Now in their 46th year, Mikron Theatre Company make a welcome stop in Burley on 12th July as their national tour travels throughout the region.
Appearing for the first time at YHA New Forest they promise to delight audiences with energetic, fresh and original tales of our national institutions and the social histories of everyday people.
And this year it’s the turn of YHA England and Wales to get the Mikron treatment; written by Maeve Larkin and directed by Marianne McNamara, Best Foot Forward traces the history of Youth Hostelling from its inception in 1911 in the mind of a young German teacher-soldier who found himself in No Man’s Land at the Christmas Truce, through to its founding in Britain in the 1930s and right up-to-date with modern Youth Hostels still holding true to the founding ideals.
Something’s afoot at Pearling Manor and it isn’t just the walkers. The beautiful Youth Hostel, rich in YHA history, is lovely but falling apart. External forces are out to grab and turn it into a golf club. Cue Connie, first ever warden, with a heart as big as her rucksack. She takes us on a journey through the YHA’s past in the hope of securing its future.
Caroline White, Chief Executive of YHA (England and Wales), said: “The YHA network has changed beyond recognition in recent years, however many people still remember the days of wardens, chores and curfews. Thankfully, these are long gone but they are absolutely part of YHA’s rich history and what better way to celebrate it than with comedy in this brilliant production.
“I am delighted that through our partnership with Mikron Theatre Company we can bring Best Foot Forward to the thousands of visitors we welcome to Youth Hostels each year.”
Of course, the history of YHA has been full of ups-and-downs and there have been difficult paths and boggy lands to navigate along the way, and Maeve Larkin’s fast-paced and funny script is full of memorable characters, shenanigans and peril, and even a hint of romance along the way; all brought to life by a hugely talented team of four singing, instrument-playing, character-swapping actors.
Maeve who has written three previous shows for Mikron, says, “I’m chuffed to be back with Mikron, with a subject close to my heart. Writing for Mikron about YHA felt like a marriage of minds. And as both have an appetite for wanderlust the passion is kept alive! It’s been a pleasure to write.”
Marianne McNamara is Mikron Theatre’s Artistic Director and will be directing Best Foot Forward; “In our 46th year of touring, we’re thrilled to welcome back Maeve after the huge success of ‘Raising Agents’, our Women’s Institute play in 2015. Maeve has brought her trademark humour, pathos and faultless research to Best Foot Forward. We’re so excited to be touring the show all year to both Youth Hostels and our regular non-theatre venues. YHA has been amazing to work with and we can’t wait to welcome audiences across the nation to one of our 150 venues.”
Marianne is justly proud of her role as Artistic Director of Mikron and adds, “I take the legacy of Mikron very seriously and our promise to make theatre everywhere for everyone. For 46 years Mikron has toured to places that other companies don’t, and that means we are often deep in heart of the countryside, with no venue nearby, or finding ourselves performing in the most unlikely of places – a boatyard, an allotment site, even inside a tunnel. And this year we will be adding Youth Hostels and Lifeboat Stations to the places we perform in! Our shows are often performed outdoors and for a majority of them you don’t even need to buy a ticket – we pass a hat around at the end. We love how informal our performances are, and make shows that we can all relate to, and enjoy, whoever we are and wherever we come from!”
Mikron theatre have been touring their original brand of ‘theatre anywhere for everyone’ for 46 years, in the spring and autumn by road, and in the summer months on board their beloved historic narrowboat, Tyseley who is an amazing 80 years old!
Best Foot Foward tours the country from March to October 2017 alongside Mikron’s other new show In at the Deep End – an exhilarating trip with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution!