James Dreyfus joins Barn Theatre as Ambassador

22nd February 2018


On 6th February 2018, James Dreyfus (Notting Hill, Gimme Gimme Gimme) was on hand to officially open the Barn Theatre with a speech in front of the 200 attendees. Read his kind words:

“In the midst of the usual arts cuts and regional theatres closing, here we are in lovely Cirencester, looking forward to the launch of a brand new, 200-seat theatre.

It really is incredible what’s being achieved here, and I am very proud to be a supporter of the project.

I have a long standing connection with the area. My grandmother was known as the Bird Lady of Hampnett. She bred hyacinth macaws, blued, greys and reds – I’m sure she was known for being more annoying because of the noise of the birds, than doing anything practical. She was one of the first ladies to breed green hyacinth macaws in captivity. So, I’ve been around this area for about 50 years, and it’s quite close to my heart.

James Dreyfus with Barn Academy Principal Benn-Llewellyn Williams

I’m thrilled to see the level of local investment in the arts and the theatre. We all know that Cirencester is a beautiful place, but I really believe that the Barn Theatre is set to be a trailblazer in this particular region. There are so many things that theatres bring to a place, not just in the way of entertainment.

They boost local economies, provide a fantastic place for local communities to come together, and they can really put a place on the map, bringing investment and increasing tourism.

I genuinely believe that the Barn Theatre has the right ingredients to be a huge success. It has connections to the industry and London’s West End, a fabulous team, and amazing facilities that you really don’t see in regional theatres very often.

James Dreyfus speaking at the Barn Theatre Launch Event

Honestly, I do believe that this is going to be an amazing project and I thank you all for coming tonight, and I thank you to listen to my humble, little speech, and I hope you come here time and time again, and enjoy the success that is going to be the Barn Theatre.”

Learn more about the Barn Theatre team and Ambassadors.

The Secret Garden: Cast announcement and Launch Event

18th February 2018


We are proud to announce our cast for The Secret Garden.

The Secret Garden is the Barn Theatre’s inaugural production, and is a Tony Award-winning musical based on the 1911 book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The show features:

  • David Haydn (Archibald Craven)
  • Jaimie Pruden (Lily Craven)
  • Minal Patel (Neville Craven)
  • Celeste De Veazey (Colin Craven)
  • Daniella Piper (Mary)
  • Jenny O’Leary (Martha)
  • Alex James Ellison (Dickon)
  • Sue Appleby (Ensemble)
  • Steffan Rizzi (Ensemble)
  • Jamie Ross (Ensemble)
  • Celia Cruwys Finnigan (Ensemble)
  • Ben Boskovic (Ensemble)

Director Dominic Shaw is excited to begin the rehearsal process. He comments: “We have reimagined the music for a small actor-muso band. That’s gonna be really exciting in terms of bringing the music back to its folk roots. The songs can be distilled to just an acoustic guitar, or piano and guitar, something really simple and honest, breathing some life into the score.”

On 6th February, many cast members came down for a two-day, pre-production rehearsal. We caught up with actor & percussionist Ben Boskovic during this process: “From the first day of workshopping the music, you can tell that there’s such interesting varieties of talent in there. Having a small-sized cast, it’s gonna be really exciting to see a more intimate, folky, acoustic feel to the music – which I think is gonna take it into a really new and exciting territory, that you haven’t seen before.”

Jaimie Pruden (Lily Craven) and Celia Cruwys Finnigan (Ensemble) in rehearsals

After one day’s rehearsal, the cast performed at the Barn Theatre’s Launch Event. Cirencester resident Gemma Routledge attended the Launch Event, and had this to say about the performance: “I thought they were brilliant – the fact that they hadn’t met before and could put that together in just a day. Musically, it sounded really different and modern. It fitted with the feel of the countryside. I can’t wait for The Secret Garden, we will certainly be coming to see it!”


David Haydn and the cast perform at the Barn Theatre Launch Event, after a day of pre-production rehearsals.

End of band call: Director Dominic Shaw, Minal Patel (Neville Craven), Ben Boskovic (Ensemble), Benn Williams (Assistant to Director), Jaime Pruden (Lily Craven), Alex James Ellison (Dickon), Iwan Lewis (Artistic Director of Barn Theatre), John Quirk (Musical Supervisor), Celia Cruwys Finnigan (Ensemble), Stefan Rizzi (Ensemble), Jamie Ross (Ensemble), Celeste de Veazey (Colin Craven)


The Secret Garden runs from 16th March – 15th April 2018 at the Barn Theatre.

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Jerry Mitchell joins Barn Theatre as Ambassador

25th January 2018


Broadway director Jerry Mitchell is lending his support to the Barn Theatre’s ambitious aims.

Jerry received the Tony Award in recognition of his choreography for the 2013 Tony-Award winning Best Musical, Kinky Boots, for which he was also nominated as Director.

“I couldn’t be more excited about The Barn Theatre and its plans. Having worked with both Iwan and Dom on various productions, it’s great to see them now forging their own path as young leaders in the industry. It’s a very positive thing to see a new generation of artists come through. To watch the energy with which they are approaching the opening of the new theatre and the first production is fantastic.” – Jerry Mitchell


Jerry Mitchell’s Tony Award for Best Choreography – Kinky Boots, 2013


He was most recently represented on Broadway as the Director of the Gloria Estefan musical, On Your Feet and nominated for an Olivier Award for his choreography in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which he also directed and co-produced in the West End.

In the 35 preceding years, Jerry has been involved with over 50 Broadway, Off-Broadway, West End and touring productions and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

He is currently working on a new Broadway production of Pretty Woman: The Musical starring Samantha Barks.

Follow Jerry on Twitter: @jammyprod


Find out about the Barn Theatre first production, The Secret Garden.


The Secret Garden: Barn Theatre’s First Professional Production

15th January 2018


We are delighted to announce The Secret Garden as our inaugural professional production.

Opening on 16th March 2018, this production marks the culmination of three years of planning, rebuilding and technical development for our new theatre. We have lots of exciting announcements in the run-up to opening night, including some incredible new Ambassadors, and our cast for The Secret Garden.

Directing The Secret Garden we have Dominic Shaw. He is joining us with a slew of West End credits, including Associate Director for Beautiful – The Carole King Musical; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Legally Blonde (UK tour/Australia/Vienna), and currently Kinky Boots.

A word from Dominic: “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to direct a new interpretation of The Secret Garden. I plan to completely reimagine the piece and make it more accessible for a contemporary audience. The musical explores themes of love, family and rejuvenation – all themes which draw parallels & seem fitting for the opening of a brand new theatre.”

Secret Garden director Dominic Shaw with Artistic Director Iwan Lewis

Secret Garden Director Dominic Shaw [left] with Artistic Director Iwan Lewis

The Secret Garden is a Tony Award-winning musical by Pulitzer prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman, who wrote the script and lyrics, with a score by Lucy Simon, that premiered on Broadway in 1911. It is of course based on the beloved 1911 book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The musical tells the story of 10-year-old Mary Lennox, an English girl who has lived in colonial India since birth, and is orphaned and sent to Yorkshire to live with her remaining relatives, where she discovers a house in mourning and a mysterious, neglected garden. We follow Mary as she helps restore not only the garden, but the family themselves who are rejuvenated by her presence, and heal their grief through love and hope.

It was an incredibly challenging decision to pick our very first show. The Secret Garden, with its celebrations of living in the countryside, was inspiring to us in the rural Cotswolds. Following on from Dominic’s words, we believe this is the right time for this incredible piece to reach a new audience. The new path Dominic is taking with Marsha Norman’s Tony-winning book, along with Lucy Simon’s luscious, Celtic-infused score (she began her professional career singing folk tunes with sister Carly as The Simon Sisters), will see this story from 1911 taking on new life in the 21st century. The Secret Garden is a show for the whole family, with a message of timely hope.

New artwork and tickets below:

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Tickets: £14 – £28

Box Office: barntheatre.org.uk / 01285 648255

More information

Previews: 16th & 17th March (7:30pm)

Opening week performances: 19th March 6:30pm (press night)

21st March 7:30pm, 22nd March 2:30pm & 7:30pm, 23rd March 7:30pm, 24th March 7:30pm, 25th March 12:30pm & 5:30pm

Standard week performances: Tuesday 7:30pm Wednesday 7:30pm Thursday 2:30pm & 7:30pm Friday 7:30pm Saturday 7:30pm Sunday 12:30pm & 5:30pm

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