Gripping psychological thriller Equus coming to Barn Studio in Welwyn Garden City

Tom Fletcher as Alan Strang and Kizzie Hopkinson as Jill Mason in Equus at Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City.

Tom Fletcher as Alan Strang and Kizzie Hopkinson as Jill Mason in Equus at Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City. - Credit: John Davies

With a growing reputation for bold programming, Barn Studio opens its comeback season with EQUUS, Sir Peter Shaffer’s landmark play that has become a modern classic.  

Award-winning screenwriter and playwright Steve Thompson returns to the intimate performance space at the Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City to direct a cast at the top of their game for this psychological thriller.

Tom Fletcher as Alan Strang and Julia Ryan as Dora Strang in Equus at Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City.

Tom Fletcher as Alan Strang and Julia Ryan as Dora Strang in Equus at Barn Theatre in Welwyn Garden City. - Credit: John Davies

A dazzling and complex look at passion, sex, religion and sanity, Equus divided audiences when it debuted at the National Theatre in 1973, and continues to do so.

Described by the Telegraph critic as ‘haunting theatre, rich and riveting’, it went on to become an international hit, then was not seen on a UK professional stage again for nearly 35 years.

Thea Sharrock revived it in 2007 – famously featuring a 17-year-old Daniel Radcliffe, of Harry Potter fame.

Dr Martin Dysart, a disaffected psychiatrist, is faced with a unique case when a young man, Alan Strang, is brought to him for treatment.

Alan, a passionate and obsessive horse lover, has blinded six horses, to the horror and surprise of his family.

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In his efforts to coax Alan out of his shell and treat him, Dr Dysart begins to unravel the complex psychological puzzle of Alan’s obsessions.

Dysart discovers a fervent, passionate, almost religious power that has both the power to destroy Alan, and perhaps, to save the doctor himself. 

This is the first Barn production of Schaffer’s unsettling play, although Hitchin’s Queen Mother Theatre has staged two productions, one of which starred a young, then unknown, Ben Whishaw as Alan Strang.  

Tom Fletcher

Tom Fletcher will share the role of Alan Strang in Equus at the Barn Studio in Welwyn Garden City. - Credit: Supplied by Barn Theatre

For this Barn production, 17-year-olds Tom Fletcher and Ruari Spooner share the iconic role.  

Ruari Spooner

Ruari Spooner will share the role of Alan Strang in Equus at the Barn Studio in Welwyn Garden City. - Credit: Supplied by Barn Theatre

Beaumont School students, both are members of the National Youth Theatre with some impressive work to their credit, including roles in Mark Wheeller’s verbatim play, Game Over, which was directed at St Albans’ Trestle Theatre in 2019 by Lynsey Wallace.

With some adult themes and strong language, EQUUS runs in the Barn Studio from Tuesday, October 26 to Sunday, October 31 (excluding Thursday, October 28) at 8pm, with a matinee on October 30 at 3pm.

Tickets cost £13 and are available from the box office 01707 324300 or online at www.barntheatre.co.uk

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