News: The Barn Theatre launches new lockdown Shakespeare series

The Barn Theatre in Cirencester have announced a new Shakespeare series which sees the Bard’s beloved monologues reimagined to fit into modern day lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. The series will release a new monologue every weekday to the Barn Theatre’s FacebookYouTube and Twitter accounts, beginning 20th April 2020.

The series, which is co-produced by actor Aaron Sidwell, director Hal Chambers and the Barn Theatre, forms part of the Barn Theatre’s free Behind The Barn Door streaming service, which airs on their FacebookYouTube and Twitter accounts. The series is production co-ordinated by company stage manager Emma Smith.

Aaron Sidwell says of the upcoming series, “Just as Shakespeare was locked out from his theatres during various plague outbreaks, the Barn’s actors are in a similar predicament. Now, literally barred from our places of work, The Actors of the Barn Theatre present some of Shakespeare’s most memorable speeches and moments via the wonders of modern technology. This is Shakespeare’s work inspired and influenced by our strange new lockdown world”.

 The series takes inspiration from the Barn Theatre’s 2019 re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Henry V, which was directed by Hal Chambers and starred Aaron Sidwell in the titular role. The production was described by the Telegraph’s Dominic Cavendish as a “populist Hal for a post-Brexit world” and can now be streamed on the Barn Theatre’s Facebook and YouTube channel for free as part of Behind The Barn Door and to fundraise for the theatre’s SAVE OUR BARN campaign.

The cast for Bard From The Barn have all previously performed at the Barn Theatre in their Built by Barn productions, including cast members from their debut production, The Secret Garden, and the final production before their temporary closure, Patrick Barlow’s Ben Hur.

The series will release a new monologue every weekday at 5pm to the Barn Theatre’s FacebookYouTube and Twitter accounts, beginning Monday 20th April 2020. The series will also comprise of a weekly roundup show, hosted by Aaron Sidwell every Friday at 9pm, that will take a closer look at the week’s new work, featuring the actors and creatives. The roundup show launches at 9pm on 24 April 2020.

The monologues will be reimagined and directed by Phil Bartlett, Hal Chambers, Jess Daniels, Kirstie Davis, Robert Forknall, David Mercatali, Joseph O’Malley, Joe Pitcher, Dominic Shaw, Jake Smith, Michael Strassen and Sean Turner.

The full cast of Bard From The Barn are: Tricia Adele-Turner (Dear Evan Hansen, The 39 Steps), Ryan Bennett (The Importance of Being Earnest, Daddy Long Legs), Ben Boskovic (Zorro the Musical, The Secret Garden), Jonathan Bourne (Nativity! The Musical, The 39 Steps), Dominic Brewer (Sweeney Todd, Hound of the Baskervilles), Hadley Brown (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice), Jasper Cartwright (War Horse, The Butterfly Lion), Alicia Charles (Faustus That Damned Woman, Henry V), Tom Chudley-Evans (A Christmas Carol), Rebecca Crankshaw (One Minute), Duncan Drury (Just So), Colin Elmer (The 39 Steps), Rosalind Ford (Once, Just So), Imogen Halsey (Just So), Aidan Harkins (The Pirate Queen, The Importance of Being Earnest), Hilary Harwood (The Butterfly Lion), David Haydn (Girl from the North Country, The Secret Garden), Liam Horrigan (The Play That Goes Wrong, Ben Hur), Sarah-Louise Hughes (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice), Max Hutchinson (The Woman in Black, The 39 Steps), Rebecca Jayne-Davies (Singin’ in the Rain, Daddy Long Legs), Grace Liston (A Christmas Carol), Abigail Mathews (The Butterfly Lion), Sophie May Wake (Mr Selfridge, One Minute), Gillian McCafferty (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice), Stephen Omer (The Rise and Fall of Little Voice), Elin Phillips (Henry V), Matt Ray Brown (Henry V), Aaron Sidwell (EastEnders, Henry V), Adam Sopp (Grange Hill, Henry V), Bronte Tadman (Ben Hur, A Christmas Carol), Sarah Waddell (Henry V) and Jonathan Woolf (Henry V).

Over 400 third year drama school students have applied for thirty places in the next cast of Bard From The Barn after a call out on Aaron Sidwell’s Twitter account.

Bard From The Barn forms part of the Barn Theatre’s free live-streaming service Behind The Barn Door. The series joins medical show Live From The Clinic with Dr Dawn Harper, British record holder Kenton Cool’s mountaineering show, Cool Conversations with Kenton Cool, a children’s entertainment show with Gifford Circus’ Tweedy the Clown, Tweedy’s Lost & Found, and high-energy workout series Disco Fitness with CrossFit Cirencester. The service also livestreams weekly programmes with Cotswold District Council leader Joe Harris and local MP Sir Geoffrey Clifton-Brown.

Since launching in 2018, the Barn Theatre has gained national recognition by producing 12 Built By Barn shows to upwards of 80,000 audience members and being awarded The Stage Awards’ Best Fringe Theatre of the Year Award 2019. Their contribution to the local community stretches further than just the theatre with large scale outreach programmes, school workshops and collaborative projects around the centenary of the First World War, the ‘record-breaking’ Cirencester Human Poppy, and The Cirencester Advent Festival that have enhanced the well-being of the community and draw thousands of visitors to the town.

The theatre has also worked extensively with disadvantaged communities working with charities including Cirencester Housing for Young People (CHYP) and Age UK Gloucestershire.

The Barn Theatre (registered charity no. 1174253), which is facing a loss of £250,000 and possible permanent closure, have launched their SAVE OUR BARN via their website and social media platforms.

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