When people choose a narrowboat hire, their motivations vary but are often about escaping the every day, shaking off the shackles of normal life and escaping into a floating fantasy, enjoying the liberating experience of travelling along Britain’s beautiful canalways.
However, one narrowboat that sails along every summer brings fantasy and escape across the country, one canal at a time.
The Mikron Theatre Company was formed in 1972, but the seeds of the idea were planted nearly a decade previously.
Mike Lucas, a journeyman actor, loved the canalboat world and regularly went on holidays with his wife Sarah, enjoying the unique atmosphere that you can only find on the banks of the canal.
Whilst in one of many of the canalside pubs he liked, he had the revelation that he could start a floating theatre troupe; he could house actors in a large enough narrowboat, carry props and travel along the canals from pub to pub performing musicals written on, about and for the waterways.
In 1972, Mikron performed their first play, Still Waters, a musical tale about the invention of the canal routes and the industrial revolution.
By 1975, the company bought Tyseley, a 72ft narrowboat that has been the home of the troupe for over 43 years. Built in 1936, Tyseley is a Town Class narrowboat by Yarwords of Northwich, previously used on cement runs for British Waterways and as a floating restaurant.
Whilst the troupe do not perform on the boat itself, the narrowboat is such a vital part of the Mikron story that she is effectively another member of the cast, as well as the greatest standout feature of the theatre company.
Without Tyseley, Mikron cannot exist, and there are far fewer opportunities for people on the canals to experience the arts.
2022 marks Mikron’s 50th anniversary since the first performance of Still Waters, and the play they are performing is the 2015 show Raising Agents about the Women’s Institutes, as well as a newly commissioned play about weather forecasting called Red Sky At Night.