BADAPPLE Theatre Company’s Theatre On Your Doorstep van is parked up, the hand brake applied by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of travelling to Yorkshire’s smallest and hardest-to-reach village halls this spring, the Green Hammerton company is switching to Theatre On Your Desktop.
“At a time when arts projects of all kinds are on hold, we’re keeping spirits up by making freely available podcasts of one of our best-loved productions, Back To The Land Girls,” says artistic director Kate Bramley, who founded the grassroots touring company 21 years ago with the mission to “offer the best of new theatre in the most unexpected of places”.
“Now you can access relaxed readings of our popular World War Two comedy in a series of free ten-minute podcasts, starring Frances Tither and Sarah Raine.”
Explaining the rationale behind the Desktop initiative, Kate says: “For the past 21 years, we’ve been touring original productions to rural communities that do not normally get the chance to host shows locally.
“But the creative team decided the best way to keep the plays coming during lockdown was to bring them direct to people’s desktops and hopefully spread a little virtual cheer.”
Back To The Land Girls is an apt choice for Badapple’s debut virtual venture, given the parallels with the strictures of 2020 life in Covid-19 lockdown limbo. “This historic play of ours is surprisingly resonant at this time as our Land Girls are facing life-changing times head on, but are resilient and manage to triumph,” says Kate.
Her story follows the adventures of Buff and Biddy, two young women who volunteer for the Women’s Land Army in Yorkshire, played by Fran Tither, BBC docu-drama award winner for 2018’s Emmeline: Portrait Of A Militant and Sarah Raine, whose credits include Wild Rumpus Theatre’s Colour The Clouds.
“Expect a humorous look at Buff and Biddy’s experiences as they are bonded by hard physical work, back ache and plenty of banter,” says Kate, whose script is complemented by original songs and music by Sony award-winning singer-songwriter Jez Lowe.
Until Covid-19’s pandemic spread intervened, dates were in the diary for Badapple to tour Kate’s latest play, Elephant Rock, to 30 venues from April 16 to May 31. The tour is now being rearranged for September and October, pending Coronavirus governmental policy updates.
For more details of how to download Back To The Land Girls via Podbean, go to badappetheatre.com.