Mikron Theatre are guiding audiences through 80 years of Butlins with their trademark mix of fun, pathos and songs in Nick Ahad’s new play Redcoats.
The theatre company has already had great success with their touring productions of Get Well Soon and Revolting Women, and teaming up with such a great playwright is bound to be a smart move for the company.
The play delves into the history of the holiday huts and how Billy Butlin used Shakespeare himself to sell a seaside dream to the great British public. With guest appearances from Marlene Dietrich, Gracie Fields and Laurel and Hardy, I expect plenty of songs and laughs in this production.
This seems like yet another new avenue for Nick Ahad to explore. The award-winning journalist, writer and broadcast has excelled in his field as a journalist and is now trying his hand at playwriting. He’s smashing it so far, with Partition taking the region by storm when it premiered at Leeds Playhouse. Nick has also written for Emmerdale and an original series developed by BBC Drama and Avatar Productions.
Nick Ahad said: “I bet lots of people have happy memories of Butlins. I bet none of them have memories of going to the same Butlins in Skegness for 14 years in a row. I do – and not once did I mind. Loved it, in fact. Some of my happiest memories were created in that seaside haven in the eighties and early nineties. What a delight it’s been to revisit those memories while writing Redcoats.
What a delight to write for Mikron too, a company whose work I have admired for years. To have the opportunity to see the work this wonderful company does up close has been a huge privilege. I’m honoured to now be a small part of the Mikron 48 year history and long may it continue.”
Redcoats will be directed by Jonny Kelly (who has previously directed A Princess Undone, Park Theatre and Bismillah!, VAULT Festival 2018), designed by Celia Perkins (Dick Wittington, Oldham Coliseum), with music composed and directed by Rebekah Hughes (Cyrano, Northern Broadsides). I didn’t get chance to see Cyrano but it received plenty of high praise so it will be interesting to see how the songs add to the piece.
The cast will feature Christopher Arkeston, Elizabeth Robin, Joshua Cosidine andRachel Benson. It’s a small but mighty team, and with an exhaustive touring schedule coming up I much admire any group of cast and creative that take it on and keep their energy up each night.
Director Jonny Kelly said: “I’m really chuffed to be back for my second year at Mikron. I directed Revolting Women last year – I had a wonderful time working with Mikron and meeting our audience along the canals. This year promises to be just as good. We have an incredible cast and a fantastically funny play about one of the Great British institutes – Butlins!”
The new play starts its UK-wide tour at the Marsden Mechanics Hall on 18th May, before touring by road and river to various locations across the nation until October.
For details of the tour, which includes plenty of Yorkshire venues including York and Bingley, visit the Mikron Theatre website.
Photograph credited to Peter Boyd