WI centenary tale plays in Chichester

Mikron theatre company mark 100 years of the WI on a tour which takes in Chichester.

Friday, 24th July 2015, 10:48 am

As spokeswoman Taru Sinclair explains: “In 2015 Mikron joins forces with the National Federation of Women’s Institutes to produce Raising Agents, a brand-new show marking the centenary of the founding of the WI in Britain.”

The show will be performed at Donnington Parish Hall on Thursday, August 6 at 7.30pm.

“Mikron, who have been producing their unique brand of theatre for 43 years, are the only company touring throughout England by narrowboat, travelling along canals and rivers and mooring up at canal-side venues such as pubs, village halls, marinas and dry docks.

“The cast of four unpacks sets, props, costumes, musical instruments and lights and, as the audience gathers, conjure up a variety of characters, stories and songs.

“From the moment Raising Agents starts with Ange bringing the branch into disrepute through her yarn-bombing direct action, it’s easy to see how Mikron has gained a reputation for bringing stories to life with high-energy performances full of fun and frolics.

“Raising Agents is set around Bunnington WI, a branch that is a bit down-at-heel. Dwindling membership means they can barely afford the hall, let alone a decent speaker. So when a PR guru becomes a member, the women are glad of new blood. Initially! The milk of WI kindness begins to sour when she re-brands them the Bunnington Bunnies. They’re hopping. With stakes higher than a five-tiered cake-stand, a battle ensues for the very soul of Bunnington, perhaps the WI itself!

“On the threshold of one century into the next, this tale of hobbyists and lobbyists asks how much we should know our past or how much we should let go of it. Above all else, like the WI itself, Raising Agents is a story of friendship.”

The show is the fourth written by Maeve Larkin for Mikron, including Can You Keep a Secret?, which told the events of the Luddite uprising through the eyes of a mill-owner’s daughter and Troupers, the little-known story of Lena Ashwell, the woman who was responsible for bringing entertainment to the troops on the frontline for the first time in World War One.

“Maeve is well skilled at bringing the human story to the sweep of history and is delighted to have written about the WI. Mikron are pleased the National Federation have partnered with them to produce the show, in giving Maeve access to the archives to help with uncovering the stories and characters in the WI’s rich history.

“Like all Mikron shows, Raising Agents full of wit and wisdom, big characters and small details.

“The show will has a strong musical element, and the original music has been composed by female duo O’Hooley and Tidow, award-winning musicians and song-writers, recently nominated as best duo for BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

“Mikron’s show will tour nationally on their vintage narrowboat Tyseley to every conceivable type of venue, reaching audiences other companies cannot, and who knows, maybe the WI’s centenary baton might even hitch a ride on Tyseley!”

Tickets on 01243 576701.

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