Post-containment productions open at WGC’s Barn Theater


Live performances return to the historic Barn Theater in Welwyn Garden City next month.

After months of confinement, the Barn Theater finally opens its doors on Tuesday July 6 for a Studio production of Classify.


Productions resume in July at the Barn Theater in Welwyn Garden City
– Credit: Archant

It will be followed on Saturday July 10 by my old lady on the stage of the main house.

Barn Theater Artistic Director Clive Weatherley said: “It’s wonderful that the rehearsal rooms are buzzing again – the cast and crew have never been so excited to bring the theater back to our home. patient audience!

“The first two back from the barn shows are perfect for taking those first steps in the barn before the start of our fantastic 2021-22 season in September.”

Welwyn Garden City's Barn Theater lit up as part of Light It In Red campaign draws attention

The Barn Theater in Welwyn Garden City.
– Credit: Simon Wallace / MeltingPot Pictures

A touch of CLASS

Alex Ryde as Mr. McCafferty, Tammy Wall as Kayley and Howard Salinger as Jayden in the Barn Theater Class production.

Alex Ryde as Mr. McCafferty, Tammy Wall as Kayley and Howard Salinger as Jayden in the Barn Theater Class production.
– Credit: John Davies

Classify is the award-winning trio of actor Iseult Golden and David Horan, artistic director of the famous Bewley Theater Café in Dublin.

After a sold-out performance at the Dublin Theater Festival 2017, the play moved to the Abbey Theater in Dublin and then to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018, where Barn manager Coral Walton met her.

Walton, who served as artistic director of the barn for six years, said: “I feel very privileged to be directing the first play after the lockdown and thrilled to be streaming it live.

Howard Salinger as Jayden and Alex Ryde as Mr. McCafferty in The Barn Theater Class Production.

Howard Salinger as Jayden and Alex Ryde as Mr. McCafferty in The Barn Theater Class Production.
– Credit: John Davies

“It’s not a movie, it’s a live theater play and that’s what I want it to feel. Of course, I’d love to do it with a full audience, but for now, it’s very exciting.”

Taxi driver Brian and his recent ex Donna were called in to discuss the educational needs of their nine-year-old son Jayden after a standard test suggested low literacy levels.

Mr. McCafferty asks their permission to call a school psychologist to better understand his “learning differences”.

He’s a good teacher – kids’ favorite – who regularly goes the extra mile, but the reunion gets harder and harder as parental frustrations and teacher prejudices creep to the surface in an explosive confrontation. which is funny, heartbreaking and beautifully observed.

Tammy Wall has worked with Walton on some great Barn productions and returns to the Studio to play Donna and Kayley.

She is joined by two newcomers from Barn – Howard Salinger as Brian and Jayden, and Alex Ryde as Mr. Ray McCaffery.

From 8 p.m., the show runs from Tuesday July 6 to Friday July 9.

The operating time is approximately 1 hour 25 minutes, without interval. It will be broadcast live with a small, socially distant audience.

Tickets cost £ 10 from barntheatre.co.uk or 01707 324300.

Classify comes with a disclaimer that the play contains adult themes and strong language.

About my old lady

My old lady, by Isreal Horowitz, follows Classify at the Barn Theater on Saturday July 10.

Made for the barn by award-winning director Hannah Sayer, my old lady until Saturday July 17.

Most UK viewers will likely be more familiar with the 2014 film than the play which, although sold well in Paris and New York, failed to make it to London.

Awarded four stars, the the Wall Street newspaper said, “This is the kind of game where you want your expectations to be met, and not feel at all manipulated by the machinations that lead you on your way to the final destination.”

Horowitz adapted and directed it for the screen, in his directorial debut, with Maggie Smith in the lead alongside Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas.


Paul Russell as Mathias, with a boar's head.

Paul Russell as Mathias, with a boar’s head in My Old Lady.
– Credit: John Davies

Barn lead actor Paul Russell plays Mathias who, embittered by failure and disappointment, shows up in Paris to claim the apartment his ex-father left him, convinced that the sale will solve his financial problems and self-esteem.

But to his horror, he finds out it’s a life annuity: he has a seated tenant – who sold her for a song on the condition that she can stay and collect rent for the rest of her life. .

This is 90-year-old Mathilde (Jan Palmer Sayer), who views Mathias with polite and regal tolerance, although her daughter Chloe (Celia Roberts) is more dismissive.


Paul Russell as Mathias, Celia Roberts as Chloe and Jan Palmer Sayer as Mathilde.

Paul Russell as Mathias, Celia Roberts as Chloe and Jan Palmer Sayer as Mathilde in My Old Lady, which can be seen at the Barn Theater in Welwyn Garden City.
– Credit: John Davies

Caught in this bizarre triangle, with literally nowhere to go, he’s forced to get to know these women better…

Chloe and Matthias, both 50, still rage over the anguish of the unloved children they always felt like.

It is the springboard for Horovitz’s eloquent, funny and brilliantly paced dive into parent-child relationships.


Paul Russell as Mathias and Jan Palmer Sayer as Mathilde.

Paul Russell as Mathias and Jan Palmer Sayer as Mathilde in My Old Lady.
– Credit: John Davies

The show takes place in the main auditorium of the Grange from Saturday July 10 to Saturday July 17, from 8 p.m.

Tickets cost £ 13 at the Barn Theater box office on 01707 324300 or online at www.barntheatre.co.uk

This will be the first production on the Barn’s main house stage since the introduction of COVID-19 restrictions, and social distancing will be strictly observed.

This means 50 instead of 120 in the public, no one in the front row, and reservation in bubbles or family blocks.

Please check the Barn site for more information on COVID measures.

The Barn’s 2021-2022 season kicks off with Happy jack September 24.


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