Olivier and Tony Award winner John Caird to direct world premiere of Michael Morpurgo stage adaptation at the Barn Theatre

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 AprBen 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 CairdThe 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.”

John Caird said “I’m excited to be making my Barn Theatre debut with The Mozart Question.

Michael Morpurgo’s deceptively simple story casts a powerful spell on the page. 

It will be a pleasure and a challenge to bring it to life on the stage.

Though the subject could not be a darker one, Michael explores it with the lightest of touches and a deep empathy for his characters.    

The collision of great story-telling with great music provides a wonderful opportunity for actors and musicians to make theatrical magic together.”

Vicki Berwick said “It’s an honour and a privilege to be adapting Michael Morpurgo’s ‘The Mozart Question’ for the stage. It’s an important story in these current times, and one that reaches all ages. I’m so pleased the Barn were equally passionate about retelling this story. I first visited the Barn in March this year and since that first meeting I’ve been welcomed with open arms.  They are both hugely ambitious and supportive of new talent. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect theatre to work with.” 

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 2020The 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 CarolAlan 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.

Alan Pollock said of his return to the Barn, ‘delighted to be embarking on another re-invention of a timeless classic with the great team at the Barn’.

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.

Tickets are on sale from 1 December 2019.


The Importance of Being Earnest

23 January to 15 February 2020

Written by Oscar Wilde

Directed by Bryan Hodgson

Ben Hur 

4 March to 18 April 2020

Written by Patrick Barlow

Based on the novel by General ‘Lew’ Wallace

Jeeves and Wooster In Perfect Nonsense 

21 April to 9 May 2020

Co-production between The Barn Theatre and Chipping Norton Theatre

Adapted from the works of PG Wodehouse

Written by The Goodale Brothers

Directed by John Terry

Set and Costume Design by Alex Marker

Music and Sound Design by Eamonn O’Dwyer

Movement by Bronya Deutsch 

The Mozart Question

21 May to 27 June 2020

Written by Michael Morpurgo

Adapted for the stage by Vicki Berwick

Directed by John Caird

Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon 

15 July to 5 September 2020

Book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner

Music by Frederick Loewe

Original dances created by Agnes de Mille

The Turn of the Screw

23 September to 31 October 2020

Based on the horror novella by Henry James

The Brothers Grimm Present Cinderella 

18 November 2020 to 9 January 2021

A new adaptation by Alan Pollock


Twitter: @thebarntheatre

Facebook/Instagram: @thebarntheatrecirencester

#BuiltByBarn #BarnTheatre

 Theatre For All: In conjunction with the launch of the 2019 season, The Barn will also be launching a new ticketing initiative as part of their Theatre For All strategy. This initiative provides an all-inclusive strategy that enables everyone in the community to experience high-quality productions at an affordable price.  #TheatreForAll

General Ticket Prices: From £10-£37

Concessions: Available to children under 16, over 65, and members of the Uniformed Public Services. 

Family Tickets: From £30-£111 (4 tickets – 2 adults x 2 children)

Group Tickets: From £10-£12 

Save up to 33% on the standard ticket price – tickets only available for Rows Q-S

School Groups: School bookings for performances are available by contacting the Box Office.

Cashback: Available predominantly for charities, or any groups and organizations looking to raise much needed funds. Individuals buy tickets at face value and the Barn Theatre agrees to make a 20% donation of the total purchase back to the charity or group that have visited the theatre under the scheme. 

Box Office (Phone): 01285 648 255 (10am-5.30pm, Mon to Sat)

Box Office (Online): boxoffice@barntheatre.com

Téatro Bar & Restaurant: Téatro is open from 5.30pm to late, Tue – Sat

Atrium Coffee: Atrium is open from 8am to 4pm, Mon – Fri and 9:30am to 4pm, Sat – SunBook A Table: 01285 648 238 or info@teatro-ciren.co.uk

2019 Built By Barn Season

A Christmas Carol 

Wednesday 28 November – Saturday 11 January 2020 

Written by Charles Dickens 

Adapted by Alan Pollock

Directed by Phil Bartlett

Choreography by Lucie Pankhurst

Composition and Lyrics by Finn Anderson

Design by Sophia Pardon

Magic Consultant Tom Brace

Sound Design by Harry Smith

Lighting Design by Sam Rowcliffe-Tanner

Projection Design by Benjamin Collins

Performance Times: 10.30/13.00/14.30/17.30/18.30/19.30

(See full Christmas schedule for variety of performance times)


Twitter: @thebarntheatre

Facebook/Instagram: @thebarntheatrecirencester

#BarnCarol #AChristmasCarol