Introducing… Simeon’s Watch

A family adventure before Christmas by Bridget Foreman

Simeon's-Watch-hillside1Simeon’s Watch is an engaging new play for a family audience about… family. A delightful story about what growing old might mean, about being surprised, remembering love and discovering hope.

Leah keeps losing things. First it was her knitting, and now her father keeps wandering off. She frequently loses her temper and some days she thinks she’s losing her mind.

Or is it her father Simeon who’s doing that? Staring out of the window, muttering about angels, waiting with unshakeable conviction for ‘God knows what’. It’s all a game to Leah’s daughter, which only makes things worse.

Something has to change.

As the nights draw in, Leah watches her father wind down and her daughter race ahead.  She seems to be waiting too – but for what? And when the whole family is drawn to a starlit hillside, what more is to be lost and found?

Get ready for Christmas – make time for Simeon’s Watch.

Now Booking for a National Tour:
October to December 2016

Simeon’s Watch tells an inspiring story of family life that embraces three generations of shepherds – grandparent, parent and teenager. Their story links with the familiar story of the anticipation of the birth of Christ.

At the same time, it gently, amusingly, movingly explores the demands of growing old.  It shows the transformation that can come when both young and old bring acceptance to what is becoming a normal part of the adventure of family life.  By offering hope and joy, the play helps us all in our understanding of relationships that will always remain precious, however they may change.

Responding to the increasing challenge that declining mental health causes to families and indeed churches, Riding Lights has spent time with various groups exploring ways in which particular communication skills can transform these relationships.  Some of the insights we have discovered together are woven into the narrative of Simeon’s Watch.


Book the Show For Your Community

Simeon’s Watch will appeal to a wide age-range but still remain captivating for older children (10 yrs and above). It will certainly deliver a performance to bring great delight to any church community in the build-up to the Advent and Christmas season.

You can book a performance now by contacting Beth on 01904 613000 or emailing

Crosslight: Dress Rehearsal Photos

As Crosslight heads out on tour here are a few picks from the dress rehearsal photo shoot.

Many thanks to Tom Jackson who took these fantastic photos.

Crosslight is touring nationally from the 24th February  to the 26th March. You can find a full list of performances at Or try the tour map to quickly locate a show near you.

Crosslight: Now booking for 2016

We are looking for venues for our 2016 passion play.

Crosslight-WEB-POSTERWritten by Paul Burbridge for 2016, Crosslight approaches the Easter story from the perspective of the disciple who got it badly wrong…

Caught in the crosslight of the flickering candles at the last supper, the torches of Gethsemane, the firelight in the courtyard, by the searching gaze of his Lord, Simon ‘the rock’ is shattered.

As he hangs from the cross, Jesus is surrounded by a jeering crowd, laughing at his claim to be the Son of God. A small group of family and friends stands by until the agony ends. But the great friend who, more than any other, has stood by Jesus throughout the story is conspicuous by his absence.

We will be touring the show from the 23rd February to 26th March 2016.
If you would like to book a performance for your community get in touch with Beth on 01904 655317 or email

You can find out more about the show at

Changing The Temperature

In September we asked Jonathan Bidgood, co-writer of Baked Alaska, to write a piece for our Members’ newsletter on why climate change and christianity could possibly be a recipe for entertainment. It’s a great insight into just why we think this topic is so important, so we thought we’d share it here too…

This autumn we’ll be hitting the road with an exciting new show, Baked Alaska. It’s been a year in the making, a collaboration with Christian Aid, Operation Noah and the Diocese of Lichfield, aiming to engage and embolden the christian community in the run up to December’s crunch climate conference in Paris held by the United Nations.

What kind of a show is it?

Baked-Alaska-7506-WEBBaked Alaska sits firmly in the satirical mould that is trademark Riding Lights. With sketches, puppets, live music and incisive storytelling that gets right to the heart of the issues. First and foremost we want the show to be a great evening out.

The very best entertainment can also get us thinking about big issues, so it will also be a chance to wrestle with the topic. Like so many of our shows, Baked Alaska isn’t a series of answers, but a story to help us ask better questions. What is the climate crisis anyway? Why should we care? What can we do? We also want the audience to come away feeling hopeful – not powerless when it comes to tackling climate change.

The question about why we should care is particularly close to my heart. This is an issue that is so vast, so all consuming, that it is easy to ignore, failing, as it does, to tap into our more immediate needs and desires. It can be even easier to ignore within christian communities, where an emphasis on evangelism, or caring for the vulnerable, or righting social wrongs so often takes up all of our attention. Questions of conservation and resource management seem very far away when there are people going hungry on your doorstep.

Why should we care?

Baked-Alaska-8130-WEBWell, of course, it is an issue about people going hungry. Environmental problems hit the world’s poorest communities hardest. It might not be the frame many of us are familiar with seeing the environment in, but the most convincing scientific predictions suggest that those on the front line of climate change will be the most vulnerable – our neighbours all over the world. Christian Aid’s input into the project has helped us find stories which illustrate these problems, and some of the possible solutions.

Secondly, we are called to be the stewards of creation. In the very first chapter of the bible we are told that God sets human beings in dominion over the whole earth, a verse that has led to some astonishing, environmentally destructive behaviour over the ages. I can only imagine that such behaviour is the result of people failing to read the previous verse, in which we are told that we are created in the image of God. It is the image of a God who hovers above the waters, who speaks creation into being, who establishes a rich, interdependent ecosystem and then declares each part of it to be good. That dominion does not come with a licence to use and abuse, but with a powerful invitation, a responsibility, to become more like God in all of our actions, and in our treatment of his creation.

Can you help?

I’m sure there are almost as many opinions out there on this subject as there are audience members. Whatever your take on the issue, we’d love for you to come along, enjoy the show, and then please stick around and chat to us. Perhaps you could bring a whole group? I’m desperate to help start a church wide conversation on this one, to see the christian community become a world leader in caring for our planet. So, whatever you think, I hope to see you on the road this autumn.

Baked Alaska is touring until the end of November 2015. You can find a full list of upcoming performances here.

Baked Alaska – at Coventry Cathedral

We were thrilled to take Baked Alaska to the Reconciling A Wounded Planet at Coventry Cathedral, a perfect fit as the two day conference was looking at “stories of hope’ in the midst of the growing environmental crisis”.

Even better, The Church Times were there and Pat Ashworth gave the show a fantastic review. Below are a few choice quotes and you can read the full piece on their website.

“a robust and delicious satire on climate change”

“This is pure Riding Lights: funny, colourful, biting”

“You couldn’t feel passive about the issue after watching this”

We’re also really enjoying take the show to Cathedrals, partly because the set looks fantastic in such large spaces. Here’s the audience gathering ready for the show at Coventry.

Coventry Cathedral

Baked Alaska is touring the UK until the 28 November. You can find a performance near you at or see what else the press have been saying here.



Introducing… Baked Alaska

Green suggestions from our Members Day in YorkRiding Lights Theatre Company is pleased to announce our new show for autumn 2015, BAKED ALASKA.

From the four corners of the earth come inter-connecting stories of human beings living with the wild, unpredictable effects of climate change…

Scientists, farmers, oil magnates, climate warriors, prophets, mothers, journalists and others just like you and me – we’re all in the mix and hungry for a recipe of hope in the struggle about power. Some will sound the warming bell, some blow hot and cold, while others make a pudding of the planet.

Through the richly entertaining world of BAKED ALASKA, the realities of climate change are served up with flair and clarity about the temperatures involved. Riding Lights are creating an inspiring show which is challenging but fun, urgent but hopeful.

Performances in your community

BAKED ALASKA is touring to churches across the UK from September 16th to November 22nd, serving up a recipe for hope ready for the 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change taking place in Paris this December.

The show is presented by a solidarity of organisations, including Christian Aid, Operation Noah and the Diocese of Lichfield, committed to raising a christian voice in the call to worldwide action.

If you would be interested in hosting this inspiring piece of theatre in your community then please contact Caitlin, our BAKED ALASKA tour organiser, at Riding Lights Theatre Company on 01904 655317 or email:

Coming up in 2015…

Looking at the ‘what’s on’ page of this website, January might appear to be a quiet month for us, but that’s not the case. The office here at Friargate is a hive of planning, plotting, and preparation (and maybe a smidge of cleaning up after Christmas). In particular we’ll be welcoming our new Roughshod company into the building to start devising and rehearsing their 2015 show IrRESISTible.

Still January is also the perfect time to tell you all about the projects that we’ve got lined up for the next year, so…

Here’s what we’re got in store for 2015


Inheritance: 26 Feb – 4 AprilINHERITANCE

A second tour for Bridget Foreman’s acclaimed Passion Play which places the events of Holy Week into the community where Jesus lived and the traditions with which he wrestled. In the shadow of the cross, Inheritance casts light on some of the women Jesus stands alongside, sharing in their suffering. Combining theatre and worship, the Church Times praised the play as “the Passion story in close-up: intense, intimate …a piece of perfection.” 

[more info about Inheritance here]


Roughshod IrRESISTable: 7 March – 1 AugRoughshod_Van-and-Tag-WEB

Touring to churches, schools, prisons (and many more places who’ll invite us) in 2015 Roughshod will be telling stories of hopes and hazards, asking ‘what does it cost to make a difference’? This year Roughshod have partnered with Open Doors, a charity which serves persecuted Christians worldwide, to create work in celebration of their 60th anniversary.

[more info about Roughshod here]


Living Stones 2015: 23 May – 31 MayLiving-Stones-WS

Perhaps one of the most special and unusual ways to visit the Holy Land, Living Stones is a pilgrimage with a unique dramatic ingredient offered by Riding Lights’ involvement. Wherever possible, actors travelling with the tour will recreate stories associated with the places we are visiting as well as other moments of impromptu performance. Join us and Lightline Pilgrimages for this very unique holiday.

[more info about Living Stones here]


Summer Theatre School: 25 July – 1 AugGYATFace

Once again we’ll be retuning to Queen Margaret’s School near York for a wonderful week of creativity and performance. We’re running three new courses this year, with the return of a writers course (Inside Story), the chance to expand your vocal skills and devise a brand new live ‘radio’ play (Free Speech) and, in co-operation with Springs Dance Company, a movement and dance course (Giant Leaps).

[more info about Summer School here]


Into the autumn…

Plans are currently being made for a brand new National Tour looking at ecological issues in the autumn (more on this soon), and we will finish the year with our usual family Christmas Shows, including a national tour of A Christmas Cracker after it delighted audiences in Yorkshire in 2014.

At Friargate Theatre

Don’t forget, we’ve also got a packed programme at Friargate Theatre here in York. Of particular note for spring 2015 are the performances as part of the York Literature Festival and the York International Shakespeare Festival. If you’re in the area, don’t forget to check out what we’ve got going on on the Friargate page of this website.

Exciting stuff, we hope you’ll agree. If you’d like to keep updated about everything which Riding Lights get up to, why not sign up to the mailing list.

Fantastic Acts! – First Night and Photos

And they’re off…

Fantastic Acts has had a fantastic first couple of nights here in York and then up in Dunbar (on to Edinburgh this evening). We’re really pleased with t he show, and from the enthusiastic audiences responses so far, we think you will be too. Take a look:

‘Theatre that really gets you thinking…thought provoking, relatable…not to be missed.
(York audience member)

‘If you want to know what a real church should look like, you should go’
(Dunbar audience member)

‘Fantastically thought-provoking, funny and deep -loved it.’
(Twitter comment after York performance)

‘It was an amazing night! A really fun way to learn about the Book of Acts.’
(Facebook comment after the Dunbar performance)

 Thinking of coming to see the show? You can find performance dates here, plus we’ve got a few photos to give you a taster.


Fantastic Acts! – New Trailer

The cast are in the building and Fantastic Acts! rehearsals are underway. There’s current half a set in the Friargate foyer, and this morning costume measurements were taken… though they were for a puppet. We’re two and a half weeks away from opening night and Friargate is a hive of activity. Plus we’re getting through coffee at four times the normal rate.

However in all this busyness we did manage to grab an hour or so with John and Daniel to record this…

Fantastic Acts! is touring from the 8th October to the 29th November.
You can find a full list of performances here.

Fantastic Acts! Teaser Trailer and Tour Dates

Today may be the first day back at school for many, but we’ve been working hard all summer getting ready for our new autumn tour of Fantastic Acts! Our local organisers have been busy organising while writers and designers have been, well writing and designing, plus the show is now cast (more on that soon). We’re very excited about the show.

In fact to whet your appetites too we’ve got a short teaser trailer…

The tour is taking shape very nicely, and you can see a full list of confirmed performances over at Fantastic Acts! show page (with a couple more to add as we get the final details.) So find a performance near you and get the date in your diary – we’d love to see you there!