Full casting announced for the award-winning Barn Theatre’s (Best Fringe Theatre  – The Stage Awards 2019) upcoming production of The Butterfly Lion by the acclaimed writer and former Children’s Laureate, Michael Morpurgo (War Horse, Private Peaceful, Running Wild).

The cast comprises of: Jasper William Cartwright (Michael/Bertie), Jonathan Charles (Lion), Jeremy Cobb (Merlot), Henry Douthwaite (Father), Hilary Harwood (Millie), and Abigail Matthews (Mother).

One of Morpurgo’s finest works, this heart-warming yet bittersweet story of faithfulness, destiny and love has been adapted for the stage by Daniel Buckroyd. The production runs at The Barn from 2 April – 4 May, with press night on Thursday 4 April 2019, and is directed by Jessica Daniels, with designs by Lizzy Leech, puppetry designs and direction by Maia Kirkman-Richards, and lighting by Sam Rowcliffe-Tanner.

The Butterfly Lion tells the extraordinary story of young Albert Andrews and the unlikely friendship that he strikes up with the orphaned white lion cub he rescues one day from the African Veldt. It’s an epic tale that spans more than seventy years and takes us from rural Wiltshire to the plains of South Africa, and from the bleeding heart of war-torn France finally back to England and the safety of home. It’s a journey that begins with a solemn promise made by a boy never to forget his friend, a journey that will keep you on the edge of your seat until its startling conclusion.

Following on from The Butterfly Lion, The Barn’s 2019 season continues with a William Shakespeare classic history, Henry V (22 May – 22 June 2019), a brand new production of the comic thriller, The 39 Steps (10 July – 10 August 2019), the award-winning musical Daddy Long Legs (2 October – 2 November 2019), and a reimagining of Charles Dickens’ festive masterpiece, A Christmas Carol (27 November 2019 – 4 January 2020).


Jasper William Cartwright’s (Michael/Bertie) stage credits include War Horse (UK Tour). Jasper is also a trained Ballet, Contemporary & Hip hop dancer. Away from performing in theatre, Jasper co-founded a film production company 94 Film and works as a writer/director.

Jonathan Charles’ (Lion) stage credits include War Horse (UK Tour and National Theatre), The Tempest (Stafford Gatehouse), Cinderella (The Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch), Peter Pan in Scarlet (Oxford Playhouse and The New Vic, Stoke), Robin Hood & Marian, Dracula and The Borrowers (The New Vic, Stoke), Juno & the Paycock (Bristol Old Vic and Liverpool Playhouse), Sunset Five (The Pleasance and Greenwich Theatre) and London Road (Bristol Old Vic Studio).

Jeremy Cobb’s (Merlot) stage credits include: Spirit of Windrush: Contributions to Multicultural Britain (Westminster Abbey) and Riding Light Theatre Company’s Gospel Street (UK and Ireland Tour).

Henry Douthwaite’s (Father) stage credits include: Travesties (Apollo Theatre), In Vitro Veritas (Catalyst Festival), Dracula (Edinburgh Fringe), Hamlet (Stern Alarum/WW2 Bunker, Dalston), The Hound of the Baskervilles – Radio Theatre (Theatro Technis), Macbeth (UK Tour), The Secret Garden (UK Tour), Moonfleet (UK Tour), A Doll’s House (Dream Factory, Warwick), The Mousetrap (St. Martins Theatre), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Brockley Jack), Richard III (Courtyard Theatre), and Glengarry Glen Ross (Edinburgh Fringe). Henry was part of the devising team for Mother Clap’s Molly House (NT). Henry’s screen credits include Hunter, Cruel Peter, Solis, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Off Piste, Catch, Hi-Lo Joe, Skullz, Dead Fred, Aux, Ben Hur, Nobel Claim, Sweetboy, To Meet It With Awe, Axed, Other Side of the Game, The Last Horror Movie, Love, Death and Robots, Universe of Gods, The Gunpowder Plot: Exploding the Legend, The Last Days of Anne Boleyn, The Cambridge Rapist and How Sherlock Changed the World.

Hilary Harwood’s (Millie) stage credits include: Handbagged, Relative Values, Ladies In Lavender, The Ladykillers and Pygmalion (Theatre Royal, Windsor), Jamaica Inn (Chesterfield Pomegranate), Lend Me A Tenor, The Birds (Paul Taylor-Mills Summer Rep), Sunset Boulevard (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford), My Fair Lady (60th Anniversary Concert), The Spitfire Grill (Union Theatre) and Carrie’s War (UK Tour).

Abigail Matthews’ (Mother) stage credits include Peter Pan (Beck Theatre), Myths and Legends, A Cowardly Night and Berlin Nights (Bridlington Spa Theatre), Goodnight Mister Tom (Duke of York’s Theatre), The White Feather (Union Theatre), Bye Bye Birdie (Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre), War Horse (New London Theatre), Dick Whittington (The White Rock Theatre), A Winter’s Tale and The Hired Man (Landor Theatre), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (360° Theatre, Kensington Gardens) and Evita (UK and European Tour).

Jessica Daniels (Director) most recently directed A Pupil at Park Theatre, which was nominated for an Off West End award. Prior to that she was Resident Director on the West End transfer of Girl From the North Country, following its successful run at the Old Vic. Other directing credits include: Connect NOW Monologues (The Old Vic), Conquest (VAULT Festival/The Bunker), The Many Crimes of Hector Cartwright (VAULT Festival) and The State We’re In (Theatre503). Jess’ credits as Assistant Director include: Girl From the North Country (The Old Vic) and Jess and Joe Forever (Orange Tree Theatre).

Daniel Buckroyd (Stage Adaptation) is the Artistic and Executive Director of Exeter’s Northcott Theatre. He previously launched the critically acclaimed ‘Made in Colchester’ production and touring programme, has developed and grown a wide range of audiences, and an innovative and wide-reaching Creative Learning and Talent Programme. His creative work includes adaptions of Michael Morpurgo’s books The Butterfly Lion, which was nominated for a TMA Best Family Show award, and Farm Boy, which transferred to New York. Other productions include Turn of the Screw, Noises Off and Clybourne Park. He has directed Shakespeare, staged musicals including Sweeney Todd, The Hired Man and Betty Blue Eyes, and premiered a number of new plays including Abi Morgan’s first stage play Skinned. His production of Monty Python’s Spamalot was a sell-out at Exeter’s Northcott Theatre, won an award for Best International Musical in Korea and has just been showing at the Dubai Opera House. Daniel’s version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs received five nominations for the 2018 Great British Pantomime Awards.

Michael Morpurgo (Author) read English, French and Philosophy at King’s College, London. As a young man he was a teacher. With his wife Clare he founded the charity Farms for City Children. In 1999 the couple were awarded the MBE for their work together. In 1976 his first book was published and he went on to become the award-winning author of over 130 books for children of all ages, including War Horse, Private Peaceful, Farm Boy, JoJo the Melon Donkey, Kensuke’s Kingdom, Alone on a Wide Wide Sea, The Mozart Question, On Angel Wings, The Best Christmas Present in the World, Running Wild, Born to Run, Listen to the Moon, Such Stuff and Fox and the Ghost King and most recently Flamingo Boy and In the Mouth of the Wolf.  Many of his books have been made into films and plays including Why the Whales Came, The Butterfly Lion and Adolphus Tips. From 2003 to 2005 Michael Morpurgo was Children’s Laureate; in 2005 he was made Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government, in 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to literature and in 2018 he received a Knighthood. In 2007 the National Theatre adapted his book War Horse for the stage. After two years the production moved to the New London Theatre in the West End, where it played until March 2016 and returned to the National Theatre in November 2018. Steven Spielberg’s film of War Horse was released in 2011.


ABOUT THE BARN THEATRE – Enriching lives with professional theatre in historic Cirencester.

The Barn Theatre prides itself on being a “theatre for all.” A place for everyone to share top-class regional theatre and performing arts education.

OUR VISION – We have a vision to be a world-renowned theatre destination, inspiring, challenging and entertaining our audiences. We are a producing house, enriching lives with outstanding theatre, education and culture.

OUR MISSION – We believe that stories told with wit, flair and passion have the power to change lives.

We will work with everyone to establish a respected professional theatre, in the heart of the Cotswolds. The Barn Theatre will be a place where people from all walks of life can come together to participate in top-class regional theatre and performing arts education.

OUR HISTORY – Driven by a deep passion for theatre, Ian Carling and his wife Chrissie have pioneered a bold theatrical legacy for Cirencester. Community and youth theatre have thrived at the venue for over thirty years, but now this site has been taken to a new level. The former 1940s Nissen hut has been transformed into a beautiful, state-of-the-art, air-conditioned auditorium for 200 theatre-lovers. With a studio rehearsal suite, dressing rooms, a green room and an orchestra pit, audiences will experience entertainment that competes with the West End.

Right next door to the theatre, through an archway behind Ingleside House you will find the new, highly acclaimed 60-seat restaurant and piano bar, Téatro. With a car park just across the road, dinner and a show never got easier.

The Barn Theatre Project is a registered charity. We are now working with individuals, businesses, trusts and grant-giving bodies to ensure that the theatre is thriving for years to come.


The Butterfly Lion

Tuesday 2 April – Saturday 4 May 2019

Written by Michael Morpurgo

Adapted by Daniel Buckroyd

Directed by Jessica Daniels

Press Night: Thursday 4 April at 18:30

Performance Times: 14:30 / 19:30

Address: The Barn Theatre, 5 Beeches Road, Cirencester, GL7 1BN

Theatre For All: In conjunction with the launch of the 2019 season, The Barn will also be launching a new ticketing initiative as part of their Theatre For All strategy. This initiative provides an all-inclusive strategy that enables everyone in the community to experience high-quality productions at an affordable price.  #TheatreForAll

General Ticket Prices: From £8-£32

Concessions: Available to children under 16, over 65, and members of the Uniformed Public Services.

Season Tickets: From £32-£128

20% off the general ticket pricing, offering audiences five shows for the price of four

Family Tickets: From £24-£96 (4 tickets – 2 adults x 2 children)

Group Tickets: From £10-£12

Save up to 33% on the standard ticket price – tickets only available for Rows Q-S

School Groups: School bookings for performances are available by contacting the Box Office.

Cashback: Available predominantly for charities, or any groups and organisations looking to raise much needed funds. Individuals buy tickets at face value and the Barn Theatre agrees to make a 20% donation of the total purchase back to the charity or group that have visited the theatre under the scheme.

Box Office (Phone): 01285 648 255 (10am-5.30pm, Mon to Sat)

Box Office (Online):

Téatro Bar & Restaurant: Téatro is open from 5.30pm to late, Wed – Sat

Book A Table: 01285 648 238 or


Twitter: @thebarntheatre

Facebook: @thebarntheatrecirencester

Instagram: @thebarntheatrecirencester


Henry V

Wednesday 22 May – Saturday 22 June 2019

Written by William Shakespeare

Press Night: Friday 24 May at 18:30

Performance Times: 14:30 / 19:30


The 39 Steps

Wednesday 10 July – Saturday 10 August 2019

Written by John Buchan

Adapted by Patrick Barlow

Press Night: Friday 12 July at 18:30

Performance Times: 14:30 / 19:30


Daddy Long Legs – The Musical

Wednesday 2 October – Saturday 2 November 2019

Book by John Caird

Music & Lyrics by Paul Gordon

Directed by Kirstie Davies

Press Night: Friday 4 October at 18:30

Performance Times: 14:30 / 19:30


A Christmas Carol

Wednesday 27 November – Saturday 4 January 2020

Written by Charles Dickens

Adapted by Alan Pollock

Directed by Iwan Lewis

Press Night: Friday 29 November at 18:30

Performance Times: 10.30/13.00/14.30/17.30/

(See full Christmas schedule for variety of performance times)