Roughshod on the Road: TKC York

Ten whole days in York!

It’s been very strange to be back at base camp – not least after two weeks out of England. Although we were ‘home’ we were working hard supporting York churches and schools as they took part in this worldwide week of prayer. Taken from a line in the Lord’s Prayer these “Thy Kingdom Come” events were all about seeing the Kingdom Of God here “on earth as it is in heaven”. It was great to have a sense of being part of a bigger event with activity across the country and not just York..

It was great to connect back in with our ‘home’ community. We got the change to do more street theatre, after our first outing in Northern Ireland,this time in York city centre, plus a performance on the York walls. (Perhaps the most unique performance venue so far?) The days had a real party vibe with music from various performers and great pieces of art from YWAM. We even performed at a community fun day celebrating the royal wedding.

We performed a couple of full shows too and a real highlight was having Archbishop Sentamu along for the performance at St. Chads. All in all we have been deeply encouraged by these ten days, and I hope that in turn we’ve done the same for others in this remarkable city.


Roughshod On The Road: Scotland

A week in numbers. 7 performances in 5 prisons, 3 public performance in 3 cities. Oh and countless numbers of sandwiches!

We’ve been invited up to Scotland by Junction 42 to help them launch some of their projects north of the boarder. We’ve worked with Junction 42 regularly in Newcastle and see some of the fantastic work they do supporting offenders and ex-offenders, creating a bridge back in to the community and helping them find independence.

Working in prisons again also gave us the chance to pull out some of the material we had not performed for a few weeks. We all enjoyed being able to do the full show as well as experiencing our first prisons on tour. We spent the week laughing, singing and talking with many men from all walks of life in the prisons, helping them think about faith and forgiveness. Here we are with Dorothy and David at the end of one of the workshops in a prison chapel.

At the close of each set we always perform Amazing Grace by John Newton encouraging the men to join in if they know it. To our joy one or two men would always join in the singing in each show. The opportunity to worship without pretence with them was a privilege, a really touching moment.

At the weekend we were really lucky to get some gorgeous weather in Edinburgh, and we got a bit of time relaxing in Mugdock Park outside Glasgow before our public performance there! Next week we are really excited to be travelling to the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Roughshod hasn’t been over there for over 10 years). Wish us luck for a smooth ferry crossing!


Applications Open: Roughshod 2018

Applications are now open for volunteers for our 2018 Roughshod company.

Here’s a bit more about what we’re looking for…

Actors wanted (M/F) for a seven month community tour in 2018.

Actors-Wanted-600pxRiding Lights Roughshod is our dynamic young theatre company – taking faith inspired theatre into the heart of local communities all around the UK. Each year Roughshod creates and tours dynamic, challenging, spiritually centred performance to the places that need it most, performing everywhere from churches to care homes, primary schools to prisons.

We are looking for bold actor/facilitators with a range of skills who are interested in performing and running workshops in a wide variety of settings. All successful applicants will be supported in the rehearsal period with a training programme that equips our actors with top voice coaching, prison and schools work as well as workshop leading.

Please consider the company’s christian ethos before applying

Closing date for applications: Thursday 15 June 2017.

Auditions: will take place in York on 21 & 22 June 2017.
Second round audition dates: 10 July 2017
(Please Note: there has been a change to the first round audition dates)

Applications are now closed.

For more info call: 01904 655317 or email:


Roughshod Blog: Rehearsal Room Wizardry

Emily gives us a glimpse inside the first few weeks of Roughshod rehearsal…

I’m convinced that time passes more quickly in York than anywhere else. I can’t believe we’re halfway through our fourth week; I feel like I’ve been here for five minutes – but that I’ve known everyone forever!

What wizardry is this? I’ve wanted to work for Riding Lights for as long as I can remember, so every day is still a total reality check of ‘how is this actually my life?!’ In four weeks we’ve learnt what feels like a million scripts (but have somehow barely touched upon our main show?) played a lot of drama games, pretended to be reluctant teenagers and uncooperative prisoners, and then delivered workshops to the real thing (thankfully they turned out to be a million times nicer and more insightful than our portrayals!).

Going into the prison has been a highlight for me so far – I’d never been in one before and at first the high fences and heavy doors seemed pretty intimidating. But the men inside them were, of course, just ordinary people who had had some difficulties in their lives. They were friendly, welcoming and really appreciative, participating fully and sharing honestly and openly. It felt like an honour to be trusted with some of their stories.

The thing I was most dreading was the infamous Roughshod personality exercise, through which all our flaws would be laid bare and our darkest secrets exposed (or so I thought). Thankfully it was a far more pleasant experience: we chose two personality archetypes (such as Mother, Child, Hero, Jester, Explorer, Artist, Actress etc.) which we represented though clothes and then had to guess what each other had chosen, and how accurate we thought they were. it was actually really interesting to hear how other people see you, and the success of this was entirely down to the grace, compassion and sensitivity of the other Shoddies (and Paul & Paul, I suppose!). I already feel like these people are going to be friends for life – we haven’t stopped laughing since day one, but have also forged depth and honesty in our team. I’m so excited about the next few months!


Roughshod Blog: Back To School

After spending most of last autumn touring Baked Alaska, Katie Brier is back in the Friargate rehearsal room, now with Roughshod 2016…outside manor School - Feb 2016

Well, I’m back in York with the lovely people at Riding Lights and we are two weeks into our rehearsals for Roughshod 2016. All I can say is… So far so good! Me and the rest of the Roughshod gang are getting along like a house on fire and we seem to be spending a large portion of our time together in absolute fits of laughter (often at very inappropriate moments, much to the dismay of our director…) So much so, I nearly named this blog “MY BELLY HURTS”. I had a good feeling about this company when my rehearsal brief consisted of:

  1. Read the Sermon on the Mount
  2. Watch loads of comedy. And
  3. Bring tap shoes

You can’t really go wrong with criteria like that.

Before I go on, I should probably explain to those of you who are undoubtedly asking “what on earth is Roughshod…?” exactly what it is that I’m getting myself into. Basically, Roughshod is Riding Lights’ community touring company, designed to take theatre to places that might not otherwise get it. As well performing our show Let Loose, we’ll be visiting churches, colleges, community spaces, prisons, universities, schools, running workshops, taking classes, performing in assemblies and church services – basically, anywhere that will have us!

Which leads me on to the first milestone that we overcame last week – our first schools’ workshops. Following a couple of days of VERY comical rehearsals in which we all took it in turns to play the role of school kids whilst other members of the company road tested the games and activities from the workshops, we packed up a random assortment of props and headed to Manor CE Academy in York.

Now, despite being a “grown up” and having had a bit of experience working with “youths”, going into a high school still terrifies me for two reasons:

  1. By Year 8, most high school students are already taller than me.
  2. I haven’t had the slightest idea about what is “cool” since around 1998.

Meaning that I think I hold very little authority within this particular context!

However, myself and the rest of the Roughshod crew put aside any of our pre-existing fears and delivered two workshops to students in Year 8 and 9, the first on the issues surrounding Social Justice and the second on what it means to have a Christian faith. Neither particularly simple topics to tackle at 9am on a Tuesday!

However, having broken the ice with a few old faithful wacky drama games, both classes did an excellent job of engaging with the activities, sketches and questions that were presented to them. All of the Shoddies are extremely grateful for not only the amount of fun, but also the level of thought-provoking conversation that we had that morning. The students approached the workshops with honesty and good humour in equal measure and the experience was a real reminder of how God is able to multiply what we offer, even when we feel ill-equipped in what we are offering!

The final part of either workshop is a Q&A, in which the students can grill the Shoddies on anything covered in the workshop, their faith or any questions they have about the random life of an actor! Our final question of the day was “so, why did you become a Christian?” I know for those of us that were able to, it was a real privilege share part of our story and talk about something that has provided so much joy and encouragement in our own lives (although we had to be brief as we were dangerously close to cutting into break time!)

So, despite a few jitters and nerve-induced imperfections in our delivery, team Roughshod left our first morning at a school with our dignity still intact and feeling really rather encouraged! Though I think one of the young people summed up the morning far better than I ever could: ‘That was quality. It was good that.’

Introducing our 2016 Roughshod

It’s been a while since we updated the Roughshod blog, but never fear, an absence of updates does not mean an absence of news!

Our lovely Shoddies for 2016 are on board and getting ready for rehearsals in January, the tour is gradually getting booked, and the sketches are making their way onto paper from the over-active mind of Paul Birch.

Over the next few weeks you’ll read much more about the actors that are taking the Roughshod plunge in 2016, but for now say hello to Mili, Jake, Katie, Charles and Emily. Look at them, don’t they look excited…


We’re delighted to have them join (and some return to) the Riding Lights family, and we hope you’ll join us in praying for and supporting these young actors as they gear up for the Roughshod adventure!

Roughshod Administrator

Introducing… Roughshod 2015

We’ve now said goodbye to our 2015 Roughshod company after an amazing tour, but we thought you might like to see how we introduced them…

Erin Burbridge

Erin-Headshot-WEBI spent a year and a half at the London School of Economics before deciding that the world of theatre looks far more exciting and appealing. Last year I also interned at HTB Church in London, which I loved. I am a big Liverpool FC fan and I really love glitter.

Roughshod is such an exciting challenge and I can’t wait to take powerful theatre into unusual places and seeing God impact hearts through the stories we tell. It’s a huge task but I can’t wait to take it on!

Mark Fromings

Mark-Headshot-WEBHello, Mark here! I’m 21 years old and live in Dartford (Northwest Kent), and studied Economics at the University of Warwick. Although my degree is in something seemingly scary and dull, my passion in life is definitely theatre. I’ve been acting since I was 8 and I am very excited to combine this creativity with the gospel as a part of Roughshod!

The thing I’m most looking forward to in the coming months is meeting a bunch of great people and learning more about God. When I’m not in the theatre (not often), I love a relaxed round of golf, a kick about in the park or a good board game (challenge me to a game of Boggle if you dare…)

Naomi Gale

Naomi-Headshot-WEBBeing born and bred near the south coast in Dorset, it feels pretty surreal to now be joining Roughshod all the way up in York! However, I can’t wait to begin the next phase God has called me into, and I am so excited that he has called me to Roughshod, where I can exercise my love of performing in a way that’ll glorify God, and spread His love!

I have just graduated with a BA (Hons) in Education with English and Drama from the University of Cambridge, (and no, I didn’t learn how to be a teacher!), and I’m looking forward to utilizing what I’ve learnt these past three years in the tour.

I strongly feel that the arts have a powerful part to play in ministry, and I love that I’ll be doing drama with a purpose! I’m particularly excited to make new friendships, tackle new challenges, develop my skills, and to perform and work with such a variety of people! What a blessing!

Charles Merritt

Charles-Headshot-WEBAt 18 I’m the youngest member of this year’s Roughshod company. I’m currently applying to a number of drama schools hoping to continue my training. I’m sure my time with Roughshod (though just until Easter – after which Daniel will be joining the company) will be very useful in developing my abilities. I am very much looking forward to touring around the country and challenging our audiences with exciting and thought provoking performances. After years of struggling with education, myself and my confidence, I am finally doing what I love full-time and I can’t get enough of it.

Jenni Street

Jenni-Headshot-WEBAnswering the question of where I’m from is always a little difficult for me – I was born in Chile in South America where my parents were missionaries, but grew up in Halifax in West Yorkshire, and now live in Long Eaton near Derby!

As a regular attendee of the Riding Lights Summer Theatre School it has long been my ambition to become a Shoddy myself. Imagine my delight when I was told that I would be joining this amazing team, spreading the Word of God through drama and storytelling, my two passions! I cannot wait to get started!

I’ve recently graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in English and Theatre Studies. Mark was at Warwick in the same year as I was and we were probably frequently in the same room, but we only met when we came to the Roughshod audition!

I’m really looking forward to growing in my faith and confidence as I take the gospel through drama to those who are thirsty and hungry to hear it. Bring on Roughshod 2015!

Roughshod will be touring their new show, Irresistible, from the 7th March 2015.

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.

Looking ahead to Autumn and beyond…

Origins & Lemons BinocularsThis time of year is always an exciting one in the Riding Lights office. Not only are preparations for Summer School at full speed, Roughshod have arrived home in York,  bringing a whole tour’s worth of energy and exciting stories back with them and into the building.

It also makes for one of the very few moments when we don’t have a company out on the road. It’s astonishing really, the end of July and August are the few months when we don’t have a show on the road. That’s only two months out of twelve when Riding Lights, in one form or another, aren’t touring! We do keep ourselves busy.

What’s more, the next 12 months are looking to be just as full, and booking for 2014/15 is well underway. Take a look…

  • Fantastic Acts!  (September to November 2014) 
    Autumn National Tour based on the book of Acts
  • A Christmas Cracker (November to December 2014)
    Yorkshire Christmas tour to  schools,  churches and arts centres
  • Goose Chase (November to December 2014)
    National Christmas tour to  schools,  churches and arts centre
  • Roughshod 2015 (February to July 2015)
    Regional tour working with churches and communities around the UK
  • Inheritance (February to April 2015)
    A Passion Play for Lent 2015, re-touring after a very successful 2014 run.

Would one of these shows be perfect for your community? We’re always looking for new venues or communities to perform in. If you’d like to know more take a look at our ‘host a show‘ page’, give us a call on 01904 655317, or email Bernadette on

Roughshod 2015: Applications Open

recruitment-web-imageApplications are now open for our 2015 Roughshod company.

The first round of auditions will be held here in York on the 8 & 9 July 2014(Second round audition dates: 17th & 18th July 2014)

You can find out more, and apply online here.

Riding Lights Roughshod companies are well known from their touring work throughout the UK since 1992, visiting local communities (schools, churches, prisons, colleges, arts centres etc) with a dynamic repertoire of story-telling/revue performances, education projects, theatre workshops and plays. It could be described as ‘theatre with a spiritual heart’ which reflects the christian ethos of the company.