The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

James Maxwell

James participated in 21 productions at the Barn.

Jim Maxwell died on Sunday 18th September. A lifelong member of the Barn, he had joined the Welwyn Drama Club having been a member of the I.C.I. Drama Club, which performed at the Barn with such success in the period before the Barn Theatre Club was formed in 1969.

His first appearance with the Drama Club was in A Letter from the General in the production by his wife, Buddug (Beth), in 1965, and he also played in the Festival in 1966. After the amalgamation in 1969 he played in the new Club’s first Welwyn Festival entry, as Birdboot in Mervyn Lloyd’s outstanding winner The Real Inspector Hound. In over twenty appearances over the next thirty-odd years he was outstanding as Colonel Melkett in Black Comedy in 1972; in another Festival winner, Joan Goodwin’s production of Marble Arch, the following year; the Headmaster in 40 Years On, for which his impeccable diction and imperious manner were perfect; and he then effectively switched character to play the libidinous and frustrated Doctor Arthur Wicksteed in our first production of Habeas Corpus in 1980.

Other significant successes were Prospero in The Tempest in 1984; Amundsen in Terra Nova in 1993; and, with genial pomposity, a perfectly realised Herbert Soppitt in When We Are Married, in 1994.

As the troubled ex-Nazi conductor Furtwangler in Taking Sides (1999) he was again perfectly cast, resisting American interrogation over his actions during the war. In 2000 he had the opportunity to appear in his son Glyn’s play Anyroad, and over the next three years he gave strong performances in Arcadia, Quartet and Gaslight.

Jim’s wife Beth, who had been in the
profession when they first met, has
been a regular director at the Barn and
Jim appeared in several of her plays. His
eldest son Glyn is a very successful poet and playwright, and his other sons, Alun and David, have also trodden the boards here on many occasions.

Jim was for many years the Chairman at the Campus Olde Tyme Music Hall, a role for which his sense of humour and wide-ranging vocabulary were ideal, delivering withering put-downs with a sparkle in his eye.

Over the years a major contributor to our reputation, with well thought out and realised performances, Jim was also great company in rehearsals. A proud Liverpudlian (his grandfather was a founder member of Everton Football Club) he could be relied upon to bring quality to any production.

We offer our sincere condolences to Beth, Glyn, Alun and David and their families.



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Part 1, 18th Jan 8pm

Part 2, 19th Jan 8pm

Parts 1+2 20th Jan 2.30pm

Part 1, 23rd Jan 8pm

Part 2, 24th Jan 8pm

Part 1, 25th Jan 8pm

Part 2, 26th Jan 8pm

Part 1, 27th Jan 2.30pm

Part 2,  27th Jan 8pm