Northern Broadsides nets star-studded cast of patrons

Lenny Henry

That powerhouse of talent, Northern Broadsides, has earned the patronage of some of Briatin’s top names in theatre, it has been announced.

Lenny Henry, Tom Courtenay, Meera Syal, Stephanie Cole, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Mike Poulton and Blake Morrison have become Patrons of the theatre company, it was revealed today.

Northern Broadsides artistic director Barrie Rutter said about the announcement: “Most are famous, all are respected, some are learned, a couple write music and a couple write words and between them there is plenty of “fruit salad”- Knighthoods, OBE’s, CBE etc – but overall there is the shared passion and support for the work of Northern Broadsides.

“They provide the voice of encouragement for Northern Broadsides to maintain our high standards, relish our audiences and play our part in the rich theatrical network.

Tom Courtney Blake Morrison Barrie Rutter Aug 2011Sanjeev

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome this distinguished list of new patrons. Their profile and commitment to theatre and communities will help enhance the reputation of Northern Broadsides as one of the country’s leading theatre companies”

Lenny Henry, who appeared in the title role in NB’s award winning production of Othello and who will be starring in the final series of ITV’s Broadchurch said: ” I’ve been asked to say why I am supporting Northern Broadsides as a patron which is an odd question because – without Broadsides, my life would not have transformed.

“Without Broadsides I would not have taken on one of the greatest tragedies known to man – Othello by William Shakespeare playing at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, then a tour, then the Trafalgar Studios in London. It completely changed my life and turned my career around.

Barrie Ruter & Lenny Henry (P) nc-othello032

“More importantly the whole experience gave me colleagues and a frame of reference for acting and performing that have stayed with me ever since. Why am I supporting Northern Broadsides as a patron? Ask Rutter…”

Actress Stephanie Cole, who is best known for appearing in the hit television series Waiting for God, Coronation Street, Open all Hours, Doc Martin and currently the Channel 4 comedy Man Down said: “I’ve seen many shows by Northern Broadsides over the years in many surprising and unusual and imaginative venues and have always been excited by their work and been inspired by them.

“May they have many more years thrilling audiences and introducing so many to theatre”

Actress, playwright, screenwriter and novelist Meera Syal, whose recent television appearances include the second series of Broadchurch and the award winning BBC series Goodness Gracious Me and the Kumars at number 42, added her praise: “I’m delighted to support this dynamic front footed company led by the imitable Barrie Rutter.

“Having spent too many years growing up thinking theatre wasn’t for the likes of me, it’s a joy to champion Northern Broadsides who make theatre accessible and exhilarating for all.”

From September 9-24 NB will be reviving J.B. Priestley’s much loved comedy When We Are Married at York Theatre Royal, who will be co-producing the production before touring it until December.

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