The latest shows from the unique Mikron waterways theatre company celebrate the unsung heroes on the home front and delve into the not-so-sweet world of chocolate.
Now in their 45th year, Mikron Theatre Company make a welcome stop in Winsford as their autumn tour travels throughout the region.
Written by Laurence Peacock and directed by Marianne McNamara, Canary Girls is a funny, heartfelt and tender story about two sisters seizing the opportunities offered to women by the outbreak of World War One, and becoming shell workers in the local munitions factory.
For sisters Rose and Lizzie their new lives offer them money, independence, excitement and political awakening until they realise the danger of shell work and how their dreams of a new world are pulling them apart.
With original music by folk superstars, O’Hooley and Tidow, Canary Girls has humour and pathos, romance and danger, all performed by a talented team of four singing, instrument-playing, character-swapping actors.
Playwright Laurence Peacock joins Mikron for the first time this year after he was selected from other hopefuls to undertake this commission, a challenge that he was excited to take on.
He said: “Researching the Canary Girls was absolutely fascinating. During the First World War so much happened to change the position of women in such a short space of time. The only major problem I had was, how am I going to get Trinitrotoluene (TNT) into a song?”
Touring alongside Canary Girls is Mikron’s other new show, Pure, a story of many flavours about the business of chocolate.
Mikron have turned their talents to a number of gastronomic delights over the years - fish and chips, ice cream, beer and honey among them.
The fast-paced plot zips backwards and forwards through the years, throwing up little-known facts and questions to ponder.
With two interwoven plots, 150 years apart, Pure examines the business of chocolate and asks if success always has a sweet smell.
Mikron are delighted to be welcoming theatre director Stefan Escreet to the company this year. He said: “There’s a real family feel to Mikron - in their office, in the rehearsal room and out on tour with their loyal audiences. I’m really enjoying being part of the family.”
Stefan isn’t the only new company member this year. Pure has been written by Richard Vergette who has also joined Mikron for the first time.
Richard said: “Researching this play has been one of the most fascinating aspects of writing Pure and not because it’s given me an excuse to eat lots of chocolate (I don’t need an excuse). Discovering that child and slave labour are still features of chocolate production made me realise that whilst I wanted the play to celebrate chocolate, I couldn’t ignore the darker elements of its story either.”
Mikron theatre have been touring their original brand of ‘theatre anywhere for everyone’ for 45 years, in the spring and autumn by road, and in the summer months on board their beloved historic narrowboat Tyseley.
2016 is a very special year for Tyseley as she celebrates her 80th birthday and her 41st anniversary of being the floating home to Mikron’s actors.
The company’s artistic director Marianne NcNamara said: “I take the legacy of Mikron very seriously and our promise to make theatre everywhere for everyone.
“For 45 years Mikron has toured to places that other companies don’t and that means we are often deep in heart of the countryside, with no venue nearby, or finding ourselves performing in the most unlikely of places - a boatyard, an allotment site, even inside a tunnel.
“Our shows are often performed outdoors and for a majority of them you don’t even need to buy a ticket - we pass a hat around at the end. We love how informal our performances are and make shows that we can all relate to, whether that’s our shared history, or our shared love of chocolate!”
Canary Girls can be seen on Friday, September 16 at 7.30pm at Winsford Academy, Grange Lane, Winsford. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions) and a family ticket is £30 (two adults and two children).
Pure can be seen on Saturday, September 17 at 7.30pm at The Marina Island, Off Station Road, Winsford. Tickets are £12 (£10 concessions) and a family ticket is £30 (two adults and two children).
For booking and information call 01606 593582, email: email@example.com or visit www.winsford.gov.uk.