These Shining Lives

Set in 1920s Illinois, Catherine Donohue is excited to get a job at Radium Dial. The task is simple enough - she and her colleagues are to paint watch dials using a radium compound which glows in the dark. When their hands begin to glow too and their health deteriorates, they articulate their concerns but are subsequently ignored, shamed and eventually dismissed. Taking the company to court, Catherine’s empowering and heart-breaking fight for her rights offers us a potent reminder of the need to protect workers from exploitation.

Our audiences were spellbound by this powerful and troubling story. Here are some of their comments.

"Rarely do I see a play which is intense, gentle, frightening and moving in equal measure! Rarely do I leave the theatre wanting to share that experience with the world. But such was my experience tonight at The Sewell Barn Theatre in Norwich. These are real people - these were real happenings! This was These Shining Lives - a superb production with a tal…

Not About Heroes

“This book is not about heroes. English poetry is not yet fit to speak of them.” So wrote Wilfred Owen in the preface of his collected poems.

This beautiful, moving piece of theatre is presented in the month of #Armistice100. Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were two of our most influential WW2 war poets, and Stephen MacDonald's creation is a sincere, powerful and sensitive tribute to them both.

We've seen audiences mesmerised by the fine performances of our two actors, and many a surreptitious handkerchief was produced.

"Just returned from seeing ‘Not About Heroes.’ Most of what I want to say has already been said by others. Such an intense, moving and insightful production. Two incredibly talented actors. Congratulations to all involved in this production, it was an incredible achievement." Ruth E

"Saw Not About Heroes yesterday evening, truly amazing production, congratulations to both superb actors the director and whole production team, thank you!" Chris H



The opening show of our 2018/19 season brings back the work of the splendid Moira Buffini (Dinner, played in April 2018), and the first half of the run has played to great acclaim.

This witty and intelligent Olivier-winning play imagines what may have happened in the weekly meetings between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher from 1979 to 1990. There were rumours that they did not see eye to eye, and this titanic struggle between two women of different backgrounds but of similar ages – both shaped by fathers they adored – is fascinating and moving. Major events of the period are explored, with two queens and two Thatchers disputing what occurred whilst two male actors multi-role a range of key players as varied as Ronald Reagan and Arthur Scargill to create a sharp satirical comedy.

"Really enjoyed the matinee performance this afternoon. Huge well done to the cast for a fantastic play. The accents were brilliant!" Laura B

"Best play I've seen in a long time. Funny with …


Our final production of the 2017/18 season was a scurrilous, hilarious, joyful delight.

Here are some of the audience reactions.

"I had the most fabulous evening last night at Tomfoolery, Sewell Barn Theatre. It has to be one of the most slick amateur productions I've ever seen - every line milked and polished to the utmost. I didn't stop grinning all night. Thanks Malcolm Robinson for making sure I got there and to Cassie, Selwyn, Angela and everyone else for ultimate sublimity." Clare H

"What a hugely enjoyable evening - Tomfoolery! Well done to everyone for such a slick, energetic and totally excellent presentation of Tom Lehrer's wildly funny work! Is there some way you can put it on again, perhaps at Christmas, as a one-off? It should be given another airing!" Frances M

"Just been to see Tomfoolery at Sewell Barn Theatre... two words... Bloody Brilliant!! Cassie, could you please say thank you & well done to ALL cast & crew from me ple…

A Month of Sundays

On the first Sunday of every month, John Cooper’s daughter and son-in-law come to see him. The visits are seldom a success. Cooper’s conversation tends towards jokes about ageing and senility, their talk revolves around their challenging journey. The grandson has stopped visiting.

This gentle, observant, hilarious, poignant play, from the pen of Bob Larbey (The Good Life, A Fine Romance) has been delighting audiences during the first few performances. Here are some very good reasons to come along and see for yourself.

Tickets are available from St George's Music Shop, in person or by phone, or online from Ticketsource. Click here for full details.

"One of the best plays I’ve ever seen. The writing, direction, storyline and acting terrific. I cried." James T

"Fantastic play!! Every element was stunning...acting, set, light and sound, the writing... flawless. Would heartily recommend!" Verity R

"Just been to see a Month of Sundays at Sewell Barn theatre. A b…

New season 2018-19

Full details will be posted on our website very soon, together with audition notes, but in the meantime, here is a brief precis of the 2018-19 season at the Sewell Barn.

11-20 October 2018
Handbagged by Moira Buffini
Dir: Clare Williamson

22 November-01 December 2018
Not About Heroes by Stephen MacDonald
Dir: Rob Tiffen

10-19 January 2019
These Shining Lives by Melanie Marnich
Dir: Jess Hutchings

21 February-02 March 2019
Confusions by Alan Ayckbourn
Dir: Angela Rowe

28 March 2019-06 April 2019
Faustus by Christopher Marlowe
Dir: Chris Bealey

02-11 May 2019
The Children by Lucy Kirkwood
Dir: Peter Wood

06-15 June 2019
Yerma by Federico Garcia Lorca
Dir: Phillip Rowe

11-20 July 2019
Waiting in the Wings by Noel Coward
Dir: Cassie Tillett

In addition, we are delighted to host two special evenings 'for one night only':

25 October 2018
Broad Horizons Theatre Company presents
Rebellious Sisterhood - Votes for Women

9 March 2019
Paddle Fast presents
Music at the Barn

We hope you agree that i…

Romeo and Juliet

As the director of this show, Carole Lovett, has said in our programme: "It has been estimated that at any moment of any day somewhere on our planet a performance of will be taking place. This popularity and the seeming familiarity that everyone has with the characters and the plot is a two-edged sword. On the one hand it evokes a very positive response from the general public, but on the other hand, how does any new interpretation keep the story fresh and new?"

Our production sets the iconic tragedy in the present day. Lord Capulet and Lady Montague are rival political candidates. The weapons are not swords but fists and knives. And (as Carole goes on to say), "The tragedy of the human existence is not dependant on historical context and we all have a lot to learn from Shakespeare's study of how precious and fragile are the younger members of our society and of how they should never be ignored or taken for granted. We should always listen and we should always care.…