Northern Broadsides has announced today that their founder and artistic director Barrie Rutter is leaving after failing to secure increased Arts Council funding for his company.
Rutter founded Northern Broadsides in 1992 and under his artistic leadership the company have become one of the UK’s leading touring theatre companies and produced over 70 productions.
Over the last twenty-five years Rutter has overseen many of Northern Broadsides’ big successes including casting Lenny Henry in Othello and Mat Fraser in its recent production, Richard III, as part of Hull 2017.
He was also responsible for as the acclaimed productions of The Wars of the Roses, Rutherford & Son (directed by Jonathan Miller) and the award-winning An August Bank Holiday Lark.
In 2015 Barrie was awarded the OBE for Services to Drama.
Rutter’s final productions for Broadsides will be the forthcoming For Love or Money, Blake Morrison’s adaptation of the French comedy, Turcaret, which opens at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax in September and then tours until December.
In January, he will direct the Shakespeare’s Globe and Northern Broadsides co-production of The Captive Queen at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
On leaving his post, Rutter said: “Having failed to lead the team in securing a long overdue increase in Arts Council funding, I have decided that after 25 wonderful years it is the right time for me to stand down.
“I leave the Supporters of Northern Broadsides in the hands of a robust and creative staff.”
Born in 1946, the son of a Hull fish worker, Rutter grew up in a two-up two-down in the fish dock area of Hull.
At school, an English teacher frogmarched him into the school play because he had “the gob for it”, and, feeling at home on stage, Rutter chose his future direction.
A spokesperson for the Board said “The company recognises the significant contribution Barrie Rutter has made to theatre, the arts in general and the lives of his colleagues over the years.
“In establishing Northern Broadsides 25 years ago, he created a vibrant and visionary organisation that is committed to ensuring that his legacy survives into the future.
“The Board of Northern Broadsides are delighted to be continuing as an Arts Council England NPO organisation and are looking forward to working with an extremely talented creative team over the coming years.
“Barrie Rutter will be missed both on and off the Broadsides stage, but we wish him well in his next adventures.”
Northern Broadsides is a unique theatre company with a true northern voice.
Its work is characterised by a high degree of theatrical inventiveness and robust performances from a large ensemble cast of multi-talented and charismatic northern actors who all perform in their natural voices.