The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Welwyn Drama Festival

22nd – 27th May 2023 at 7.30pm

A week of entertaining, dramatic competition.

Please Note: Saturday 27th at 7pm

Please Note: Saturday 27th starts at 7pm

We are very pleased to be welcoming the Welwyn Drama Festival once again.

It’s their 88th year and they provide a wonderful week of entertaining, dramatic competition.

There are two or three short (one-act) plays each night. Teams must adhere to the festival rules and will be awarded marks by a professional GoDa adjudicator for acting, production, stage presentation and dramatic achievement. The winning team is awarded the prestigious Welwyn Cup, and the chance to perform at the National Drama Festival (formerly the British All-Winners Festival). The other awards presented on the final night include an Audience Appreciation Award, voted for by those who purchased one of the great-value Festival Season Tickets.

Current programme for the week:

Monday 22 May 7.30pm


A non-competitive, musical extravaganza of excerpts from a variety of West End musicals, originally compiled to celebrate the Coronation of King Charles III.

Tuesday 23rd May 7.30pm

The Real Inspector Hound by Tom Stoppard

Feelgood Factor – BEST Theatre Arts
Best Theatre Arts’ Feelgood Factor class brings you Tom Stoppard’s The Real Inspector Hound. A ludicrous farce littered with dead bodies, pretentious theatre critics, outrageous philandering and complete buffoons. Stoppard’s play-within-a-play spins a web between two narratives that is almost impossible to untangle and has been described as ‘a classic of the English comic tradition’.

Potholes: The Modern Menace by Pete Jeary

Birch Tree
A new play on an old nuisance. Please join Harold as he tries to gather support in making the council do something about the state of the roads. He’s no Rod Stewart – but what Harold lacks in charisma, he makes up for in dogged determination. And what he doesn’t know about potholes isn’t worth knowing. “If people like us don’t make an effort, then who will?”

This wry comedy twists and turns as if it were dodging potholes from beginning to end.

Wednesday 24th May 7.30pm

Waiting for the Bat by Mark McDonald Ingram

Les Comédiens de Calisso
An Academic awaits confirmation of his residency status, reflecting prosaically on life, loneliness and old age. Frustrated, desperate and fearful of expulsion, he starts to see a bat in the house. Could this creature portend his imminent demise?

Philip and Rowena by Gillian Plowman

Philip and Rowena meet in a hospice. Together they find friendship, romance and an amazing capacity for fun. And share an extraordinary devotion to life.

Thursday 25th May 7.30pm

Lila on the Wall by Edward Allan Baker

Back to Front Theatre
Journalist Lila must investigate a three-month-old story about a woman who saw Jesus’ face on a graffiti-laden wall. But the woman who saw it is off on a tour in Italy, and Carl, a young cameraman who prides himself in figuring out “emotional landscapes”, is determined to make Lila believe in something again.

One Night in Toledo by Mark Easterfield

Waterbeach Theatre Company
On the terrace of a hotel in Spain two women meet and, as they talk, an uncomfortable history begins to emerge. In such a chance encounter, when confusion is easy, is it right to step in when danger beckons? Content warning: This play concerns themes of violence and abuse.

Friday 26th May 7.30pm

Hamlet – the Catalyst by William Shakespeare

The Players’ Theatre (Wales)
King Hamlet of Denmark has recently died and his widow has quickly married his brother. Prince Hamlet is distraught with grief and horror at his mother’s swift and, in his eyes, abhorrent choice of husband. The Court is still celebrating the marriage while the Land is on full alert against a threatened invasion. Two night sentries inform Horatio a close friend of Prince Hamlet that they have experienced a supernatural visitation and the 3 men inform Prince Hamlet of the ghostly apparition and he decides to keep watch with them.

Dead Offensive by Paul Adam Levy

“The prime minister of the United Kingdom is f***ing dead!”. A rundown comedy club, four comedians and a Latvian sex worker. Can everything though be joked about and turned into comedy or are some topics strictly off limits?

Written by the award-winning Paul Adam Levy and featuring a talented all-female cast, Dead Offensive is guaranteed to have you in stitches one moment and questioning your own morals the next!

*Content warning: Contains explicit language and references to suicide

Don’t Blame it on the Boots by Nick Warburton

Eric is playing the ghost in a production of Hamlet. His fiancee Liz wants him to wear the boots her father wore at Stratford but Eric is more interested in the young and impressionable actor playing Ophelia. Director Kate is starting to wish she’d produced Macbeth instead…

Saturday 27th May 7.00pm

A Sudden Violent Burst of Rain by Sami Ibrahim

Total Arts Community Theatre
Elif shears sheep for a rich landowner. Every other waking hour she spends queuing outside the palace, hoping that the King will let her live within the city walls. She comes from a far-away land. She is searching for sanctuary.And this is what we call a hostile environment.
From award-winning playwright Sami Ibrahim, a poetic fable of an impenetrable immigration system that mirrors our own performed by current AETF British Champions TACT.

These Are the Days by Shari Gledhill

“Don’t you want me baby”. Spilled coffee, Sweaty Steven and the 80s. Through the words of Matt and Vicky, we explore the highs and lows of one couple’s love story. But will theirs be one of happiness or sorrow? Featuring live on stage music accompaniment, this will be a storytelling experience like no other.
*Content warning: contains themes of loss and death.*

Followed by the final adjudication and Presentation of Awards

See for more details.


Home, I’m Darling by Laura Wade - 4th – 12th October
Opening 4th October
By Laura Wade
Richard III by William Shakespeare at the Barn Theatre Club , Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
Opening 28th October
By William Shakespeare



Do you have a question? Do you need help?

Feel free to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions.

If you need to contact a specific department eg. Box Office, please select it from the dropdown list.

Top Person @ 12 O'ClockPerson @ 2 O'ClockPerson @ 5 O'ClockPerson @ 7 O'ClockPerson @ 9 O'ClockCentre Heart

Diversity, Equality & 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 work to prevent any form of discrimination or harassment within our organisation.

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