Northern wit is abundant in this Dickens of a tale.

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Hard Times

Viaduct Theatre. February 16-24

Northern Broadsides stage the premiere of Deborah McAndrew’s witty new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ great Northern novel of repression and longing Hard Times in February next year.

Directed by Northern Broadsides’ resident director Conrad Nelson, the new adaptation will get its first outing at the Viaduct Theatre, Halifax from February 16-24 before touring nationally until the end of May.

Imagine a world where imagination is forbidden. Coketown is such a place.

Thomas Gradgrind will not permit fanciful thoughts in his school or his home. But what effect will this policy have on his own children, Tom and Louisa?

How can he protect them from corrupting influences – especially when the circus comes to town?

Dark satanic mills, interrupted by the colour and vibrancy of Sleary’s Circus, set the stage for a sweeping tale of supressed love, seduction and social mores, peopled with the sharply observed exaggerated characters that Dickens is celebrated for.

Says Deborah McAndrew: “I’ve always admired Hard Times - Dickens’ one truly Northern novel. The title is a bit off putting, giving the impression of a story that is relentlessly grim.

“However, it’s full of all the usual brilliant Dickens characters, and lots of very good jokes. It’s also a life affirming story, and a manifesto against a dry, utilitarian approach to education and human discourse in general. “

Director Conrad Nelson adds: “In this witty and imaginative adaptation, we maintain all the humour and pathos of the original novel, presented with a lightness of touch in a clear and fluent drama.

“It might be grim up north in Coketown, but this is a place populated by the most colourful personalities that you’re ever likely to meet.

“Broadsides’ vibrant performance style and musical verve and wit are best suited to deliver Charles Dickens at his popular best. Northern Broadsides - not for gradgrinds,” says Nelson.”

lFor more information about the show and available tickets go to or call the box office on 01422 255 266.