Amazing £14,000 boost for small Harrogate theatre company

The Harrogate-based artistic director of an award-winning theatre company is celebrating Arts Council funding for a special season of 'Covid-safe' outdoor theatre productions.

By Graham Chalmers
Tuesday, 8th September 2020, 10:44 am
Harrogate district-based theatre company Badapple will tour with Suffer Fools Gladly, a witty short comedy, after winning a grant from Arts Council England.

Artistic director and writer Kate Bramley - formerly of Sir John Godber’s Hull Truck, Peter Schumann’s Bread & Puppet Theater - has a long pedigree as a writer, director and rural touring innovator with Badapple Theatre Company, using music, puppetry, dance and more.

One of the most prolific, flexible and original rural touring companies in the UK, in normal times the Green Hammerton-based Badapple tours more than 90 professional performances annually, as well as running a youth theatre, youth summer school and adult amateur performance.

Before Covid broke kicked in, the multi-talented Bramley and her small team had been planning to mark 21 years of success for Badapple by touring to rural venues across the UK.

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Lockdown may have undermined the theatre company's celebrations but the versatile artistic director is not one to give up easily.

Now comes the good news that Badapple has been awarded £14,998 by Arts Council England for an autumn ‘Hybrid-Live’ season of Covid-safe outdoor and filmed shows.

Up to 10 outdoor performances of Danny Mellor’s brand new short play Suffer Fools Gladly’will be staged at private gardens, campsites and hall carparks across the North and East Yorkshire area from September 16.

The new funding will also help support the creative filming of Badapple’s hit 1960s-era comedy Eddie and the Gold Tops for a new film-theatre partnership with small halls and arts centres from November to February.

To add to this, the Green Hammerton-based company can now film its Christmas show The Snow Dancer to enable free distribution in Yorkshire schools and also resume its local Youth Theatre activities.

Kate Bramley said she was very grateful for the support from Arts Council England.

She said: “We’re bowled over by this continued support from ACE at this difficult time which supports our concept of feel-good and safe small-scale events for the communities we partner with and support for our team of creative artists.

"We always specialised in Theatre On Your Doorstep and now for some garden owners in Yorkshire it just got even closer to their front door! Some wonderful hosts will be throwing open their gardens to audiences to experience this great new play from young Yorkshire writer, Danny Mellor.”

Starring Danny Mellor and Anastasia Benham, Suffer Fools Gladly is a witty short comedy (around an hour long) about the perils of always telling the truth! Appealing to young and old alike, this upbeat tale narrates the comic fall from grace of Ozzy the court jester who is exiled from the magical kingdom of Marillion.

It takes an unlikely friendship with a cynical 17-year-old Earth girl called Stevie to bring the joy back to both their worlds.

The production is co-directed by Kate Bramley with costume and puppetry design by Catherine Dawn.

Suffer Fools Gladly’ tour dates

SEPTEMBER

15: Stonegate Farm, Whixley 5pm

16: Private garden, Stockton on Forest, York, 2pm and 4pm

17: The Poplars, Myton on Swale 6pm

18: Beech Cottage, Green Hammerton 2pm

19: Colton Farm 2pm

20: St. Alban’s Church Hull Carpark 2pm

21: Private garden,Driffield 2pm

22: Private garden, Gilberdyke 5pm

23: TBC

More information is available at www.badappletheatre.com

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