A two-day festival showcasing theatre made in Somerset and the South West

Join us at the Taunton Brewhouse for a thrilling programme of celebration, stimulation, provocation and lively debate around contemporary theatre and how it's made.

As well as performances from emerging individuals and companies, BARNfest will include a Venues South West symposium, work in progress, pitches and a digital programme.

There will also be plenty of opportunity to network, meet the theatre-makers and discuss the performances with other like-minded people. 

As we won’t be producing a printed programme we hope you’ll be able to find all the information you need below. We will update this on a weekly basis right up to the start of the festival.

Who is BARNfest for?

BARNfest is for anyone who supports theatre in Somerset and the South West: individual and companies, producers, venues, programmers, arts organisations, promoters, audiences. We don’t want to be prescriptive. If you feel it is for you, we’d love to see you.





Despite the lifting of government restrictions, Covid is still with us. Although mask wearing is no longer a mandatory requirement, please use your discretion while in the public spaces at the Brewhouse. We also encourage everyone attending to take a lateral flow test, where possible, before arriving at the Brewhouse.


If you have booked a ticket for Tuesday, then lunch and afternoon refreshments are included.

Although we are unable to provide lunch on Wednesday, you will be able to purchase tea/coffee during the afternoon. We advise you bring food and refreshments with you OR there are several cafes/eateries surrounding the venue and a Morrisons opposite.

The Brewhouse café will not be open during the festival. 


Due to ongoing building works surrounding the venue, parking and access to the venue is restricted.

Please see the Transport, Parking and Accessibility section below for more information.

We encourage everyone to allow extra time for parking and for buying food/refreshments.

Please be aware that the A358 (running between the A303 and Taunton) may be closed for resurfacing between 6.30pm and 7.00am during the week.  We advise you check the latest traffic updates: https://www.travelsomerset.co....


Tuesday 22 March

Day 1 Festival Pass: £15, which includes: 

  • Entry to the Festival Programme all day 
  • Venues South West Symposium 
  • Lunch and afternoon refreshments (We are providing a simple ‘lunch box’ style lunch, which is included in the ticket price. This will be either vegetarian or vegan. You will be asked to choose your preference at the checkout when you book your ticket. We will also provide afternoon tea/coffee. Anything over and above this e.g. if you have food allergies or preferences or if you’re staying for the evening programme you will need to bring food or buy yourself. We are sorry we are not able to cater as we have in the past for Covid safety reasons. 

We have a limited number of bursary passes available for anyone on a low income. Please email ruth@takeart.org for further information.

The main programme starts at 12:30 with lunch and networking. But below there are options in the morning you're welcome to attend. 


A humorous pantomime exploring how respect, friendship and cooperation can overcome rivalry and jealousy. This is a children's and family show for an invited audience, which you are welcome to attend. Entry is included in your Day 1 Festival Pass.

11.30 - 12:30: Networking for Somerset Theatre-Makers

This networking event is limited to 25 people. Pre-booking for free entry is essential when you purchase your Day 1 Festival Pass.

12.30-13:30: Lunch and Networking

13.30 -18:00: Venues South West (VSW) Symposium

Venues South West is a network of venues and organisations committed to supporting artists and developing the South West theatre sector by collaborating to enable quality work, better communication and a stronger regional touring infrastructure.

13:30 - 14:00: Welcome and Introductions

Thematically the Symposium will explore: "What does the future of theatre in the South West look like?  That's a big question!" So it will focus on two specific areas: gender and artist support.

14:00 - 16:00 Symposium Part 1

Gender: Where is the space for female / non-binary led work? Facilitated by Abby Young, the session will include provocations from: Ruth Pitter, Adie Dove, Leela Bunce, Vandna Mehta, Natasha Nixon and Selina Keedwell.

Performance extracts from: Liv Torc, Amy Foskett and Frank Electric.

16:00 to 16:30: Break

16:30 to 18:00: Symposium Part 2

Artist support: What is the future for artist support?

This session will include a discussion of potential actions that Venues South West could take forward.

18:00 - 19:00: Break

19:00 - 20:00: Liv Torc: HAIFLU EVER AFTER

Created by poet and artist Liv Torc, the show weaves together crowd-sourced haiku, and music to tell a week-by-week creative social history of our lives during one of the biggest crises of the last 100 years. Entry is included in your Day 1 Festival Pass.

This performance is also open to the general public and tickets can be booked for £5 from the Brewhouse Box Office here.

20:15 - 21:15: aKa Dance Theatre: A REAL FICTION

A hyperactive mix of dance, theatre, and pop culture. You can expect the unexpected as you lose yourself in other people’s memories. This performance is limited to 50 people. Pre-booking is essential when you purchase your Day 1 Festival Pass.

Download our PDF for more information about the Day 1 Programme here. 


Wednesday 23 March 

Day 2 Festival pass: FREE (includes entry to all events but no lunch or refreshments, you will need purchase these separately). 

It is important that, even though the pass is free, you need to book in advance (unless you are performing) to ensure entry. 

If you book a ticket and are unable to attend, please let the box office know so they can release the ticket as we have limited capacity. 

The main festival programme for Wednesday starts at 13:15 with SHESPOKE.

Please email ruth@takeart.org if you would like to attend any of the morning programme. As these are in smaller spaces, there is limited room, so it is advisable to reserve a space.

09:30 - 10:15: Angel Exit tooB 

A playful and gently interactive introduction to theatre and dance for babies of 6-24 months and their grownups. 

10:30 - 11:00: Hannah Lefeuvre EARLY WEAVES 

An interactive, playful workshop and immersive experience with willow, for early years audiences. 

11:30 - 12:00: Evelyn Bonella THE WRONG COLOUR BLUE 

A work-in-progress excerpt weaves elements of lived experience with flights of the imagination, offering a positive reflection of neurodiverse women and championing disabled artists in the art. Contains themes of brain injury and mental health.

12:30 to 13:00: AUTOPIA: A place that does not (yet) exist.

MJ Gardner to discuss AUTOPIA, their creative research experiment that will bring together autistic and neurodiverse artists to present examples of creative practices, with long-term goal for the research to create a live production inspired, created and driven by the ideas of specifically neurodiverse and disabled artists.

Open networking to take place post MJ’s initial description of Autopia, its origins, and hopes for the future.

This is a relaxed discussion. Please feel free to have lunch/etc during this.

13:15 - 13:45: SHESPOKE 

When a group of women come together, not poets by profession, but the love of words, stories and community bring them together, determined to unite and learn from one another. You get SheSpoke.

14:00 - 17:00: A mixed programme in a range of spaces

  • Storytelling: Sarah Mooney ANTLER 
  • Work in Progress: Over the Wall: THE OWL MAN; Jackie Clementines: ERNIE’S JOURNEY 
  • Pitches: Eva Sinclair; Wassail Theatre; Rachel Cohen; Selina Keedwell; Corrinne Curtis (the Nornen Project); The Bluebirds Theatre Company; Jordan and Jack; Atomic Rhubarb 
  • Digital Programme: Sheba Soul Ensemble; Tor Theatre; Shoebox Theatre; Over the Wall; Open Story Tellers

Further details and timings will be updated for this part of the programme in due course. 

17:00 - 17:30: Break

17:30 - 19:00: Viv Gordon Company CUTTING OUT (film with live introduction and Q&A) 

A film with live introduction: part performance, part installation, part collective act of resistance, Cutting Out tells Viv’s 1 in 11 million story.

19:00: Festival End

Download our PDF for more information about the Day 2 Programme here. 

All Tickets are available from the Taunton Brewhouse Box Office: 01823 283244 

If you have any further questions, please email ruth@takeart.org or call the Take Art office: 01460 249450. 

ON BOTH DAYS: we’ve allowed plenty of time and space in the programme for breaks, networking and conversations.  We’ve allocated a ‘Quiet Space’ for anyone that needs it.  We ask that everyone else respects this and not use it for general conversation. 

BARNfest and Covid 

As you can imagine, planning a two-day event in the current climate has not been without its challenges.  Despite the lifting of government restrictions, Covid is still with us. So we want to keep everyone safe, while offering an accessible, flexible and creative event. This means a few things: 

  • We’ve tried our best to create a balanced and representative programme, but there may be changes to the programme at the last minute that are out of our control; 
  • There are capacity restrictions on some of the events, depending on the space they’re happening in; 
  • Although mask wearing is no longer a mandatory requirement, please use your discretion while in the public spaces at the Brewhouse;
  • We also encourage everyone attending to take a lateral flow test, where possible, before arriving at the Brewhouse.
  • The Brewhouse team continues to deep clean the building and has hand sanitisation stations at various point in the venue, which we ask you please use; 

We’re not able to provide the range of food and refreshments that we’ve offered in the past. This is reflected in the ticket prices which, thanks to the generous support from Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, we’ve tried to keep as low as possible. 


Address: Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre, Coal Orchard, Taunton TA1 1JL 

Due to ongoing building works surrounding the venue, parking and access to the venue is restricted. The St James entrance is now open, so you may enter and leave via this or the riverside entrance. 

The Taunton Brewhouse website provides more information and you may find the following helpful: https://www.thebrewhouse.net/v... 


There are nearby carparks and Taunton Brewhouse has created a handy pack to download telling you where they are. See Parking Guide for more information. 

Canon Street TA1 1SN (5 mins walk) 

Wood Street TA1 1UR (10 mins walk) 

Public Transport 

Taunton Railway Station TA1 1QP is a 15 mins (slow) walk away. 


Taunton Brewhouse aims to be as accessible as possible. Here are some of the things to help your visit:https://www.thebrewhouse.net/v...