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About Alarum

About us

A different kind of production company

We celebrate real life stories of women (and occasionally men) on the canals in thoroughly researched, accurately presented performances, publications & audio.


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 adapted the waterway classic Ramlin Rose: the Boatwoman’s Story by Sheila Stewart and has performed at canal festivals, in pub gardens and at Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Other canal based plays have retold the apparently true story of a brothel on a boat (The Mary Rose: A Boat of Ill Repute), a late coming of age for a pensioner who finds herself on holiday on a boat (Finding Libby) and a musical based on Midsummer Milly, a story for children by Dan Clacher.


Poet, singer-songwriter and accordion player Heather Wastie has been involved with canals since childhood, when her family took part in campaigns to save them.

Her writing projects include a Residency at the Museum of Carpet, culminating in Weaving Yarns published by Black Pear Press. She was the 2015/16 Worcestershire Poet Laureate and in 2017 was commissioned to write and perform poems for the popular Nationwide Building Society television ad campaign. In 2018 she completed a book of poems about the restoration of the Droitwich Canals, The Muck and Shovel Brigade, commissioned by Canal & River Trust for The Ring. This work is now touring as half of Alarum’s double bill, Acts of Abandon, along with Kate’s play The Mary Rose: A Boat of Ill repute.

Mission Statement

We are passionate about celebrating the history of the UK waterways, seeking out the stories of women’s involvement, and sharing this history with others through artistic engagement.

We believe in preserving this history for future generations, enabling local communities to come together to celebrate their heritage, and strengthen these communities through attendance at live performances and workshops, as well as engaging in audio, video and written material.

We create artistic spaces in settings that would not normally support the arts, such as boatyards and other historic waterside locations, bringing communities together to see their history in new and exciting ways, focusing on inclusivity and affordability.

We create and strengthen partnerships with historic waterside locations, and in doing so enable thorough research and archiving to take place, ensuring local history is preserved.

We support and encourage collaboration with and between other solo performers and small companies, thereby building a strong waterways theatre presence and promoting excellence in performance-based work that responds to life on or around the water