For many summers the Mikron Theatre Company has been touring the Thames and the Oxford Canal on the narrowboat Tyseley, performing its shows mainly in pub gardens — or indoors if wet. This year is special: Mikron celebrates its 40th year.

“As a young man in 1972, I could only ever imagine Mikron lasting five years,” founding artistic director Mike Lucas told me from his home in France. “It was a labour of love and a shoe-string existence, but even then I knew that people really believed in what we did.

“Now, looking back over the amazing achievements, I am overawed by the support and loyalty of our audiences and the boating community who have kept us going all this time.”

This year Mike has returned to direct a new show, Hell & High Water. As with many Mikron shows, the story is taken from the canals themselves. This one is concerned with the building of the Bridgewater Canal. Opened in 1761 and the vision of three men, it was built to satisfy Manchester’s insatiable demand for coal. As always with Mikron, a team of just four actors will switch between all manner of costumes and voices to play a whole gallery of characters.

Alternating with Hell & High Water is a revival of a Mikron favourite, Beer Street. The company describe this show as “a heady draught of people, pubs, brews, and brewing”.

For full evening-by-evening details of which show is at which local venue, consult