The Stage 100 list announced in early January was especially created to honour inspiring theatre-makers during the pandemic.
For the past 24 years, The Stage has listed the top 100 in order of influence. For 2021, the list was split into different categories, with Iwan and his team being listed under Putting on Shows, a tribute to those showing ingenuity and still putting on theatre despite the doors being closed to the public.
The team at the Barn Theatre acted like superheroes throughout the pandemic hit 2020. Iwan masterminded live streaming shows that featured Tweedy the Clown, a doctors surgery, adventure with explorer Kenton Cool, Shakespeare readings from stars of the stage and screen as well as offering new opportunities for drama school graduates culminating in an outdoor theatre event in the summer; BarnFest, a series of plays, varied each week with shows for children during the day and in the evening for adults.
The final piece was Private Peaceful, based on the modern classic by acclaimed writer and play write- Michael Morpurgo of Warhorse fame, was then taken into the main auditorium under Covid-19 safety measures.
Editor of Business & Innovation Magazine, Nicky Godding, watched the play. She said: “The play was superb – of course. I’ve never not enjoyed a production put on by the Barn Theatre. But on this occasion just as importantly, the huge amount of organisation to help social distancing, the perspex screens put up between audience bubbles, the speedy entrance and exit systems all contributed to a feeling of complete confidence that the Barn Theatre had thought everything through. It was the only live performance I was able to attend in 2020, and I can’t wait for the theatre to open fully again. Hats off to the hardworking Iwan and his incredibly talented team.”
They also teamed up with the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield and the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich to produce a digital version of What a Carve Up! Which went onto be acknowledged as the Critics Pick for the New York Times.
Barn Theatre founders Ian and Chrissie Carling said: “We are extremely proud and humbled that our Artistic Director has been recognised as part of this year’s special version of The Stage 100. This year’s edition recognises those who have gone above and beyond in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is wonderful to see Iwan and the Barn Theatre’s work both on stage, digitally and within our local communities recognised on a national level”.
The Stage 100 list can be viewed online, there were also just 99 entrants; the 100th space being a tribute to all other theatre makers who continue to persevere in theatre and the arts.