Badapple Theatre switch from theatre on your doorstep to desktop for podcasts

Badapple Theatre Company podcast duo Frances Tither, left, and Sarah Paine

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.

Badapple Theatre Company artistic director and playwright Kate Bramley

“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

Coronavirus takes bite out of Badapple’s Elephant Rock tour, postponed to autumn

“The health and safety of the team and our audiences always comes first,” says Badapple Theatre Company artistic director Kate Bramley

BADAPPLE Theatre Company are postponing their spring premiere of Elephant Rock amid the creeping spread of Coronavirus.

The “decline in audience confidence for travelling to events following confirmation of Covid-19 as a global pandemic” has prompted Kate Bramley’s company, from Green Hammerton, York, to call off the April 16 to May 31 tour, now re-arranged for the autumn.

Badapple Theatre Company in 2016 production The Last Station Keeper. Picture: Karl Andre

“These are unprecedented times and while the current advice is for events to continue as normal, we are conscious this could change at any point,” says Kate.

“The financial risk of the project for us and our partner venues has become prohibitive. Postponing now, before our actors are in rehearsal, is much less stressful for them as they can plan more effectively around their own families.”

Kate continues: “Of course, the health and safety of the team and our audiences always comes first, so we understand people’s reluctance to book tickets for shows scheduled in April. We have already managed to rearrange most of the tour performances for September and October 2020, so we look forward to seeing our audiences later in the year.”

Badapple Theatre Company’s Theatre On Your Doorstep logo

Purveyors of “theatre on your doorstep”, Badapple were to have toured Elephant Rock to 30 venues to mark their 21st anniversary with founder and artistic director Bramley’s 21st original script for the North Yorkshire company.

Badapple’s previous shows have toured to predominantly rural areas, all written and directed by Bramley, who was born in Yorkshire, grew up in Cornwall and worked as associate director for Hull Truck Theatre before embarking on her own theatre business.

Danny Mellor and Anastasia Benham in Badapple Theatre’s 2019 Christmas show, The Snow Dancer. Picture: Karl Andre

Not only has Bramley sustained a long career as a playwright and a director, but she also has built a company that employs three permanent members of staff and countless actors, musicians and technicians every year.

In a sector that relies heavily on external funding from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery UK and charities, more than 50 per cent of Badapple’s tours are self-funded, meaning box-office sales speak for themselves. The company had been offered project support of up to £15,000 towards the spring tour.