The Barn

Award winning professional theatre, based in the heart of the Cotswolds.

Since opening in 2018, The Barn’s mission has been to produce some of the UK’s most inspiring professional theatre and to attract and nurture the best UK talent. Our programme is broad and ambitious, consisting of new work, family entertainment, musical theatre and reinterpretations of beloved classics. If you would like to work with us, see our pages on Creative Collaborations and Careers & Volunteers. 


The Ingleside site (home of The Barn Theatre) was built in 1812 as a private house for a Mr Baylis, wealthy local man whose business was transporting goods to London from the region. Originally called ‘The Beeches’, the house was very fine and included large servants’ quarters in the basement and stabling for 28 horses. Ingleside ceased to be a private house during World War Two when it was requisitioned and repurposed as offices for Dulci, who made weapon components at its factories in the town. A large Nissen hut was built in the garden to protect the people of Cirencester from aerial bombardment. 

Since the war, Ingleside has gone through various incarnations as a community centre and even a private school, with the Nissen hut used for evening classes, PE lessons and amateur theatrical productions. In 2007, Ingleside was bought by Ian and Chrissie Carling, who had a grand vision to convert the site into a professional theatre with adjacent boutique hotel and restaurant. The Barn Theatre finally opened its first professional production, to much critical acclaim, in March 2018.  


Today the Grade II house at Ingleside is a stylish boutique hotel with 11 bedrooms. The servant’s quarters have been converted into the award-winning, subterranean restaurant and piano bar, Teatro, and the barns and stables have become the offices and backstage of the theatre.  

The Nissen hut is now the auditorium, and The Barn Theatre is fully equipped to compete with the West End, having:

  • A beautiful, state-of-the-art, air-conditioned auditorium for 200 people 
  • A studio rehearsal suite 
  • A fully equipped editing suite with green screen for post production and digital content creation 
  • Dressing rooms 
  • A green room 
  • Orchestra pit 
  • Cinema projector and streaming capability for Sunday screenings 



    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.


    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.


    Along with his wife Amanda, Nick has been a keen supporter of the Barn theatre since its inception. He was born and raised in the Gloucestershire countryside where he still lives. In his spare time he pursues an interest in ecology and rural  community affairs.

    After an early career in the City, Nick spent his formative years working in the Far East before returning to London to set up a successful boutique investment management business. This has developed consistently over many years, largely by word of mouth and client-to-client personal recommendation. It now enjoys a large private client and institutional investor base and has won many awards for excellence and performance.

    Nick has worked with a number of charities and brings further experience in finance, business, and fund raising/development to the board.  He is a believer in the power of personal relationships and networking, and hopes to help the Barn build on its existing development successes. He is impressed by the commitment and quality of the Barn team, particularly its younger members, and looks forward to working with them.

    Joanna Manasseh

    Joanna’s early career was spent working for various international companies in what is now Harare, before moving to the charity sector where she worked closely with the then First Lady Sally Mugabe in developing her Save The Child ‘children’s charity. The late Sally Mugabe who was a woman of grace and compassion also inspired Joanna to become an advocate and mentor for women’s self improvement.

    She originally came to the UK due to political turmoil in her native Zimbabwe and to support herself and family she then originally worked as a carer in Surrey before moving to Swindon where she started a Property business, and at the same time assisted in establishing a Zimbabwean-owned care Agency in Gloucester. She now lives with her English husband in a village close to Cirencester working as a Property Entrepreneur mentor and Lifestyle Coach to disadvantaged young people and women of all ethnicities. She hopes to make a meaningful contribution to the Barn Theatre and to meet lots of new friends.


    Having enjoyed a 30-year career in broking and investment banking, Bob transferred his expertise to the development and production of media content. Bob Benton founded Anthology Theatre in 2002 and began supporting and investing in theatre productions. Since then, Bob and his wife Marianne have continued to commission, develop, produce and invest in theatre, while offering advisory services across theatre and live entertainment.

    Bob has been a huge supporter of the Barn almost from its inception and has invested in a number of its productions. His experience and background, particularly in finance for the arts, adds an exciting new dimension to the skillset of the board.


    Chris is a board level senior executive with over 40 years in the Construction and Residential sector. He is the former Regional Managing Director, West for Barratt Developments, the largest provider of new homes in the UK.

    He has been heavily involved in the charity sector for the last 10 years and until recently was a trustee for Kids Out, an organisation that gives disadvantaged children positive experiences to support them becoming future members of our society and workforce.

    Chris and his wife Sue are major supporters of the Barn Theatre. Chris is looking forward to using his business and charity experience to strengthen the trustee board.


    5 Beeches Road 
    GL7 1BN

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