Like many theatres, Mikron Theatre has had a tough time of it through the pandemic. We can all start to look forward to their 49th year of touring though! Atalanta Forever takes a look at the story of women’s football. Set in the 1920s, all-girl teams are pulling huge crowds in fund-raising games for wounded soldiers, but Huddersfield amateurs Annie and Ethel are ready to take a shot at the big time. The show follows the women as they take on the legendary teams of the era – and find the toughest opponent of all is the FA.
It’s based on a true story of one of three women’s football teams in Huddersfield in the 1920s. These teams were incredibly successful in raising money for hospitals, war widows and more great causes. Some games even drew crowds of over 25,000 people! The pioneering Huddersfield Atalanta Ladies FC raised more than £2,000 for various charities before they folded in 1924, and Atalanta Forever shines a spotlight on this exceptional team.
What’s even more interesting is 2021 is the 100th anniversary since the Football Association banned women from playing on Football League grounds. It will also be the 50th anniversary of the first Women’s FA Cup final.
Perhaps you already knew all of the above, but I certainly didn’t and I’m intrigued to learn more! Who doesn’t want to find out about our country’s fascinating history whilst being thoroughly entertained by the Mikron Theatre’s talented touring cast? The show is being directed by the incredibly talented Marianne McNamara, which music composed by Kieran Buckeridge. The cast includes Rachel Benson (who I’ve seen perform before, and can confidently say will be amazing!), Thomas Cotran, James McLean and Elizabeth Robin.
The play has been written by one of Britain’s most popular dramatists, Amanda Whittington. She’s perhaps best known for Be My Baby, though has also written a number of other plays including Ladies Day, My Judy Garland Life and many more.
Amanda Whittington says: “I was an 11-year-old footballer in the 1980s, the only girl who played in the boy’s village tournament and I vividly remember being ‘advised’ to stop because it wasn’t appropriate. I still feel the injustice, and the sense of shame for wanting to do something I was not meant to. It brings joy to my heart to see football is now the biggest team sport for girls in Britain. I wanted to write about the battle the women’s game has fought to survive and prosper – and perhaps to tell the 11-year-old me she was right?”
Audiences can expect the typical Mikron magic – an action-packed play of two halves full of unique live music and plenty of humour. The Mikron team will set out on tour from June 2021 to September, travelling around by vintage narrowboat to a variety of unique venues. For tour dates and information on Atalanta Forever visit http://mikron.org.uk