Northern Broadsides artistic director Barrie Rutter receives OBE

Barrie Rutter, OBE
Barrie Rutter, OBE

Acclaimed actor and Northern Broadsides artistic director Barrie Rutter has received his OBE for services to drama in the Investiture at Buckingham Palace.

Barrie Rutter received his honour from the Princess Royal, Princess Anne, during the ceremony yesterday.

Barrie said: “It was a wonderful occasion that I that I will never forget and one that I could share with my partner and three daughters.

“Princess Anne asked me about why I started up Northern Broadsides and about our last production –King Lear.

“Thanks to all the supporters. Am adrift in a vat of champagne and delight.”

Rachel Harris, chair of the board of trustees of Northern Broadsides, said: “We are delighted to congratulate Barrie as he collects his OBE this week. In the 22 years since Barrie founded Northern Broadsides he has determinedly led and developed the Company to its acknowledged position today. His acting and directing continues to produce theatre experiences that entertain and enthral old and new audiences alike.

“His vision has always been for the Company to stay true to its Yorkshire roots and voice, and is testimony to his northern grit and belief in his heritage. His honour is a well- deserved acknowledgement of all he has achieved with Northern Broadsides and a lifetime in the Theatre.”

Born in 1946, the son of a fishworker, Rutter grew up in Hull, around the corner from actor Tom Courtney. At school, an English teacher frog marched him into the school play because he had “the gob for it”, and feeling at home on stage, Rutter chose his future direction. There followed a period at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama and many years in the National Youth Theatre. Seasons at the RSC in Stratford, London and Europe completed the 1970s. In 1980 he joined the National He met and worked closely with a poet Tony Harrison. Rutter performed in all three of Harrison’s adaptations, all written for the Northern voice: The Mysteries, The Orestia, and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus. In Trackers, the part of Silenus was written especially for Rutter. It was this experience of performing in the northern voice that germinated the idea for Northern Broadsides.

Based in Halifax, Northern Broadsides is a unique theatre company with a true northern voice. Their work is characterised by a high degree of theatrical inventiveness and robust performances from a large ensemble cast of multi-talented and charismatic Northern actors who all perform in their natural voices. For the past 23 years, they have delighted audiences here and abroad with a growing classic repertoire which have won them many awards.

His theatre work includes: Henry IV, Henry V, Coriolanus and The Taming of the Shrew for the Royal Shakespeare Company and The Mysteries, The Crucible, Guys and Dolls, The Oresteia, The Rivals, Animal Farm, Martine and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus for the Royal National Theatre, the title role in Hobson’s Choice at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre and most recently in A Chorus of Disapproval at the Harold Pinter Theatre. His television appearances on television have included Fat Friends and Porridge.