Barrie Rutter's (pictured) award-winning Northern Broadsides troupe hit the road again this Autumn, with two new collaborations featuring the poet Blake Morrison. A fresh interpretation of Sophocles' Oedipus and Morrison's comedy The Cracked Pot will open at the company's Halifax Viaduct base on 6 September 2001.

The enduring tragedy of Oedipus charts the demise of a political icon as he searches for the truth behind a devastating plague. Morrison has infused his interpretation with regional dialect and accents, intended to "honour the rhythms and resonances of a great man's downfall". By contrast, The Cracked Pot is a bawdy farce which follows a North Yorkshire judge in 1810. When a family heirloom is destroyed, a Lancastrian Inspector becomes involved in the judge's frantic attempts to blackmail his way out of trouble. Morrison states that "there is a rich seam of wonderfully expressive old Yorkshire words, and mining it is not to dabble in nostalgia but to tap still-living energies".

Director Barrie Rutter was voted Creative Briton last year, and has produced numerous touring works for the Yorkshire company including Alcestis, The Mysteries, Richard III and the recent King John/Merry Wives tour. His other credits include Henry IV and The Taming of the Shrew for the RSC, plus The Crucible and Animal Farm for the National Theatre.

Northern Broadsides' education and outreach programme is also building too, with A-Level, GCSE and Creative Writing workshops running alongside opportunities to meet the cast and writers. Following the Halifax dates, the current productions will play at Bolton, Stockton on Tees, Skipton, Liverpool, Scarborough, Bristol, Thoresby and Stratford-Upon-Avon. Commenting on the two plays, Rutter says, "This pairing of a tragedy and a comedy will enable audiences to experience the full range of Northern Broadsides' talent".

- by Gareth Thompson