The HandleBards are a unique cycling theatre company, who carry all of their set props and costumes on the back of their bicycles, performing charmingly chaotic Shakespeare’s plays at outdoor venues all across the UK.
Listen to an interview with the Handlebards in episode 004 of The Cycling Europe Podcast (at 29 mins 20 secs):
The company began life in 2013 as a group of entrepreneurial friends with a shared passion for sustainability and travelling theatre. Since then they they have cycled over 8,200 miles across the whole of the UK, performing to over 70,000 people in castles, gardens, museums, bicycle yards and public amphitheatres. This summer they will breach 10,000 miles with an all-male production of Much Ado About Nothing and an all-female production of The Tempest. The cast consists of only four actors, which results in fast-paced multi-rolling that gives The HandleBards their unique brand of irreverent and family-friendly comedy.
Foe more information about The Handlebards cycling-acting troupes, including tour dates for summer 2019, visit their website: Handlebards.com.
The company also engage local communities at their shows, partnering with environmentally-minded businesses and inviting local musicians to play. This year, they are partnering again with British bicycle manufacturer Pashley, whose hand-crafted bikes they’ve be riding over hill and over dale since 2016.
Producer and co-founder Tom Dixon said: “The last six years have been an incredible adventure and we have met so many amazing people along the way. The positive energy, encouragement and support we get for our audiences’ and supporters is amazing, we honestly couldn’t do it without them. We know that right now the UK seems more divided than ever, but we’re certain that having more community events and getting people to come together to enjoy live arts in the outdoors is truly the best medicine.”