Musical company

The Waterways Mikron theater company on tour for its 50th anniversary

Mikron, that much-loved theater company that has toured the country in a vintage barge for the past 50 years, returns to our area at the end of the month with a revival of their show WI Raising Agents, alongside the premiere of Lindsay Rodden’s new play Red Sky At Night.

The music for Raising Agents is composed by English folk duo O’Hooley and Tidow, Mikron’s neighbors from Yorkshire, who will be familiar for their Gentleman Jack theme.

Director Rachel Gee said: “To perform for Mikron in our 50th year of touring, with such a brilliant show and crew, is an honor and a pleasure. The WI is such an amazing story to share, and I know everyone everyone will love the stories, trials and tribulations of the WI.”

Micron (57690774)

On tour until October 22, the company heads to Caversham, Burghfield, Woolhampton and also to the bank of the Thames in Oxfordshire at Goring:

  • Tuesday, July 19, 7 p.m., Relief Agents

Caversham Court, Church Road, Reading, RG4 7AD

  • Wednesday, July 20, 7 p.m., Relief Agents

The Barge, Station Road, Woolhampton, Reading, RG7 5SH

  • Tuesday, July 26, 7 p.m., Red Sky at Night

The Houseboat, Woolhampton

  • Wednesday, July 27, 7 p.m., Relief Agents

The Crafty Man, Burghfield Road, Burghfield Bridge Close, Reading, RG30 3RB

  • Thursday July 28, 7 p.m., Red Sky at Night

Lock Goring, Goring, RG8 9AE

  • Friday, July 29, 7 p.m., Relief Agents

Lock Goring, Goring, RG8 9AE

Take a look at the Raising Agents YouTube link:

Mikron remounted their hugely successful 2015 production of Maeve Larkin’s Raising Agents, a play about 125 years of the Women’s Institute, telling the story of Bunnington WI. A bit discouraged, with declining memberships, that means they can barely afford the room, let alone a decent speaker. So when a PR guru becomes a member, women are thrilled to have new blood. Initially, the milk of WI’s cuteness begins to sour when she renames them Bunnington Bunnies. They hop. With the stakes higher than a five tier cake stand, a battle ensues for the very soul of Bunnington, perhaps the WI himself!

James Mclean Hannah Bainbridge Alice McKenna Thomas Cotran by Liz Baker (1) (57690781)
James Mclean Hannah Bainbridge Alice McKenna Thomas Cotran by Liz Baker (1) (57690781)

On the threshold of a century into the next, this history of amateurs and lobbyists asks how much we should know about our past or how much we should abandon it.

The production cast will include Thomas Cotran (Atalanta Forever, Mikron Theater and Great Expectations, Dundee Rep/Horsecross Arts); Alice McKenna (Beauty and the Beast, Theatr Clwyd) and James McLean (Revolting Women, Mikron Theater and A Christmas Carol, Derby Theatre) and newcomer Hannah Bainbridge.

Playwright Maeve Larkin said: “I am thrilled that the Mikron Theater is reprising Raising Agents for their 50th anniversary tour. As with WI’s old paradoxical motto ‘Grave and Gay’, it aims to transcend the sum of its parts by celebrating the timeless principles of community, activism and brotherhood.”

Red sky at night
Red sky at night

Red Sky at Night by Lyndsey Rodden is about the wild and wonderful world of weather. Throughout the chronicles of history, people have contemplated and marveled at the mysteries of time. Generations have tried to master the elements and understand the magic of the sky.

Hayley’s beloved and sunny father was the nation’s favorite weatherman. He could make a typhoon noise like a tickle. Hayley is now following in his footsteps, to join the ranks of the forecasting fraternity. Or at least a local TV at tea time. When the pressure drops and dark clouds gather, Hayley melts faster than a lone snowflake. She’s seen the predictions of the future, but will anyone listen?

Bring your anorak and your factor 50. Well, you never know.


  • Based in the village of Marsden at the foot of the Yorkshire Pennines, the business is unlike any other. For starters, over the past 50 years they’ve shot 66 productions aboard a vintage houseboat. Tyesley and spent more than 34,000 hours sailing on inland waterways. Second, they present their shows in places that other theater companies wouldn’t dream of; a play about the culture of yours on a housing estate; a play about bees performed next to beehives, a play about fish and chips for the public at a fish and chips restaurant, as well as plays about accommodation performed at YHA hostels and the RNLI, performed in several lifeboat stations across the UK. Over the past 50 years, the company has performed 5,200 times in front of over 436,000 people.”