Barn to be transformed into a theatre

WELLS Theatre Festival has announced that it will take over the Bishop’s Barn over the weekend of June 21-23.

This will be the first time that the Grade I listed, 15th-century building has been used for a public event since ownership of the monument was returned to the City of Wells in February 2022.

Along with other venues around Wells, the Bishop’s Barn will host this year’s Wells Community Theatre production of William Shakespeare’s tragedy of witchcraft, prophesy and murder, Macbeth.

Also performing in the Bishop’s Barn, Dot. Dot. Dot Theatre Company present Dot, the Faun and the Elfin Child, a fantasy drama about a mother and her daughter who languish at home alone together, during the long hot summer of the pandemic. Until the mysterious appearance of the Faun, a statue from Paris, in their garden.

Instant Wit (pictured) will return to the Festival with another helping of improvised comedy, devised from audience suggestions. Because Instant Wit is live, unlike the improvised comedy that is seen on TV, anything could happen. Instant Wit promises surprises for actors and audiences alike.

Also returning is Festival favourite – aKa Dance Theatre with Shed-ache, a comedy slapstick dance show to entertain the whole family.

Award-winning actors Ayodele Scott and David Evans, newcomers to the Festival, bring Native Wit, blending drumming, song and physical theatre through which they explore their childhoods in colonial West Africa.

Also new to the Festival, Kim Hicks brings her one-woman show Courtship. Accompanied by music, the piece explores this ongoing theme in Jane Austen’s novels and highlights her excellence as a writer of comedy.

Following a successful run at their home theatre, Weston-super-Mare-based theatre company, Front Room presents The Shaggy Dog Tale. The audience is invited to the pub to watch a show based on local myth and legend with stories of piracy, smuggling and of communities putting up a fight against the powers that be.

Wells Theatre Festival’s Artistic Director Ros Johnson says: “We are so excited about this year’s Festival and especially about returning to the Bishop’s Barn, which we first converted into a wonderful theatre space back in 2019. And for the first time the Community Theatre has made a departure from comedy to present Shakespeare’s iconic tragedy, Macbeth. As ever our programme of performances offers something for everyone, and we are delighted to be back.” Tickets are available from March 31 at www.wellstheatrefestival.org.uk