Mikron Theatre, in their 49th year of touring, are celebrating (wo)man’s best friend this season when they stage the premiere of Poppy Hollman’s new comedy caper A Dog’s Tale, which looks at canines past and present and the enduring love between people and their dogs.
You’d be FURgiven for thinking that Mikron is just another run-of-the-mill theatre company, but you’d be BARKING up the wrong tree. 2021 will see them LEAD you on a unique journey. It’s a show you won’t be able to TERRIER yourself away from.
A Dog’s Tale will kick off its tour at The Holbeck in Leeds, West Yorkshire on 5 June and then tour nationally by canal, river and road until 19 September.
The atmosphere at most Mikron performances is disarmingly informal, but don’t mistake informality for simplicity – in its laid back way, it’s an ambitious undertaking, and dogs are welcome at most Mikron venues.
Linda and her wayward rescue dog Gary are pursued by security through the halls and history of Crufts, accused of a terrible crime.
When Charles Cruft, the ‘Greatest Showman in Dogdom’, held his first show in 1891, he had a sense that dog ownership and breeding was about to become pretty big.
In this extraordinary world of heroic hounds, pampered pedigrees and naughty nobblers, does Gary have what it takes to win the day?
A Dog’s Tale is directed by Rachel Gee, designed by Celia Perkins, music composed and directed by Rebekah Hughes. The cast will feature Rachel Benson (Redcoats, Mikron Theatre), Thomas Cotran (Loserville, Union Theatre), James McLean (Much Ado about Nothing, Northern Broadsides) and Elizabeth Robin (The Little Mermaid, Everyman Theatre, Liverpool).
Why a play about dogs? Why not? Mikron tells the stories of the people behind the big events in history and the things that are close to our hearts. A great story, cracking songs and versatile quartet of actor musicians will guide audiences through the halls and history of Crufts.
Playwright and cat lover Poppy Hollman said about her new play: ‘I’ve written over twenty characters to be played by only four actors, but I know they’ll enjoy the challenge of bringing it to life! I was picked to write the play after participating in Mikron’s 2018 Writer’s Scheme: it’s my first professional commission. It’s been a delight to work for Mikron, a company whose creativity and ethos I love. I can’t wait to see them work their magic on A Dog’s Tale.
‘I spent two fascinating days at Crufts last year, eavesdropping on competitors and trying to work out which dog would win in each competition (success rate: zero). People were very friendly and frank in sharing their suspicions about judging bias. ‘Well, you know, that dog will win because it’s Scottish and so is the judge!’ (it did win). My impression of Crufts was that whilst dog participation was on a fairly exclusive basis, a huge variety of humankind was in evidence, on two legs or four wheels. Testament perhaps to the huge importance of dogs to many different people in their roles as pets, medical assistance dogs, working dogs and more. It’s also true to the founding principles of Charles Cruft, who charged only a penny so that everyone could enter their best friend.’
Director Rachel Gee added: ‘A Dog’s Tale is my first directing job with Mikron and it’s the ideal show for me as a dog owner. We can’t wait to welcome audiences (and their dogs) to shows up and down the country. Dog lover or not, this is the perfect night out for fun, laughter and wonderful songs.’
In 2021, Mikron Theatre Company will embark on their 49th year of touring. Based in the village of Marsden, at the foot of the Yorkshire Pennines, Mikron Theatre Company are like no other. For starters, they tour for most of the year on board a vintage narrowboat, secondly, they put on their shows in places that other theatre companies wouldn’t dream of; a play about growing-your-own shown in allotments, a play about bees performed next to hives, a play about chips to audiences in a fish and chips restaurant, as well as plays about hostelling in YHA Youth hostels and the RNLI at several Lifeboat stations around the UK.
A Dog’s Tale will be touring nationally in the summer alongside the previously announced new play by Amanda Whittington Atalanta Forever.