Waterways Alive! – 2021

Our first festival line up
At Batchworh Lock Rickmansworth and online



Online Q&A with Mikron Theatre Company

Come and join me, Kate Saffin (Alarum Productions) for a glimpse into the creative processes behind 50 years of ever varied touring theatre by the acclaimed and multi award winning Mikron Theatre Company. I’ll be talking to Artistic Director, Marianne McNamara and write Poppy Hollman about one of their 2021 shows, A Dog’s Tale.

And I hope I won’t be doing all the asking – it’s a great opportunity to ask Marianne and Poppy about their work AND support Mikron as, like every theatre company at the moment, they work hard to keep going and stay afloat.

Marianne joined Mikron as an actor in 2003. Since then she has worked for the company as an actor, administrator, director, youth worker and since 2009, Artistic Director.

Marianne is responsible for show choices, commissioning writers, directors, designers and actors and monitoring and assessing the quality of our productions and is a qualified Royal Yacht Association Inland Waterways Helmsman.

It is free to register, but we hope you will make a generous donation to support Mikron’s work.

  • Friday 17th at 6 pm
  • ONLINE EVENT – Free Registration
  • Zoom link will be emailed closer to the event

The Angry Boater – If you could abandon it all to follow a dream, would you?

Joel Sanders is a UK comedian who regularly toured America, worked with Robin Williams, performed a run of sell-out shows in Vegas and now lives full time on the UK’s waterways.

Now in its 7th year, ‘Angry Boater,’ is the world’s only comedy show about swapping the comforts of suburbia for the chaos of London’s waterways – a lifestyle defined by overcrowding, broken toilets, break-ins, breakdowns, the 14 day rule, lock rage and, worst of all, other boaters.

Twists, turns & big laughs from a comedian who spent a decade performing across the USA …. followed by another decade floating around England.

Whether you’ve ever considered living on a boat or you can’t imagine anything worse, this is a night of comedy just the way you like it …. up the canal.

  • Friday 17th at 7:45pm
  • For adults
  • Batchworth Lock Education Centre
  • Tickets £11


Boat Horse – Bonnet and Belt Theatre Co

Boat Horse is a fun and exciting romp – told in narrative, poetry, puppetry and great original songs, – through the days of the horse drawn canal boats and the incredible society the boating folk created.

From the true story of the Horse that Jumped at the Moon to the apocryphal tale of theboatman that nearly stopped a world war, Boat Horse tells powerful, imaginative and heartfelt stories to have audiences in laughter, tears and singing along.

Written and performed by playwright and actor/musician Phil Underwood with acclaimed folk singer Denise Dryburgh.

“Stunning and original” – York House Centre

  • Saturday 18th at 2 pm
  • Suitable for all ages
  • Batchworth Lock Education Centre
  • FREE to Reserve – Donate online or at the the event

The Idle Women Story

It’s 1941. Daphne owns a narrow boat near Worcester and wants to help with the war effort. So she places an ad for crew in The Times. Molly has had extensive sailing experience and heads off for an interview. Eily has never been anywhere near a boat before. In 1947, Susan writes a book called ‘Idle Women’ and starts an urban myth.

Through newly unearthed letters, and poems created from found text, wartime women will tell their own stories of handling cargo-laden boats, learning how to work a lock and how coal and cement dust gets just about everywhere!

Former Worcestershire Poet Laureate Heather Wastie has published eight poetry collections including Weaving Yarns, about Kidderminster’s carpet industry and Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways with Kate Saffin. Inspired by oral history, she writes and performs solo and with Alarum Productions.

  • Saturday 18th at 5:30pm
  • Reserve for FREE  (Includes your ZOOM link)
  • Donations welcome 

IRON to IRONY – a long awaited show written and performed by JANUL.

It’s ironic that an 1883 iron “Joey”, built for a short working life, outlived her custodians and moved on into the future. Take a different journey, with dramatic twists leading to a contemporary world, including modern widebeam craft.

BCN 108’s survival against the odds of work and wars, arriving at today’s canal, is told through the eyes of real-life boats. Join in with lively songs and poems about a changing waterway.

Experience the strong emotional undercurrents as you travel through the centuries and changing culture – Into another millennium.

  • Saturday 18th at 6:30 pm
  • For all ages
  • Batchworth Lock Education Centre
  • Reserve your tickets for FREE (Donations also welcome)

The Mary Rose – the story of a boat of ill repute 

A boat, a brothel and a long forgotten law… It all adds up to some pretty racy goings on in Wolvercote on the Southern Oxford. An Act of Parliament, passed in the early 18th century, but never repealed, allowed a brothel on a boat – as long as there were no more than two customers on board at any one time! Based on an allegedly true story, The Mary Rose – a boat of ill repute tells a tale of two women who weren’t breaking the law – which did not amuse the local constabulary…

Boater, writer, storyteller and actor, Kate Saffin, has lived on a narrowboat and told stories of the waterways as solo plays since 1999. She trained as a writer for stage and broadcast media at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (MFA). She has performed at canal festivals, in pub gardens and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and works with poet and songwriter Heather Wastie as Alarum Productions.

  • Saturday 18th at 8pm
  • Not suitable for children
  • Batchworth Lock Education Centre
  • Reserve your tickets for FREE (Donations also welcome)


Dinky Dancers of the Waterways – dance session for 2 – 4 year olds and their grown up

Join Hannah for a canal themed adventure with this active and upbeat Dinky Dancers session. With plenty of music, games and movement, this session helps develop your child’s motor, creativity and confidence skills as well as being a fantastic opportunity for you to have lots of fun together. More…

Hannah is a freelance dance artist and teacher, based in Hertfordshire. She graduated from Falmouth University’s Dance & Choreography course in 2018 and is currently teaching a wide range of ages with Active Creative, Stagecoach High Wycombe, Henley & Marlow, Clubs Complete and Invisible Threads Dance. Hannah has been going on narrow boat holidays all her life and is intrigued by the history of the canal network. She is excited to merge this fascination with dance and the canals at the Dinky Dancers of the Waterways session!

  • Sunday 19th at 11 am
  • For all 2-4 year olds and grown up
  • Batchworth Lock Education Centre
  • Tickets £5 – Donate online or at the show

Chillout – music at the lock

“And for something completely different”. JANUL will be wearing a different “hat” and performing the “stuff you already know”, outside (weather permitting), at Batchworth Lock.

Hoping for sunshine, where you can bring a beer and let the nostalgic atmosphere wash over you.

This is one of those reflective afternoons where you can muse on how things were and how they are now, as the songs bring back memories of very different days.

Just turn up and listen, no ticketing, but you can donate by various means on the day.”

  • Sunday September 19th 3pm – 5pm
  • Batchworth Lock 
  • FREE Event – Donations welcome

The Idle Women Story – in words & dance

Be transported back in time to 1941, where the story of the Idle Women began. Through dance put to poetry, discover the women’s experiences as they learned the ways of the waterways. The grime, the grit and the world that opened up to them, which otherwise remained unseen.

The Dancer
Hannah is a freelance dance artist, based in Rickmansworth. She has been going on narrowboat holidays all her life and is fascinated by canal history. Alarum Productions’ ‘Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways’ (2017) inspired her to merge dance with canal history and she went on to perform ‘Liquid Roots’ onboard Barge Fiodra (2019). Hannah is very excited to portray the story of the Idle Women through dance.

The Poet
Former Worcestershire Poet Laureate Heather Wastie has published eight poetry collections and is inspired by oral history. Her piece combines newly unearthed letters, and poems created from found text.

  • Sunday 19th at 6 pm
  • Batchworth Lock Education Centre
  • Tickets £5  – Also donate online or at the the event

Still Waving – celebrating poetry with a waterways theme

Treat yourself to an evening of watery words and images plucked from the murky depths of the canal and boating life.

First time and long time poets will be reading their works live or online to amuse, shock and move you. You can sit back at home or join us in Rickmansworth for the craic. Our guest poet line up so far:

  • Dru Marland – Kennet and Avon (Podcast)
  • Emma Purshouse 
  • Steve Haywood 
  • Phil Underwood 

Our invited “mic spot” poets will each have 4 minutes to share a poem with us. If you want to join in – apply here.

  • Sunday 19th at 7:00pm
  • May not be suitable for young children
  • Batchworth Lock Education Centre and ONLINE
  • Live and Online FREE EVENT