Watermill Theatre announces 2022 season with Whistle Down The Wind revival

Watermill Theatre 2022 season

Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre has revealed its 2022 season from May to Christmas.

Artistic Director Paul Hart, Executive Director Claire Murray and the team have unveiled a raft of new plays, a major musical revival, a Shakespeare classic and a Christmas treat.


The new season will open with the world premiere of Bleak Expectations (27 May – 2 July), a new stage adaptation of the hit BBC Radio 4 comedy written by Mark Evans and directed by Caroline Leslie (Trial by Laughter, The Wiper’s Times), in association with Anthology Theatre Productions and David Wolstencroft.

It is followed by the world premiere of Camp Albion (6 – 16 July, a new play by Watermill Associate Artist Danielle Pearson about environmental activism and the 1996 ‘Battle of Newbury’. The production will be directed by Georgie Staight and designed by Isobel Nicolson, both Watermill Creative Associates. The show will tour to towns and villages across the region from 15 June prior to its run at the Watermill.

Next up will be a revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman’s 1996 rock musical Whistle Down The Wind (22 July – 10 September), Directed by Tom Jackson Greaves (Watermill Associate Artist, The Jungle Book, Amélie, Sweet Charity, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Borrowers, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Frankenstein), Whistle Down The Wind will feature a company of actor musicians alongside a cast of talented local young people.

Whistle Down The Wind

Next up, The Watermill Ensemble will present Shakespeare’s Othello (16 September – 15 October). Directed by Artistic Director Paul Hart and Anjali Mehra (Brief Encounter, As You Like It), The Watermill Ensemble will weave live music into this powerful and bold new adaptation.

A brand-new stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s The Sleeping Sword by Tatty Hennessy will run at The Watermill from 27 October to 5 November, and also tour to local schools from Tuesday 8 November. Directed by Lucy Jane Atkinson and with Amy Bethan Evans as Dramaturg and Visually Impaired Creative Consultant, The Sleeping Sword weaves a contemporary tale of self-discovery with the ancient legend of King Arthur. The show will have creative access at the heart of it, working with a team of sighted and visually impaired artists, and every performance will feature the use of creative captioning and integrated audio description.


The next Watermill Youth Ensemble Production will be A Monster Calls (10 – 12 November). Based on the best-selling novel by Patrick Ness and inspired by an original idea by Siobhan Dowd, devised by Sally Cookson, Adam Peck and the Company, the production will be directed by Angharad Arnott Phillips (Watermill Community Associate).


Finally for the season is The Watermill’s Christmas production Rapunzel (18 November 2022 to 1 January 2023), a reworked version of Annie Siddons’ adaptation, a play with music, that was originally created for Kneehigh in 2006. Watermill Creative Associate Lucy Betts directs.

Alongside the new season of shows, the venue has announced a renewed commitment to access and inclusivity, for both audiences and theatre professionals at the early stages of their theatre-going and theatre-making careers through a series of support programmes and opportunities.

Paul Hart (Artistic Director) and Abigail Pickard Price (Associate Artistic Director) said: “This bumper new season features major revivals and three brilliant new plays.

“We begin with fast-paced comedy from Bleak Expectations, bringing this much-loved radio show to stage for the first time. We’re looking forward to filling the theatre with raucous laughter, before this intimate space becomes the perfect home for our epic summer musical: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Whistle Down the Wind.

“A thrillingly updated version of Othello marks the return of the Watermill Ensemble, a young company of actor musicians who combine Shakespeare’s text with live, contemporary music.

“Resident Playwright, Danielle Pearson’s play Camp Albion brings to life the controversial story of the infamous Newbury bypass, exploring environmental responsibility from a generational perspective and Michael Morpurgo’s Sleeping Sword will be brought to innovative theatrical life incorporating audio description and live captioning into every performance.

“With this, a revival of A Monster Calls and our Christmas show, Annie Siddons’ joyous adaptation of Rapunzel, there is so much for young people and family audiences to enjoy.

“We continue to strive to create ambitious work despite the challenges we and theatres across the UK are experiencing and we remain incredibly grateful to our audiences for the support they are showing to live theatre and to the next generation of theatre makers through our fundraising campaign: Nurture.”

For more information and tickets, visit

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