Fringe festival kicks off new season at Welwyn Garden City theatre

PUBLISHED: 09:59 28 August 2015 | UPDATED: 09:59 28 August 2015

The Barn Fringe 2015

The Barn Fringe 2015


The new season at Welwyn Garden City’s Barn Theatre kicks off next month with The Barn Fringe 2015, a five-day feast of drama, music and song.

Barn Fringe 2015Barn Fringe 2015

Down on Handside Lane the exterior of the lovely old Barn Theatre is being spruced up with a new coat of paint in readiness for the start of the 2015/16 season.

Raising the curtain on the new season next month will be The Barn Fringe, back for its third year.

Running from Wednesday, September 9 to Sunday, September 13, the feast of entertainment is earlier than usual this year.

Barn artistic director Coral Walton said: “We thought it would be fun to blast off the new season on a high note with the Fringe.

“There’s nostalgia, fantastic drama and fabulous music. With such a variety there will be something to appeal to everyone.

“And then we’ll all settle down for the season of first-class drama for which the Barn is so well known.”

First up, on Wednesday, September 9, is Footsteps from the Past, a fascinating look at the history of WGC, the realisation of Ebenezer Howard’s dream.

Tony Skottowe will take a nostalgic look at the Garden City’s past with archive footage, ‘A Brave Vision’, and anecdotal discussion.

Paula Chitty presents St Albans-based Irrational Theatre Company’s production of Abigail’s Party the following night.

Mike Leigh’s play has become a much-loved classic, while Alison Steadman’s performance as Beverly, the grotesquely overbearing hostess of a doomed suburban get-together, has passed into legend.

Written and set in 1977, this wonderfully funny satire on the aspirational middle class still makes audiences laugh, and wince, at the characters as they debate the merits of Demis Roussos over James Galway.

It sold out in St Albans earlier in the year, so there’s another opportunity to see the piece performed by this highly acclaimed local company.

A mix of musical delights is on offer on Friday, September 11 with Rhythms.

Visitors to Covent Garden in London will be familiar with the sight, and sounds, of ZHL, the string ensemble that plays regularly on the ground floor outside Nauticalia.

Founded by violist Jim Huang, ZHL Strings has been established in London since 1993, where they are in constant demand for their symphony and chamber performances.

They will take centre stage during a musical evening that also features the Welwyn Garden City Band, who return to the Barn stage next year to perform in Brassed Off.

Also on the bill are the young stars from the Barn Youth Theatre, performing a medley of songs from their sell-out summer show Our Day Out, and musical director Rachel Dawson will sing tunes from other popular Barn shows.

En route to London, and hot from that other Fringe in Edinburgh, Sue Kelvin will join the Barn Fringe on the Saturday night with Bette Midler and Me.

A tribute to the legend that is ‘The Divine Miss M’, it covers her life and hits from the perspective of a lifelong fan.

The Fringe comes to a close on Sunday, September 13 with The Perfect Picnic from the fabulous Opera on the Run, another professional show featuring the music of Mozart but like you have never heard him before.

If you like music theatre, opera and drama, or just a moving and funny story with great tunes and superb direction, this is for you.

All the Barn shows start at 8pm and tickets cost from £12 to £16.

They are available at or from the box office.

A season ticket for all five shows costs £50 – a saving of £18 on individual tickets.

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