, the National Theatre, The Bridge, Hampstead Theatre, The Menier Chocolate Factory and the Watford Palace Theatre where he was the Arts Council Trainee Director.
Laurie Sansom’s first production for Northern Broadsides will be in Spring 2020 and will be announced later in the year.
Northern Broadsides Artistic Director and Joint CEO Conrad Nelson will leave the company on the 31st March. His final production with the Halifax based theatre company will be their forthcoming touring co -production with the New Vic Theatre of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. The production will run in Newcastle-Under-Lyme from the 8 February – 2 March and then tour till the 25 May.
Rehearsal images released for Northern Broadsides/New Vic Theatre production of Much Ado About Nothing
We have released rehearsal images (by Nobby Clark Photography) for our forthcoming touring production of William Shakespeare’s antagonistic romance and chaotic comedy – Much Ado About Nothing.
Six long years of war are finally over. Returning soldiers swap the booming battlefield for a landscape of love, masked balls and much-needed laughter. Two young dreamers (Hero and Claudio) fall head over heels, while two others (Benedick and Beatrice) resume their combative courtship. As faithful friends plot romance and a vengeful brother plans destruction, can true love conquer all, or will whispers and rumour win out?
Directed by Northern Broadsides’ Artistic Director Conrad Nelson, the production’s excellent cast will feature Richard J Fletcher (Oh What A Lovely War, Oldham Coliseum); Rachel Hammond (Babe: The Sheep Pig); Sophia Hatfield (When We Were Married, Northern Broadsides); Anthony Hunt (The Commitments, West End and Hard Times, Northern Broadsides); Sarah Kameela Impey (The Tempest, RSC and Pinocchio, National Theatre); Linford Johnson (The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, Park Theatre and War Horse, National Theatre); James McClean (New Tricks, Bolton Octagon); Isobel Middleton (Anna Tregorran in The Archers, BBC Radio 4); David Nellist (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and War Horse, National Theatre and Sherlock, BBC); Heather Phoenix (The Rivals, Theatre by the Lake); Matt Rixon (Hairspray, UK); Robin Simpson (Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre); Simeon Truby (The Pitman Painters, New Vic Theatre); Robert Wade (Cyrano, Northern Broadsides) and Andrew Whitehead (An August Bank Holiday Lark, Northern Broadsides).
Much Ado About Nothing will open at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme from 8 February – 2 March and will then tour venues around the UK until 25 May.
Full casting announced for Northern Broadsides/New Vic Theatre production of Much Ado About Nothing
Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre are delighted to announce full casting for their forthcoming touring production of William Shakespeare’s glorious tale of antagonistic romance and chaotic comedy – Much Ado About Nothing.
The production’s excellent cast will feature Robin Simpson (Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth, Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre) as Benedick, Isobel Middleton (Anna Tregorran in The Archers, BBC Radio 4, Emmerdale and Cracker, ITV and Eric, Ernie and EastEnders, BBC) as Beatrice; Rachel Hammond (Babe: The Sheep Pig) as Ursula; Sophia Hatfield (When We Were Married, Northern Broadsides) as Margaret; Tony Hunt (Hard Times, Northern Broadsides) as Borachio; Linford Johnson (The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, Park Theatre ,War Horse, National Theatre and Showboat, Sheffield Crucible) as Claudio; Sarah Kameela Impey (The Tempest, RSC and Pinocchio, National Theatre) as Hero; James McClean (New Tricks, Bolton Octagon) as Balthasar/Watchman; David Nellist (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and War Horse, National Theatre and Sherlock, BBC) as Dogberry; Heather Phoenix ( The Rivals, Theatre by the Lake) as Conrade: Matt Rixon (Hairspray , UK Tour and Around The World In 80 Days, New Vic/Royal Exchange) as Don Pedro; Richard J Fletcher (Oh What A Lovely War, Oldham Coliseum) as Don John; Simeon Truby (The Pitman Painters, New Vic Theatre) as Leonato; Robert Wade (Cyrano, Northern Broadsides) as Balthazar and Andrew Whitehead (An August Bank Holiday Lark, Northern Broadsides) as Antonio/Friar.
Directed by Northern Broadsides’ Artistic Director Conrad Nelson and co-produced with Staffordshire’s New Vic Theatre, the production’s fine creative team includes Lis Evans (An August Bank Holiday Lark) with lighting by Daniella Beattie and musical direction by Rebekah Hughes.
Robin Simpson to play Benedick in Northern Broadsides and New Vic Theatre co-production of Much Ado About Nothing
Actor Robin Simpson will take over the role of Benedick in our co-production of Much Ado About Nothing, currently in rehearsals. Robin Simpson (See No Evil: The Moors Murders; Waterloo Road; Coronation Street) will step into the role after Reece Dinsdale had to leave the production due to a family illness. We send our very best wishes to Reece and his family at this difficult time.
Conrad Nelson to step down as Artistic Director and Joint CEO of Northern Broadsides
Conrad Nelson joined the Northern Broadsides team in 1992, and after 26 years of service, he will be leaving the company in his current role as Artistic Director / Joint CEO next year. Conrad says:
“It’s been a huge privilege to lead Northern Broadsides over the last year. I’m proud of what the company has achieved since I joined in 1992. Now is the time to hand over the reigns of leadership. Thanks to all for your support. Onwards! Much Ado next spring and then to new adventures”.
We would like to wish Conrad the very best of luck in his future ventures and we will be keeping a close eye on his work.