News: Michael Morpurgo to make special appearance at the Barn Theatre for An Elephant in the Garden event

The Barn Theatre in Cirencester has announced that internationally best-selling author Michael Morpurgo will make a special appearance for a post-show Q&A session following the opening night performance of Simon Reade’s critically acclaimed play adaptation of his children’s novel An Elephant in the Garden on 31 August.

The question-and-answer session will see Morpurgo discuss with director and adaptor Simon Reade and star Alison Reid their ongoing relationship as collaborators, the process of bringing Morpurgo’s work to the stage and the trio’s ongoing relationship with the Barn Theatre.

An Elephant in the Garden returns to the Barn Theatre from 31 August – 11 September, following its critically acclaimed and OnComm Award-nominated digital run earlier in the year. Simon Reade’s adaptation of the beloved Michael Morpurgo children’s novel follows Lizzie, her mother – and an elephant from the zoo in 1945 Dresden, Germany, as they flee the Allied fire-bombing in the endgame of the Second World War.

The question-and-answer session will take place following the 7:30pm opening night performance on 31 August with access to the Q&A event only for ticket holders to the performance. Tickets to the production range from £11.50.

Michael Morpurgo said of his return to the theatre, “Back in The Barn! A new beginning beckons for everyone involved with theatre. The Barn has led the way, doing everything that was possible to keep live theatre going during these dire times. Well, dire is over, we hope, over and done with. Plays can play again. Audiences need wait no longer for the show to begin. How they will love it, how we will all love it, to be together again!

I am looking forward so, so much to being back at The Barn with you for Alison Reade’s bravura solo performance of Simon Reid’s wonderful adaptation of my story An Elephant in the Garden.”

The Poonamallee Productions and Barn Theatre production is adapted and directed by Simon Reade and performed by Alison Reid with design by Max Johns, lighting design by Matthew Graham, costumes by Elizabeth De-Tisi, sound design by Jason Barnes, radio voices by Chris Bianchi and juggling choreography by Rod Laver.

This will continue the theatre’s ongoing relationship with Morpurgo, who has been a long-time supporter of the charity. This production will mark the third of his works to be staged at the theatre, following 2019’s The Butterfly Lion and 2020’s Private Peaceful, with Vicki Berwick’s previously announced adaptation of The Mozart Question also in active development.

Morpurgo made appearances for a special digital event “An Evening with Michael Morpurgo” during the height of the pandemic to raise funds for the theatre and his charity Farms For City Children as part of the Barn Theatre’s free digital service Behind The Barn Door, which was set up during the first national lockdown to provide free entertainment and information to connect both local, national and international communities.

2020 also saw the critically acclaimed runs of the Barn Theatre, Take Two Theatricals and BoxLess Theatre production of Michael Morporgo’s Private Peaceful, which was also a Simon Reade adaptation. The run started at the theatre’s summer theatre festival BarnFest (which has returned this week) before successful transfers to the theatre’s main auditorium and to Bristol Old Vic. The production was originally scheduled to debut in the West End, however due to the second National lockdown the production was cancelled and returned as a digital production alongside An Elephant in the Garden in Spring 2021.

The production will mark the first of two Simon Reade productions for the Barn’s 2021 reopening season with Reade’s actor-musician reimagining of David Copperfield set to make its world debut from 28 September – 6 November.

Tickets for the special event, An Elephant in the Garden and David Copperfield are now on sale with tickets ranging from £11.50. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling the box office at 01285 648 255 (M-Sa 10am-1pm & 5:30pm–7pm, Sa 5:30pm-7pm).


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