The Barn Theatre, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

Welwyn Drama Festival

20th – 25th May 2024 at 7.30pm (Sat 7pm)

A week of entertaining, dramatic competition.

Please Note: Saturday 25th starts at 7pm

We are very pleased to be welcoming the Welwyn Drama Festival once again. It’s their 89th 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 professional GoDa adjudicator Bob Tomson 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.

Monday 20th May, 7.30pm

Limitless Academy of Performing Arts (winners of the Youth Drama Festival)
Bouncers by John Godber

Time for dancing, drinking and the search for true love. The club’s getting hot but out in the cold the bouncers are ready for anything. Meet Ralph, Judd, Les and Lucky Eric as they relive a night in a London disco in the 80s, in an outrageous celebration of the UK nightclub scene.

Brightlight Theatre Company
The Start of Something by Jamie Lakritz

Three women. A lost letter. An obsessive pursuit to find the recipient. But are some things best left forgotten.

Tuesday 21st May, 7.30pm

Feelgood Factor (BEST)
Fabulous at Thirty by Deborah Heath & Catherine Lomax (new play)

One soulless conference room. Eight guilty strangers. One tea urn with a life of its own! Exploring guilt, friendships and the need for speed, Feelgood Factor bring you their original new play, Fabulous at Thirty.

Secret Theatre Company
The Plot Doesn’t Thicken by Barry Grossman (new play)

Welcome to the worst house-warming ever. Three couples bicker, argue and end up with full-on tantrums and assorted injuries as the evening disintegrates into chaos. At the same time, they all know they’re actors and aren’t slow to give their cynical opinions on theatre in general and this one in particular. At the same time as that they’re anxious to develop the plot, but somehow, whatever they try – the plot doesn’t thicken.

4 Door Theatre Company
Opening a Fuzzwallop’s Frame of Mind by Daniel Evans

In a closed room a group of people, trapped by their surroundings, accept their predicament. Then a naïve young stranger poses the question of life outside the room and the claustrophobic existence of this strange group is challenged. This play explores the nature of humanity and our fear of the unknown.

Wednesday 22nd May, 7.30pm

Theatre In The Square
Lunch by Steven Berkoff

In this short play, by the legendary playwright Steven Berkoff, two strangers meet at a deserted beach café. Will their intense encounter relieve their loneliness?

Contains adult themes and language.

Tait Productions
Forbidden Fruit by Johnny Tait (new play)

A scientist claiming to be the first man on earth creates the ideal woman, in order to build the perfect human race in this laugh-out-loud comedy taken from the novel Naked Truth by author Johnny Tait.

Double Acts: WYSINNWYG by John Finnemore

In the Sales Support Department of Willard & Son Bath Suppliers, Kerry meets an obstinate new boss, Adele, whom she must deal with in order to climb up the corporate ladder. “In the game of office politics, what you see is not necessarily what you get…”

Thursday 23rd May, 7.30pm

SMP Theatre
Checkmate by Robert Scott

A tense thriller. In this play, a friendly game of chess between husband and wife becomes more of a game of cat and mouse. Michael likes to think he’s always one move ahead, but perhaps this time Amy has him in check. The only thing for certain is not everything is quite as it seems.

Barn Theatre Club
Good Grief by Matt Adie (abridged) (new play)

A brutally honest, powerful and personal account of one man’s attempts to deal with the reality of loss and the ensuing void which threatens to consume him. Both visceral and funny, often within the same breath, this new play is Inspired by a true story of love, loss and friendship.

SMP Theatre
Normal For by Tony Domaille

Teacher Emma worries about a nine-year-old boy in her class. But when she raises concerns, they are dismissed as ‘normal for here’. As she struggles against a culture of indifference, Emma finds herself facing a real dilemma. Does she sit back and accept there’s nothing wrong or speak out and go against the chain of command?

Friday 24th May, 7.30pm

Woodhouse Players
Goldfish Girl by Peter Souter

Ally is the Goldfish Girl. She has no memory. Can Joe help her regain her past? A funny and sad exploration of love and loss… and hedgehogs.

Not suitable for children.

No Frills Theatre Company
On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco by Anton Chekhov

A bittersweet monologue in which a scientific lecture is hijacked by thoughts of domestic misery. A highly entertaining and comic short, offering an insight into the author’s development as a dramatist.

Double Acts: Hot Desk by John Finnemore

In the reception of Willard & Son Bath Suppliers, at seven in the morning and seven in the evening, a receptionist and a security guard meet to swap ownership of a desk each day, which blossoms into an unusual relationship.

Saturday 25th May, 7pm (note the earlier start)

Total Arts Community Theatre
The Real & Imagined History of the Elephant Man by Tom Wright

Joseph Merrick is an anomaly. In a city of factories that churn out uniformity, there’s no place for a unique being like him. But Merrick and the city are evolving into something new. We follow him through the workhouse, freakshow and hospital as he searches for acceptance in a society that just wants to stare at him.

The Players’ Theatre (Wales)
Albert by Richard Harris

An ordinary situation soon becomes extraordinary when three strangers meet, speaking different languages. Total confusion reigns supreme.

Followed by the Results and Award Ceremony

Good Grief at the Welwyn Drama FestivalI’m delighted to say that the Barn’s entry into this year’s Welwyn Drama Festival isGood Grief by Matt Adie. It played to sell-out audiences and lovely feedback in the Studio last autumn as part of a double bill, and is scheduled to take to the main stage on Thursday 23rd May as one of three productions that evening.

In a slightly abridged format to comply with the WDF rules, Danny Swanson, Sam Powell and Paul Russell will reprise their original roles. In the absence of Julia Riley and Georgina Scotchford, they will be joined this time around by the irrepressible Ruth Heppelthwaite.

This abridged version, if anything, increases the intensity of the piece, so if you missed it first time around, please come along and experience the raw emotions for yourself. As one prominent Barn member wrote at the time: “I loved it. I laughed, I cried, I was totally engaged”. In fact, even if you did see it, please come anyway and support your theatrical chums.

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



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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