Northern Broadside's founder Barrie Rutter returns to Halifax's Viaduct for night of Shakespeare

Barrie Rutter returns with a new, very fitting, one-man, one-night show, Shakespeare’s Royals, to the Viaduct, Halifax, later this month.
Barrie Rutter at Dean Clough, HalifaxBarrie Rutter at Dean Clough, Halifax
Barrie Rutter at Dean Clough, Halifax

The actor-director will celebrate the Bard's Kings amd Queens - their achievements, conquests and foibles – on Thursday April 27 at 7.30pm.

Rutter, who founded Northern Broadsides which is based at Dean Clough, promises an entertaining evening about a career playing and directing Shakespeare's royals.

Five things to know about Barrie Rutter

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1 Barrie Rutter formed his own theatre company after being told he could never play a king because of his northern accent

Barrie Rutter has carved a career that has seen him at the forefront of Yorkshire's Arts Scene. In the 1990s, he was driven to create Northern Broadsides - one of the first theatre companies to ever use Northern accents to play Shakespeare’s kings, queens and emperors – not just playing the drunken porters, jesters, or fools, as was the trend back then.

To this day, everything Northern Broadsides does is inspired by the north of England's diverse voices, cultures and heritage.

2 Barrie is the very reason why The Viaduct exists

An article on reads: “The Viaduct is considered one of Halifax’s hidden gems. The space was stumbled upon by the founder of Northern Broadsides Theatre Company, Barrie Rutter during a conversation in the early 1990s with Sir Ernest Hall, the pianist, entrepreneur and patron behind the renovation of Dean Clough.There had been a fire in the underground viaduct which Hall had planned to convert into a car park; he showed the viaduct to Rutter, a jobbing actor looking for a performance space, who boldly declared, “Ernest, we can play it.”

The resulting theatre became home to Northern Broadsides.

3 Barrie has been awarded an OBE

In 2015, Rutter was honoured for his services to drama.

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The State of The Arts asked him, “How did you get on with being awarded your OBE?”

Barrie replied, “I had a laugh with Princess Anne who was the medal-giver that day. She said: ‘Do they all sound like you in the play?’ I said: ‘Yes, that’s why it’s called Northern Broadsides!’ We had a fun day.”

4 In 2009, Rutter directed Lenny Henry in a production of Othello

Rutter said of the decision to cast the Comedian, "Knives might be out at me or at Lenny. I don't care. This has come about from a completely genuine desire to do a piece of theatrical work.

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He's six-foot five. He's beautifully black. And he's Othello."

5 Barrie has appeared in many films and television programmes.

The Actor had a regular role in the early 1980s ITV sitcom Astronauts and played armed robber Oakes in the 1979 film version of the BBC sitcom Porridge. He also appeared in The Bill, Minder and Kay Mellor’s television series Fat Friends.

On stage he was in the 1982 National Theatre production of the musical Guys and Dolls.