© Barkway Players 2021
The Barkway Players
2016:  The Village Strikes Back Our highly original show, “The Village Strikes Back” proved to be a great success, with enthusiastic audiences witnessing our three performances.  The show built on the current Star Wars craze - it isn’t every pantomime that features a Darth Vader lookalike.  Could the downtrodden citizens of Barkway defeat the evil sheriff and persuade King John to sign the Magna Carta?  They might need some help from an unexpected source.  Who is the dark stranger living in the woods?  And what can be causing the strange lights and noises?    True to the Barkway Players’ own traditions, the show departed from traditional fairy tale stories and offered something  new - with plenty of laughter, well-known songs, recognisable characters and fun for all the family.  And the show raised £2,450, too! 2015:  Oh, Sherlock!  A whodunnit with a difference! “Oh, Sherlock” featured a famous detective, Barratt Soames, and his trusty sidekick, Dr Watsup. They were concerned with not one, but three cases: cats disappearing from all over London, a naughty nipper nabbing the ladies, and strange goings on at the local Music Hall. Evidently Pa Swine, landlord of the Frog and Giblets pub, was implicated – and he was keeping well clear of Soames, and giving the bumbling Peelers an even wider berth. When Buckingham Palace became involved the stage was set for a right royal caper.  The show featured everything you would hope for in a pantomime: audience participation, a cross-dressing prince and even – surely not – two ladies of ill repute.  Director Ann-Marie Kirkham said: “We wanted to do something this year. The show combined old-time music hall entertainment with Victorian melodrama.  This was the Barkway Players’ 23rd annual pantomime since the group was founded in 1992.  The show raised nearly £2,800 which will go towards the maintenance and development of Barkway Village Hall. 2017: Return to Oz As the Players marked 25 consecutive years of Barkway pantomimes, the 2017 show offered a nod to the very first production in the series, given in 1993.  Return to Oz featured Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion in a new and original adventure narrated by the Good Fairy, Barbara.  With the Wizard away on his travels, who could stop Voldemort and his rather dotty witchy mother dominating Oz and ruling it with a evil rod of iron?  Enter the Munchkin Defence Force - MDF for short - who seemed to bear a certain resemblance to a well-known television comedy about the Home Guard.  As Dorothy and the friends set off on their quest to find the Wiz and bring him back to Oz, they meet some familiar characters including three mermaids, Cinderella’s ugly sisters and three kings - yes, those three kings - and a young man celebrating his 9 and three-quarter-th birthday.  Another fun and happy show to mark this milestone year.  This year the panto raised £2,555 - another excellent fundraising success. 2014:  Red Riding Hood Little Red Riding Hood found herself contending with no less than three Grannies and a host of other tricky characters in the annual Barkway pantomime.  Alongside an evil witch and, of course, the Big Bad Wolf,  the show featured Edna Everage, a school of little witches, the Three Little Pigs, Hansel and Gretel ,and the Famous Five, including Timmy the invisible dog.  How on earth did the Barkway Players weave them into the plot?  You had to be there to find out.  About 350 people were, over three performances, as the annual Panto once again played to full houses and wonderfully receptive audiences.   The pantomime raises money for Barkway Village Hall and was another fund-raising success, raising nearly £2,600.  Huge thanks to all concerned, on or off stage, and to everyone who supported the pantomime in any way. 2013:  The Pied Piper of Barkway "The varmints ‘ave eaten me Brussels!" This cry of frustration followed news that a plague of rats had descended on the innocent citizens of Barkway – to the consternation of the Major and the ladies of the WI, who seemed to run the place.  Farmer Randy was worried about his marrows (not to mention his aunt in Pontefract), and Dolores was concerned about business at her bed and breakfast. The Rat Queen had big ideas, incited by property developer Ivor.  But the handsome young stranger from Royston wasn’t going to allow any of this to distract him from his designs on the Major’s lovely daughter, Lovely.  When Fairy Else appeared and magically summoned superheroes Ratman and Mouseboy, Barkway's fortunes looked to be improving - but that was only the start and, little did the villagers know, the children were in great peril.  Packed houses at Barkway Village Hall soon found out how the story ended, and who became unlikely heroes.  Yes, it was panto time for the twenty-first consecutive year, on the first two days of February.  With the last few tickets being sold on the door on the Friday evening, it was another success for the Barkway Players.  Apart from those in the story, the Players had their own heroes: director Mike Barker, who managed to get everyone to dance, co-producers Jenny Warren and Jacqui Alexander, Marian Murphy, who made the colourful costumes, and Sue Sanders, whose scenery featuring Barkway High Street impressed everyone.  Those many who worked behind the scenes and front of house were heroes too.     And this year a four-piece band (Tom Hatfield, Linda Hatfield, John Holmes and Geoff Biron) provided wonderfully professional accompaniment.   It was a happy and successful show and raised a record-breaking sum of over £2,800 towards the maintenance and upkeep of the Village Hall.  Many thanks, as always, to all who took part and supported the show in any way. Our shows shows 2018: Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty proved to be another well-received show.  Performed in Barkway’s traditional timeslot - the first weekend of February - the show featured all the characters you would expect to meet in the traditional Sleeping Beauty tale, alongside many you probably wouldn’t.    We’ve had great feedback from audiences, some of whom said they hadn’t laughed so much in a long time.  Characters such as Prince the Dog and (dare I say it) three male ballet dancers in string vests will live long in the memory - we hope for the right reasons!  And the show made a profit for the village hall of about £2,670 - an excellent result. 2019:  Ali, Barbara and the Forty Steves The 27th annual pantomime performed by the Barkway Players, Ali, Barbara and the Forty Steves, filled Barkway Village Hall during the second weekend of February.    It was a colourful show full of music and laughter, featuring Barbara the Barber, her son Ali, and Yasmin, the innocent handmaiden of the Sultana – the “current” ruler of the kingdom.  They had to deal with the evil scheming of the Vizier Saleem, his two incompetent sidekicks Amin and Washma, and their camel, Camilla – to say nothing of the accidental involvement of Ranseed the beggar and his Genie.  The Sultana’s harem of forty Steves – so named because the Sultana could not be bothered to remember their individual names – draped themselves around the marble halls in the palace, desperate to escape with the Sultana’s guards and handmaidens to the kingdom of Qatar in time for the World Cup.  The show was well-received by the audience, and was great to be part of.  Financially it was a record-breaker, raising nearly £3,200.  Many thanks to everyone who came to see it, took part or supported it. Original Graphic created by freevector.com and distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence.  Image cropped for use on this website.
2020: Toad in a Hole Full houses at Barkway Village Hall witnessed Ratty, Badger, Mole and Dorothy the Dinosaur fight back against evil developer Bandersnatch, who wanted to build a factory on the riverbank. Poor old Mr Toad managed to get himself into a bit of a mess as the temptation of being the first in the county to own a bright red motor car proved too much for him. Exiled into the Wild Wood, Toad was befriended by Dorothy who offered him the key to her heart - and also to Mole’s mysterious box which proved to contain the solution to all the Riverbank folk’s problems. It was a happy and well-received show, and has raised nearly £3,400 for Barkway Village Hall, as usual - a new record. The proceeds will help pay for the new LED stage lights which were installed in December. The Players also raised some £526 in a retiring collection for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, in memory of a much-loved member of the group who passed away in the autumn.
© Barkway Players 2021

2017: Return to Oz

As the Players marked 25 consecutive years of Barkway pantomimes, the 2017 show offered a nod to the very first production in the series, given in 1993. Return to Oz featured Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion in a new and original adventure narrated by the Good Fairy, Barbara. With the Wizard away on his travels, who could stop Voldemort and his rather dotty witchy mother dominating Oz and ruling it with a evil rod of iron? Enter the Munchkin Defence Force - MDF for short - who seemed to bear a certain resemblance to a well-known television comedy about the Home Guard. As Dorothy and the friends set off on their quest to find the Wiz and bring him back to Oz, they meet some familiar characters including three mermaids, Cinderella’s ugly sisters and three kings - yes, those three kings - and a young man celebrating his 9 and three-quarter-th birthday. Another fun and happy show to mark this milestone year. This year the panto raised £2,555 - another excellent fundraising success.
The Barkway Players 2018: Sleeping Beauty Sleeping Beauty proved to be another well-received show.  Performed in Barkway’s traditional timeslot - the first weekend of February - the show featured all the characters you would expect to meet in the traditional Sleeping Beauty tale, alongside many you probably wouldn’t.    We’ve had great feedback from audiences, some of whom said they hadn’t laughed so much in a long time.  Characters such as Prince the Dog and (dare I say it) three male ballet dancers in string vests will live long in the memory - we hope for the right reasons!  And the show made a profit for the village hall of about £2,670 - an excellent result. Our shows shows
2019:  Ali, Barbara and the Forty Steves The 27th annual pantomime performed by the Barkway Players, Ali, Barbara and the Forty Steves, filled Barkway Village Hall during the second weekend of February.    It was a colourful show full of music and laughter, featuring Barbara the Barber, her son Ali, and Yasmin, the innocent handmaiden of the Sultana – the “current” ruler of the kingdom.  They had to deal with the evil scheming of the Vizier Saleem, his two incompetent sidekicks Amin and Washma, and their camel, Camilla – to say nothing of the accidental involvement of Ranseed the beggar and his Genie.  The Sultana’s harem of forty Steves – so named because the Sultana could not be bothered to remember their individual names – draped themselves around the marble halls in the palace, desperate to escape with the Sultana’s guards and handmaidens to the kingdom of Qatar in time for the World Cup.  The show was well-received by the audience, and was great to be part of.  Financially it was a record-breaker, raising nearly £3,200.  Many thanks to everyone who came to see it, took part or supported it.
2020: Toad in a Hole Full houses at Barkway Village Hall witnessed Ratty, Badger, Mole and Dorothy the Dinosaur fight back against evil developer Bandersnatch, who wanted to build a factory on the riverbank. Poor old Mr Toad managed to get himself into a bit of a mess as the temptation of being the first in the county to own a bright red motor car proved too much for him. Exiled into the Wild Wood, Toad was befriended by Dorothy who offered him the key to her heart - and also to Mole’s mysterious box which proved to contain the solution to all the Riverbank folk’s problems. It was a happy and well-received show, and has raised nearly £3,400 for Barkway Village Hall, as usual - a new record. The proceeds will help pay for the new LED stage lights which were installed in December. The Players also raised some £526 in a retiring collection for the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, in memory of a much- loved member of the group who passed away in the autumn.