A love of boats is not the most obvious requirement for actors.
But it’s a key factor that Marsden-based Mikron Theatre Company heads will consider when casting for their two new plays this year.
The ability to live in close confines with others, navigate and maintain a barge, deal with finances – and keep smiling while doing it – are all essential qualities of the waterborne theatre company’s staff.
And this is on top of fantastic acting talent combined with an ability to sing and master an instrument.
“It’s a very tricky process,” admitted Marianne McNamara, artistic director and one of the team presiding over the Marsden based company’s 45th year of events.
They have just opened their 2016 application process for shows Canary Girls and Pure.
The troupe will travel via their revered barge, Tyseley, to many of their performances.
“It’s as much about talent as the ability to get on with a group in the confines of a narrow boat for a big tour,’’ added Marianne.
“On the first page of our application page we write in bold ‘this is hard work’.
“We insist on speaking to everyone on our shortlist before they come for an audition in what we call the ‘putting off phone call’.
“Working for Mikron is about performing in different communities, including those along the canals who have a strong sense of ownership over our company.’’
Despite the demanding list of requirements, Mikron processes hundred of applications for just four actors, who take roles in both shows.
“Last year we had 450 applicants, so we have a very difficult job.
“But the actors we take on are great – last year’s were wonderful and gelled really well together, which is what they need to do.”
This year only three positions are being advertised, due to 2015 actor James McLean wanting to take part in another season.
Writers also undergo an intensive selection process, which is driven to give new talent the opportunity to showcase their work.
Lawrence Peacock has written Canary Girls, which reveals the efforts of women during World War One.
And Richard Vergette has penned the words to Pure, an exploration and critique of big chocolate businesses.
April 23 will see the first performance of Canary Girls, which will be shown on waterways and other locations up and down England until October 22.
To apply and to find out more details about Mikron, go to http://mikron.org.uk/ for details.