4:28 PM 28th March 2022

50 Years Of Mikron Theatre -Raising Agents

James Mclean, Hannah Bainbridge, Alice McKenna and Thomas Cotran - photo Liz Baker
James Mclean, Hannah Bainbridge, Alice McKenna and Thomas Cotran - photo Liz Baker
Mikron Theatre, one of the country’s most versatile touring theatre companies, is delighted to announce that from April it will commence celebrations of 50 years of touring with an exciting remount of its hugely successful 2015 production of Maeve Larkin’s (Best Foot Forward, Mikron Theatre) play about the Women’s Institute - Raising Agents.

Featuring music written by Mikron’s Marsden neighbours, the acclaimed folk duo O’Hooley and Tidow (Gentleman Jack, BBC), the anniversary tour, which will also see the premiere of a new play, will start at Marsden Mechanics Hall on the 7 April and will tour around the UK by road and river until 22 October.

Raising Agents tells the story of Bunnington WI. A bit down-at-heel, with memberships dwindling, it means they can barely afford the hall, let alone a decent speaker. So, when a PR guru becomes a member, the women are glad of new blood.

Initially, the milk of WI kindness begins to sour when she re-brands them as the Bunnington Bunnies. They are hopping.

With stakes higher than a five-tiered cake stand, a battle ensues for the very soul of Bunnington, perhaps the WI itself!

On the threshold of one century into the next, this tale of hobbyists and lobbyists asks how much we should know our past or how much we should let it go.

The production’s cast will feature Thomas Cotran (Atalanta Forever, Mikron Theatre and Great Expectations, Dundee Rep/Horsecross Arts); Alice McKenna (Beauty and the Beast, Theatr Clwyd) and James McLean (Revolting Women, Mikron Theatre and A Christmas Carol, Derby Theatre) and newcomer Hannah Bainbridge.

Raising Agents is directed by Rachel Gee (A Dog’s Tale, Mikron Theatre), designed by Celia Perkins (Dick Wittington, Oldham Coliseum), with music composed by the folk duo O’Hooley and Tidow and directed by Rebekah Hughes (Atalanta Forever, Mikron Theatre and Pride and Prejudice, Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre).

Playwright Maeve Larkin said:
“I am so thrilled that Mikron Theatre will be restaging Raising Agents for their 50th Anniversary tour. As with the WI's old paradoxical motto 'Grave and Gay', it aims to transcend the sum of its parts by celebrating the timeless principles of community, activism and sisterhood.”

Director Rachel Gee added:
“To direct for Mikron in our 50th year of touring, with such a brilliant show and team, is an honour and a pleasure. The WI is such an incredible story to share, and I know everyone will love the tales, trials and tribulations of the WI.”

Based in the village of Marsden, at the foot of the Yorkshire Pennines, the company is like no other. For starters, over the last 50 years they have toured 66 productions on board a vintage narrowboat and spent over 34,000 boating hours on the inland waterways. Secondly, they perform their shows in places that other theatre companies wouldn’t dream of; a play about growing-your-own on an allotment; a play about bees performed next to hives, a play about fish and chips to audiences in a fish and chip restaurant, as well as plays about hostelling performed in YHA Youth hostels and the RNLI, performed at several Lifeboat Stations around the UK. Over the last 50 years the company has performed 5200 times to over a staggering 436,000 people.

Raising Agents will be touring nationally by river and on the road from 7 April till 22 October, alongside the premiere of Lindsay Rodden’s new play Red Sky At Night.

For further information on Raising Agents and Red Sky At Night please visit http://mikron.org.uk

Selection of Raising Agents Tour dates in the North

Fri 8th Apr, 7.00pm -OPENING NIGHT - Marsden Mechanics Hall, Huddersfield, HD7 6BW
Sat 9th Apr, 7.00pm -Overton Memorial Hall, Lancashire, LA3 3HB
Tue 12th Apr, 7.00pm -Square Chapel Centre for Arts, Halifax, HX1 1QG
Wed 13th Apr, 7.00pm -Meltham Carlile Institute, Holmfirth, HD9 4AE
Thu 14th Apr, 7.00pm -Bingley Arts Centre, Bingley, BD16 2LZ
Fri 15th Apr, 7.30pm -Winsford Academy Theatre, Winsford, CW7 2BT
Sat 16th Apr, 12.30pm -Huddersfield Deaf Centre, Huddersfield, HD1 4DN
Sat 16th Apr, 7.30pm -The Holbeck, Leeds, LS11 9QX
Tue 19th Apr, 7.30pm -Our Lady of Hope, Salford, M6 8JR
Sat 21st May, 7.00pm -Lawrence Batley Theatre - EVENING, Huddersfield, HD1 2SP
Tue 7th Jun, 7.00pm -Stirley Community Farm, Huddersfield, HD4 6RP
Sat 9th Jul, 7.00pm -The Poor Marsh Allotments and Community Garden, Hesketh Bank, PR4 6RD
Sat 17th Sep, 12.00pm -Tolson Museum, Huddersfield, HD5 8DJ
Sun 18th Sep, 4.00pm -Clements Hall, York, YO23 1BW
Sun 25th Sep, 2.30pm -Birch Community Centre, Manchester, M14 5JT
Thu 29th Sep, 7.00pm -Oldham Library and Lifelong Learning Centre, Oldham, OL1 1AL
Thu 6th Oct, 7.30pm -Threlkeld Village Hall, Cumbria, CA12 4RX
Sun 9th Oct, 1.00pm -Ewanrigg Community Centre, Maryport, CA15 8HN
Mon 10th Oct, 7.30pm -Strawberry Island Boat Club, Doncaster, DN1 2SU
Wed 12th Oct, 7.00pm -Snainton Village Hall, Scarborough, YO13 9AF