Our Story

The Barn is an award winning professional theatre, based in the heart of the Cotswolds.


OUR mission.

Quite simply, is to be one of the leading producing house theatres in the country. Being one of the premier brands in theatre doesn’t mean being the biggest, it merely reflects the high standards we set ourselves. Community is at the heart of everything we do. We want theatre to be the platform that inspires, educates, and enriches people’s lives and the Barn to become a cherished landmark that everyone can be proud of. 

To inspire people, build a sense of identity and demonstrate the crucial role professional theatre can play in improving the wellbeing of our community. 


The Barn Theatre Project was established as a charity by Ian and Chrissie Carling with the vision of building a bold legacy in the arts for the community of Cirencester and the Cotswolds. Their unwavering determination made this dream a reality.  Construction of this remarkable facility began in 2014 and finished in 2017, opening their first professional production to critical acclaim in March 2018.

The former 1940s Nissen hut has been transformed into a beautiful, state-of-the-art, air-conditioned auditorium for 200 theatre-lovers. With a studio rehearsal suite, dressing rooms, a green room, and an orchestra pit, audiences will experience entertainment that competes with the West End.

We have a passionate belief that theatre is for everyone and use this as a platform to inspire and support a vibrant performing arts education programme via the theatre’s Barn Academy and various community and school outreach initiatives.



Ian is the driving force behind the creation of The Barn Theatre. This project is the culmination of a lifelong passion for music and theatre combined with extensive business knowledge and experience in property development and construction.

Ian has also worked with the venue’s experienced technical team to design and install the incredible facilities at the theatre. He and his wife Chrissie are committed to providing the facilities which will allow their support for musical theatre, education and development of young talent to continue and thrive at The Barn Theatre.

Christine Carling

Chrissie is a lifelong avid theatregoer. She has been closely involved as both a director and a performer in community and youth theatre, with a particular passion for developing and supporting young talent into the profession. She has been involved with The Barn Theatre site for many years and was instrumental in the decision to acquire and develop it for the benefit of future generations.

John Hayward

John and his family have lived near Cirencester for over 20 years. He is a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, specialising in commercial property. He has been involved professionally with Ingleside House and The Barn Theatre for over 15 years. He is delighted to be able to bring his experience (both good and bad) as a Trustee of the Cotswold Water Park Trust. John considers it a real privilege to be involved in a project that not only gives Cirencester a professional centre for the performing arts, but also gives young people the opportunity to develop essential skills for life under professional guidance.

Stuart Thackaberry

Stuart hails from Gloucestershire and in time relocated to rural Worcestershire where he lives with his wife Sandra. He has a lifetime interest in musical and theatrical performance. His background is in banking, finance and property and he hopes to bring this experience to bear on the management and development of The Barn Theatre. Since retirement he has been working as a consultant. His main interests are hill and mountain walking, classic cars, and, of course, theatre and music. He is proud to be one of our trustees and looks forward to working with the board and executive to achieve the charity’s exciting and challenging aims.

Charles Woodd

Charles has lived in Cirencester for nearly 20 years and is passionate about the importance of community. He is actively involved as a governor with a number of schools and as a trustee with several local charities. His background is in insurance and finance, and he is currently employed as the Chief Actuary for St. James’s Place Wealth Management, a major employer in the town. Charles has always loved being a musician; marriage broadened his horizons to appreciate theatre too, and his enthusiasm for the Barn Theatre is fuelled by the zeal of a convert.

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