Honour for Northern Broadsides’ Barrie Rutter

Barrie Rutter in King Lear

A fisherman’s son from Hull, who brought a northern voice to the theatre, is among those honoured by the Queen in the 2015.

Barrie Rutter, artistic director of Northern Broadsides, has been awarded an OBE for services to drama.

Over the last 23 years he has been instrumental in establishing Northern Broadsides as one of the UK’s most respected and acclaimed touring theatre companies.

Barrie said: “After weeks of zipped lips it’s a relief and a pleasure to share the news, especially with nearest and dearest.

“To be awarded an OBE is a great honour and one which I am delighted to receive.

“Huge gratitude to those who nominated and championed me and also to my colleagues, friends and audiences of Northern Broadsides whom I share this award with.”

Born in 1946, the son of a fishworker, Rutter grew up in Hull, around the corner from actor Tom Courtney.

At school, an English teacher frog-marched him into the school play because he had “the gob for it”, and feeling at home on stage, Rutter chose his future direction.

There followed a period at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, the National Youth Theatre and the RSC in Stratford, London and Europe.

In 1980 he joined the National where he met, and worked closely with, poet Tony Harrison.

Rutter performed in all three of Harrison’s adaptations, all written for the Northern voice: The Mysteries, The Orestia, and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus. It was this experience that germinated the idea for Northern Broadsides.

Based in Halifax, the award-winning Northern Broadsides is characterised by a high degree of theatrical inventiveness and robust performances from a large ensemble cast of Northern actors who all perform in their natural voices.

In February Rutter takes the title role in Northern Broadsides’ touring production of King Lear directed by Jonathan Miller.

Other awards went to: Knighthood: John Hurt.

Joan Collins

Kristin Scott Thomas and Joan Collins were both made Dames.

OBE: James Corden, Emily Watson and Sheridan Smith; designer Es Devlin; Jeanetta Laurence, associate director of the Royal Ballet; Joseph Seelig, who co-founded the London International Mime Festival; director of Festivals Edinburgh Faith Liddell.

CBE: Meera Syal; Southbank Centre’s artistic director Jude Kelly; Alan Davey, chief executive, Arts Council England; Richard Jones, opera and theatre director.

MBE: Outgoing artistic director of Leicester’s Curve Paul Kerryson; to Royal Shakespeare Company associate designer Tom Piper, who has been recognised for his work – with Paul Cummins – on the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London; Graeme Phillips, who is stepping down as artistic director of Liverpool’s Unity Theatre.

Leave a Reply