Exclusive Event from a Master of Words
For one night only, actor, director and cultural champion of the North, Barrie Rutter OBE visits Ripon.
In a memorable end to Ripon Theatre Festival’s 2023 season and the final event at Ripon Poetry Festival, the audience at Ripon Arts Hub on 1 October is promised a very special night of tall tales and anecdotes, poetry and prose.
Actor-manager and artistic director Barrie Rutter founded the pioneering Northern Broadsides, a touring theatre company delivering stories in full-blooded, unapologetic northern dialect in “non-velvet” spaces across Britain. A formidable frontman, never afraid to be outspoken, Barrie stood down as Broadsides’ artistic director in 2018 after 25 years in charge but has not lost his passion for performance and his ability to entertain.
He played major parts in many of the company’s productions and has many film and TV appearances to his credit, including in the film version of BBC sitcom Porridge and ITV’s Fat Friends. In 2009, he directed Lenny Henry in a production of Othello, a courageous decision at the time.
Born in 1946, the son of a fish worker, Barrie was raised in a two-up two-down in Hessle Road. His acting career began when invited by an English teacher into the school play because he “had the gob for it”. He left Hull aged 17, spent time at the Nottingham Playhouse, followed by various TV roles. Barrie then spent much of the late 1970s at the Royal Shakespeare Company, before finding more inspiration at The National Theatre in the 1980s. Here he worked closely with poet and playwright Tony Harrison and discovered a passion for performing in the Northern voice.
A Yorkshireman born and bred, as founder of Northern Broadsides, he gave the company a voice, and found it a home, claiming a theatre from the bowels of the mill at Dean Clough in Halifax. The company’s first production, Shakespeare’s Richard III, was performed at Middleham Castle in 1992.
An Audience with Barrie Rutter, OBE takes place at Ripon Arts Hub on Sunday 1 October at 6pm.