The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

King Charles III

By Mike Bartlett
Directed by Cliff Francis
13th – 21st October 2023 at 8:00pm
Matinee on October 21st at 2:30pm

Duration: 2hrs 30 mins approx. with a 20 minute interval.

Following the death of the Queen, how should a new King rule?

Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III, a ‘future history play’, is a splendid provocation and a really fine play which imagines much more.

The Guardian

This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Nick Hern Books.

After Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, Charles, now king, holds his first audience with the Prime Minister. They discuss a press regulation Bill, already passed by the Commons and Lords, awaiting Charles’ assent. Charles worries it curbs press freedom excessively, enabling government censorship and hindering exposure of government abuse. He seeks amendments, but the PM declines. As they spar, the Opposition Leader joins, part of Charles’ new weekly meetings. He also questions the Bill, but sees no choice but for Charles to sign.

Parallelly, Prince Harry dates Jess Edwards, a Republican. Both he and Prince William see Princess Diana’s ghost, promising kingship. Charles denies assent to the press Bill. The PM meets the Opposition Leader and tries convincing Charles, who stands firm. The PM threatens a law bypassing assent, but Charles dissolves Parliament first, leading to protests erupting…

Mike Bartlett wrote his visionary play eight years before the Queen’s death. His version of events can now be seen in the light of the past 12 months, making this fictional account all the more fascinating.


Directed by
Cliff Francis


The King
Diana’s Ghost, Sarah, TV Producer
Nick, Sir Michael, Butler, Terry
Sir Gordon, Clive, Speaker of the House, Paul, Archbishop of Canterbury
Servant, Newspaper Seller


Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III, a ‘future history play’, is a splendid provocation and a really fine play which imagines much more.

The Guardian

If events as they play out do not seem entirely likely, they make for a smart, dark, amusing good time.

LA Times

King Charles III, a majestic, unmissable drama…

The Daily Telegraph


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.

King Charles III

King Charles III by Mike Bartlett does not convey a specific diversity message within its narrative. The play offers the opportunity for casting with complete neutrality regarding race and ethnicity. While certain aspects of the story may suggest gender, ethnicity, or age specificity for particular roles, the artistic judgment can determine the extent of flexibility, aiming to achieve a highly diverse cast.

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