Following on from their critically and commercially successful 2019 season, The Barn Theatre have announced the seven productions that form their 2020 Built By Barn season, which includes the world premiere of Vicki Berwick’s stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s The Mozart Question, directed by Olivier and Tony award winner John Caird.
The season opens with the return of Oscar Wilde’s cherished comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Bryan Hodgson. Following on from its successful run at The Barn Theatre in March 2019 and a successful UK tour, this hilarious, two-man re-imagining of the classic will delight and entertain in equal measure. The production will run from 23 Jan – 15 Feb 2020.
After The Importance of Being Earnest will be an exciting new production of Patrick Barlow’s Ben Hur from 4 Mar – 18 Apr. Ben Hur will be the second Built By Barn production of a Patrick Barlow play after their 2019 box office record-breaking Built By Barn production of The 39 Steps, which transferred to Theatre Royal Windsor in August 2019.
The Barn Theatre’s first co-production of 2020 will be with Chipping Norton Theatre on a new production of the Olivier Award-Winning comedy Jeeves and Wooster In Perfect Nonsense. The production will begin performances at Chipping Norton Theatre on 5 Feb 2020 before embarking on a UK tour that will visit The Barn Theatre from 21 Apr – 9 May.
The production will be directed by Chipping Norton Theatre’s Artistic Director John Terry, set and costume design by Alex Marker, music and sound design by Eamonn O’Dwyer and movement by Bronya Deutsch.
Jeeves and Wooster In Perfect Nonsense is followed by the world premiere of Vicki Berwick’s stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s The Mozart Question from 21 May – 27 Jun. From the award-winning children’s author, this new adaption of the classic children’s book will mark the 75th Anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The production will be directed by Tony and Olivier award-winner John Caird. The Barn Theatre had previously produced a Built By Barn production of John Caird’s musical Daddy Long Legs, for which he gained Drama Desk award for Best Book of a Musical.
Michael Morpurgo said of the upcoming production “How is a new play made? Well, you need a story. You need an inspired playwrite and a terrific director who both love the story, and a theatre producer who also believes in it totally, all of them determined to create a great play.
All I have done, many years ago, is to write a story, set against the background of one of the most sublimely beautiful places on this earth, Venice. Here, walking through the streets one warm night we came upon a street musician. He was playing under a lamppost, watched attentively by a little boy sitting on his tricycle in his pyjamas. We looked on, entranced, knowing how important such a moment might be to that child, to that musician.
The next day, on our wanderings, we happened upon the Ghetto, where the Jewish community of Venice had lived for generations. We discovered that in the Second World War that the community had been rounded up and taken away to Concentration Camps by the Nazis. Very few had returned. That such evil could be perpetrated in such a wonderful place was impossible to imagine. But I felt it had to be imagined, because it had happened. Such a devastating story is so important to tell.
I knew that Jewish musicians had been forced to play in the camps. ‘They fought back with their music,’ I thought. Sometimes they played Mozart, for me the most sublime of all composers. Maybe one of these musicians had been deported from the Ghetto in Venice. How, I wondered, would survivors feel afterwards, when they heard that glorious music? Could they ever play it again?
In trying to answer these questions, in memory too of the six million who perished in the Holocaust, I wrote my story of The Mozart Question. And now the Barn In Cirencester they are bringing it to the stage. It is the most important story I have ever written, about the best and most beautiful and most heavenly that is in us, and the worst and most wicked and most hellish too. I have no doubt they are creating a play worthy of the immensity of the tragedy, a play that reflects the power of music to heal, to bring reconciliation and peace in a troubled world.”
Since The Barn Theatre opened back in 2016, they have received critical acclaim for their productions that showcase the wonderful talent of actor-musicians, especially in their musical productions, and their 2020 season will be no different!
Opening on 15 July 2020, The Barn Theatre presents a brand new take on the classic Broadway musical Brigadoon by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, honouring the productions of time gone by, breathing new life and emphasising the relevance of a story of a musical written in 1943.
By marrying the epic score with a traditional Scottish Ceilidh folk band the story is given a vibrant energy through actor-musicianship. That small contemporary folk style will infuse and emphasise the Scottish tones of the original score of Brigadoon merging it with the Barn’s passion for ensemble storytelling actor-musicianship and bringing this magical tale to a modern-day audience from 15 July – 5 Sep.
The 2020 Halloween Season at The Barn Theatre will be immersive, visceral and terrifying. The Barn brings its unique style of theatre to a brand new adaptation of Henry James’ horror novella, Turn of the Screw, which runs from 23 Sep – 31 Oct. The original 1898 horror novella is the lose basis for the sequel series to Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House titled The Haunting of Bly Manor, which will be released in 2020.
Built by Barn’s 2020 season would not be complete without a festive treat and something for all of the family. After his innovative and fresh new version of A Christmas Carol, Alan Pollock returns to The Barn Theatre with his new play The Brothers Grimm Presents Cinderella which will play over the Christmas season from 18 Nov – 9 Jan 2021. Blending song, illusion, performance and puppetry, The Brothers Grimm Present: Cinderella is Cinderella as you have always known it.
As previously announced, Rory Bremner and The Barn Theatre have announced that they are launching a new series of performances under the branding Bremner At The Barn that will run alongside the 2020 Built By Barn season.