The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Stop! …The Play

by David Spicer
Directed by Cliff Francis
Assistant Director Alfie Hart
3rd – 11th June 2022 at 8:00pm
Matinee on June 11th at 2:30pm

No wonder the play goes wrong – the script keeps changing!

The slapdash and chaotic nature of STOP! …The Play was seamless, which is (surprisingly) incredibly difficult to do.

SCAN | November 2018

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Concord Theatricals Ltd.

Ever wondered how a play gets written? How a brand-new play gets to the stage? Then see STOP! …The Play and wonder no more.

In the first act, watch as five actors, the ever-helpful young stage manager and a useless wannabe director struggle to bring the dreadful playwright Hildred McCann’s latest opus to the stage. It starts in a well-appointed loft apartment, with a spiral staircase, indoor fountain and a pet monkey scampering about. What could go wrong?

As a director Evelyn lacks vision, empathy or any skills to bring the written word to life. No people skills: if it’s in the script, that’s it. Needless to say, the actors hate him and barely tolerate each other. Watch as they struggle to bring the worst written play, from the entirely elusive writer, to the stage.

Just as things start to come together, a complete re-write arrives, changing everything. Chaos then takes over. The set changes, lines learnt are cut and replaced with new. New characters are introduced, existing ones changed. The lengthy stage directions get longer and ever more incomprehensible. Hildred McCann takes his dreadful play in a new direction. Making it even worse.

And then it happens again and again, with each draft worse than the one before. Until the day before opening night a final draft arrives: again, all change. How will they be able to pull everything together in a single day?

The second act presents the world debut performance of Hildred McCann’s new play Banksy Ain’t Gay, probably the worst play ever written, with an unrehearsed cast and crew struggling to make sense of it all for what must be a long-suffering paying audience.

It’s a play full of laughs with the petty jealousies over who’s the star, and what the play may or may not be about. Scenes familiar to any who’ve trodden the boards. Two hours of joy and a never-to-be-forgotten evening.


Directed by
Cliff Francis
Assistant Director
Alfie Hart


Production PHOTOS

(Click image to enlarge)


The slapdash and chaotic nature of STOP! …The Play was seamless, which is (surprisingly) incredibly difficult to do.

SCAN | November 2018

The play that goes wrong but must go on, is an immersive experience, fraught with comedy and witty line after line delivered at a pace fit to reduce an audience member to tears from laughter, and pain their stomach from breathlessness like a poison

International Theatre Review | June 2015

This is a charmingly farcical backstage comedy and it is probably the mix of truth and comedy that makes it so entertaining. Sure, the first act feels a tad long but the laughter easily covers that up.

A Younger Theatre | June 2015


Opening 28th May
By John Finnemore
Opening 13th June
By Mary Chase



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Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Statement

At the Barn we are committed to promoting equality and challenging discrimination in all its forms. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment for all members of the cast and creative team, regardless of their race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment.

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