Rutter leaves Broadsides leading role

David Chadderton

Northern Broadsides has announced that its founder Barrie Rutter OBE will step down as artistic director in April 2018 after leading the company for 25 years following the company's rejection for an increase in Arts Council funding.

70-year-old Rutter founded the Halifax-based touring company in 1992, which quickly gained a reputation for its interpretations of classical theatre in northern accents. He has directed Lenny Henry in Othello and, most recently, Mat Fraser in Richard III, as well as performing many major roles himself. In 2015, he was awarded the OBE for Services to Drama.

His final productions for Northern Broadsides will be For Love or Money, Blake Morrison’s new adaptation of Alain Rene Lesage’s French comedy Turcaret, opening at the Viaduct Theatre in Halifax in September and then touring until December 2017, and the Shakespeare’s Globe and Northern Broadsides co-production of The Captive Queen at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in January 2018.

Rutter said, "having failed to lead the team in securing a long overdue increase in Arts Council funding, I have decided that after 25 wonderful years it is the right time for me to stand down. I leave the supporters of Northern Broadsides in the hands of a robust and creative staff.”

A spokesperson for the Board said, "the company recognises the significant contribution Barrie Rutter has made to theatre, the arts in general and the lives of his colleagues over the years. In establishing Northern Broadsides 25 years ago, he created a vibrant and visionary organisation that is committed to ensuring that his legacy survives into the future.

"The Board of Northern Broadsides are delighted to be continuing as an Arts Council England NPO organisation and are looking forward to working with an extremely talented creative team over the coming years. Barrie Rutter will be missed both on and off the Broadsides stage, but we wish him well in his next adventures."