Mikron Theatre Company stay afloat for 50th year after rapid fundraising appeal

Artistic director Marianne McNamara and producer Pete Toon at Mikron Theatre Company’s last performance in 2019. Picture: Mark Kelly

MIKRON Theatre Company have shot past their fundraising target to secure next year’s 50th anniversary tour in less than three weeks.

After the Covid curse de-railed their entire 2020 season, the West Yorkshire travelling troupe needed to raise £48,337.49 to continue taking shows not only on the road but on canals and rivers too.

The brisk financial fillip supplied by supporters and the public at large, both home and abroad, means the Marsden company now can plan their 2021 travels aboard their 1936 narrowboat Tyseley.

“We cannot thank people enough,” says buoyant artistic director Marianne McNamara. “We are absolutely humbled by the support we have received. It is testament to not only how valued the company is, but also to the work we have done for the past 50 years.

Staying afloat: Mikron Theatre Company’s vintage narrowboat Tyseley

“We’ve had letters and emails from all over the world: Texas, Catalonia and the Netherlands and, of course, every corner of the country from Cornwall to Cromarty, saying how much Mikron means to them and that they couldn’t see us miss out on our 50th year of touring.”

What happens next? “Every penny raised over the minimum amount we needed for the appeal will, of course, be used wisely and carefully,” says Marianne. “We have Tyseley, our narrowboat, to keep ship shape, and we will be able to continue our aims of developing new writers, directors and creatives for the future of Mikron and the industry as a whole.” 

Based at the Mechanics Hall in the village of Marsden, at the foot of the Yorkshire Pennines, Mikron Theatre Company tour shows to “places that other theatre companies wouldn’t dream of”, be it a play about growing-your-own staged at allotments; a play abuzz with bees performed next to hives; or one about when the chips are down, served up in a fish and chip restaurant.

Game on! Amanda Whittington’s football play, Atalanta Forever, WILL be staged by Mikron Theatre Company next year

Or a play about hostelling that spent nights at YHA youth hostels and one telling the story of the RNLI, launched at several lifeboat stations around the UK coastline. 

The successful appeal ensures 2020’s Covid-cancelled shows can go ahead in 2021: Amanda Whittington’s new work on women’s football in the 1920s, Atalanta Forever, and the premiere of Polly Hollman’s canine comedy caper A Dog’s Tale.

In 48 years until this year’s enforced hibernation, Mikron have performed 64 original shows; composed and written 384 songs; issued 236 actor-musician contracts; spent 30,000 boating hours on the inland waterways; covered 530,000 road miles;  performed 5,060 times and played to 428,000 people.  

For further information on Mikron Theatre Company and the opportunity to donate, visit mikron.org.uk/appeal.