YOU can see Michael Barrymore at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
And Joan Rivers. And a host of stars including Clive James, Paul Merton and young talent Ed Byrne.
Oh, and the Quakers.
All the way from the little community of High Flatts, between Huddersfield and Penistone.
Arthur Pritchard and Mike Casey are the two halves of the Plain Quakers Theatre Company.
On the evening of Monday, August 18 they will dash from their 4.30pm performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to jump on a train to York.
At 10am the next day they will present their show, On Human Folly, at Yorkshire Friends’ Holiday School, being held at Queen Ethelburga’s College, Thorpe Underwood, near York.
As soon as the show is over, it’s back to York for a train that will get them to Edinburgh in time for Tuesday’s show.
They will be fulfilling a promise made to Yorkshire Quakers well before they had even thought of taking their show to the Fringe.
Arthur and Mike, who both live in Holmfirth, retired from teaching drama at Bretton Hall College last year after a combined teaching career of almost 64 years.
Only now are they are performing for the first time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, putting long taught theory into practice.
Plain Quakers was formed in 2007 to explore the potential of simple story-telling theatre using minimal resources and to promote debate on contemporary issues from a Quaker perspective.
On Human Folly, the company’s second play, raises difficult questions without easy answers and provides a sideways look at token environmentalism.
Using the story of the American radical Quaker John Woolman, who walked from London to York in 1772, the play moves between the past and the present, asking some uncomfortable questions.
What would the radical Woolman make of Samuel Galton, a Quaker who manufactured firearms? Woolman worked to abolish slavery: Galton sold weapons to slave traders.
Ironic commentary is provided by two mature present-day gents who imagine that plastic bag environmentalism will save the planet.
Arthur Pritchard is quick to reassure it’s by no means a sermon.
“We’re trying to draw parallels between our situation now, with people paying lip service to environmentalism, and with the slave trade during the 18th century,” he explains.
“At that time there were Quaker companies making weapons which were used in the slave trade, while other parts of the Quaker community were trying to abolish the practice all together.
“We felt that there was a parallel with our situation today where people talk about environmentalism but still buy bigger cars and take more cheap flights.”
Following their appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Plain Quakers will present On Human Folly at High Flatts Meeting House on October 4, as part of a tour to Quaker meetings in Yorkshire, including Ilkley, Hull and Sheffield, and from there to Belfast and Dublin.
The pair hope to take the show further afield in the future.
The company’s first project was Nine Parts a Quaker, a show based on the campaign by Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and the Quakers to achieve the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.
It was performed at High Flatts meeting house as part of a Quaker arts programme last September.
Plain Quakers receives financial support from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust and Quaker Outreach in Yorkshire.