This unique canal-based Yorkshire theatre company is launching a new fundraising appeal, with the hope of being able to celebrate their 50th year of touring in 2021.
Mikron tours the canals, rivers and roads of the UK every year, but this year, they had to cancel their entire season owing to COVID-19. With some help from friends and the general public, let’s hope they can entertain us all again next year.
Starting in April this year, the company was due to tour two new plays to over 130 dates, but the decision had to be made to cancel. Instead, Mikron – with Arts Council England’s advice – have been helping their local community in Marsden. Their van and office have been repurposed to assist the village’s COVID-19 ‘Marsden Help’, a mutual aid group, and have delivered hundreds of food parcels and prescriptions to those who had to self-isolate and to vulnerable families.
Artistic Director Marianne McNamara said:
“We’re so incredibly sad not to be touring. In the early stages of the Coronavirus outbreak we looked at every possible combination, but none of them was practical.
What I would not give to see Mikron performing at a canalside venue to a large crowd with the sun setting behind us. We see the same faces in different places year on year and we really miss them, but the safety of the cast and crew, venues and of course our loyal audiences, had to come first.”
For most of a normal year, Mikron tours on board a vintage narrowboat. They put on shows in places other theatre companies wouldn’t dream of – so there was a play about growing your own which was performed on allotments, one about bees performed next to hives, and a fish and chip restaurant was the venue for a performance – about chips! Inevitably, plays about hostelling are performed in YHA hostels, and about the RNLI? Well, at RNLI lifeboat stations, of course.
If the appeal is successful, Mikron in 2021 will tour two brand new shows; Amanda Wainwright’s Atalanta Forever which tells the story of Women’s football in the 1920s and Polly Hollman’s canine comedy caper A Dog’s Tale.
The statistics provided by Makron are impressive:
“Formed in 1972, written 64 original shows, composed and written 384 songs, issued over 236 actor musician contracts, spent 30,000 boating hours on the inland waterways, covered 530,000 road miles, performed over 5060 times and performed to over 428,000 people.”
This is surely a theatre company worth saving from catastrophe? They have no income from shows, no merchandise, no programmes or raffle in the budget, so Mikron is currently looking at a shortfall of £48,337.49. With the best will in the world, the management team knows that all their efforts to reduce costs every month may not be enough. The money may run out before the start of 2021 as things stand.
If you’re able to help Mikron survive for their 50th anniversary, please donate here. Donations can also be sent to Mikron Theatre, Marsden Huddersfield, HD7 6BW).
Feature photograph by Bob Lockwood.