Curtain to rise on city’s first theatre festival in 2018

August 04 2017
Curtain to rise on city’s first theatre festival in 2018

DATES have been announced for Wells’ very first Theatre Festival in the city which will run from July 12-15, 2018.

The festival boasts as its patrons film, theatre, television and opera director Sir Richard Eyre and renowned actress and author Dame Judi Dench. The programme will include nationally celebrated South West companies alongside international touring companies leading workshops and performances.

It is hoped that the festival will span a variety of venues across the city, both pop-up performances and venues and more traditional theatre spaces: from The Bishop’s Barn and Recreation Grounds to Wells Cathedral School, as well as a host of smaller venues.

At the core of the festival will be its ambition to bring world class performances to rural communities; as such, plans are afoot for part of the festival to take place in neighbouring Shepton Mallet potentially involving creating a piece of site-specific theatre around the Shepton Mallet prison site.

Other productions include a community Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet production on the Cathedral Green, and a mystery play in Vicars’ Close.

There will be various children’s theatre performances, late night cabaret and workshops by Sir Richard Eyre, Harry Burton on Pinter and Dominic Mapham on acting in the Globe Theatre.

Many other companies will be involved once negotiations start in the autumn.

The brainchild of performing arts teacher and theatre specialist Rosalind Johnson, Wells Theatre Festival will have a strong focus on building new young audiences and hosting performances in schools, as well as offering young people the opportunity to gain additional experience and training in performing arts through mentoring, workshops and talks from industry leaders.

Rosalind said: “Our aim is to bring together all the talent that abounds in Wells and the local area combined with national and international performers in a unique theatre festival which will complement the other wonderful festivals already in place.”

To find out more about Wells Theatre Festival, visit the new website:

Organisers are seeking sponsors for the festival. If interested, email Rosalind:

Photo of Dame Judi Dench (seen above with Sir Richard Eyre) courtesy of Sarah Dunn: