Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
11:56 AM 30th January 2020

Barrie Rutter Diagnosed With Throat Cancer

The award-winning actor/director and founder of Halifax based Northern Broadsides Barrie Rutter has been diagnosed with throat cancer. He is in the good care of the mighty NHS and will begin his treatment very shortly.

Barrie as King Lear
Barrie as King Lear
Born in 1946, the son of a Hull fish worker, Rutter grew up in a two-up two-down in the fish dock area of Hull. At school, an English teacher frogmarched 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 many years in the National Youth Theatre culminating in The Apprentices’ by Peter Terson – a role specially written for him, a practice to be repeated later in his career.

Barrie Rutter OBE
Barrie Rutter OBE
Seasons at the RSC in Stratford, London and Europe completed the 1970s. In 1980, he joined the National Theatre, a formative period. He met and worked closely with a poet who was to become his guru, Tony Harrison. Rutter performed in three of Harrison’s adaptations, all written for the Northern voice: The Mysteries, The Oresteia, and The Trackers of Oxyrhynchus. In Trackers, the part of Silenus was written especially for Rutter. It was this experience that germinated the idea for Northern Broadsides which he led for the past 25 years. In 2015, he was awarded the OBE for Services to Drama.