The Barn Theatre,
25 Bluehouse Lane, Oxted, Surrey
RH8 0AA.

Tel: 01959 561811
Email: barntheatre


DRIP (Dressing Room Improvement Project)

Barn 2000

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Barn100 - £320,000 needed

Barn100 Announced

Since 1924, when the Barn Theatre first opened to the public, the toilet facilities at the front of house have remained unaltered except for a minor reconfiguration and replacement fittings and decorations some 28 years ago and are small and cramped and generally unsatisfactory, particularly when we have a large show audience, which is very frequently these days.

So, after almost 96 years, the Trustees were planning to address this issue in 2021 and upgrade the facilities. However, during the last year or so, the Trustees have moved further on and the proposal is now to redesign the whole entrance and front of house area to include extending out towards Bluehouse Lane to make room for newly built toilets which will double the present capacity, create a new wheelchair friendly toilet and extend the bar store to house a greater capacity of stock. The immediate entrance lobby will have an open ceiling, lit by a feature window in the apex of the new roof and provide more room for audience to wait for friends etc. The aim is to complete all the works in time for our Centenary in May 2024, hence the project title.

The total cost of these alterations and additions is estimated at close to £325,000 which is a far great amount than we thought when discussing simply upgrading the toilets. It is proposed that the works are staged as we did so successfully for the Barn 2000 extension and the DRIP Project. Phase One would be to get the new toilet blocks in position and weathertight, Phase Two would see these toilets fitted out and brought into action and Phase Three would be the final alterations to the existing toilets and bar store and redecoration and replanning of the counters to the foyer area.

We hope to start construction as soon as we can but this will be dependent on whether we have raised sufficient monies to complete Phase One by that time. Fundraising will be ongoing from now and throughout the works and we would ask for your support in helping to ensure that this project is able to proceed in a timely manner

If you can help in any way please contact
Bruce Reed,
Oxted and Limpsfield Barn Theatre Ltd, 15a High Street, Westerham, Kent.
Telephone 01959 561811 or

DRIP (Dressing Room Improvement Project) - £272,052 raised

DRIP Announced

Since 1924, when the Barn first opened to the public, the toilet facilities at the back, in the dressing room areas, have remained unaltered except for new fittings and decorations. No segregation, only two WC's and those accessed directly from the dressing rooms, a generally unsatisfactory situation particularly when we have a large show cast. So, after almost 90 years the trustees are planning to address this issue and provide newly built facilities adjacent to the stage door. However during the last year or so the sub committee appointed by the trustees has moved further on and the proposal is now to redesign the whole backstage area to make each dressing room independent with a through passage to the stage wings either side.

The total cost of these alterations and additions is estimated at close to £250,000 which is a far greater amount than we thought when discussing simply adding a new toilet block. It is proposed that the works are staged as we did so successfully for the Barn 2000 extension. Phase One would be to get the new toilet block in position, Phase Two would see those toilets fitted out and brought into action and Phase Three would be the final alterations to the existing dressing rooms and provision of air conditioning to those new areas we will have created. We would hope to start construction during the Summer of 2015 but this will be dependent on whether we have raised sufficient monies to complete phase one by that time. Fundraising will be ongoing from now and throughout the works and I would ask for your support in helping to ensure that this project is able to proceed in a timely manner. Final plans approved by the Barn are with Tandridge District Council for grant of planning consent at the time of going to press and hopefully, by the Parade performances that consent will have been obtained.

DRIP Timeline

June 2011 - DRIP launched at theatre AGM
May 2013 - Final plans approved by Trustees
August 2013 - The Barnstormers, supported by the Trustees, take Parade (which wins the prestigious Minack Award) to the Minack
December 2013 - DRIP fund, which already stood at just over
£18,000, boosted by £18,603 at Sunday Club made up by:
Barnstormers (Parade)   £7,000
Elvis and Starmakerz   
Kenley Holiday Workshop   
Let Us Entertain You
Musical Memories  
£2,325 (with £2,325 going to Help for Heroes)
Oxted Operatic Society
Oxted Pram Race   £350

May 2014 - DRIP fund boosted by £5,000 from The Oxted Players
November 2014 - DRIP fund stands at almost £80,000 which includes £2,600 from bucket collections
February 2014 - DRIP on target for Phase One to start in September 2015. Bucket collections now stand at £4,688
February 2015 - FOBs donate £10,000
to DRIP fund at their AGM
July 2015 - DRIP Phase One (building of new toilet block) goes out to tender. Trident Building Consultancy Ltd have been appointed as Project Managers
November 2015 - Prices due in on November 6th
February 2016 - SM Atkins of Godstone appointed as builders with works planned to start in April
August 2016 - Phase One completed on budget and on schedule. Phase Two (fitting out and commissioning of toilet block) started
November 2016 -
Walls plastered, entrance lobby and corridor decorated and lighting functioning
February 2017 - FOBs donate £8,500
to DRIP fund at their AGM
July 2017 - DRIP fund boosted by £5,000 from The Oxted Players
Sunday 1st October 2017 - June Brown, recently retired Theatre Trustee and President of The Oxted Players opened the new toilet block with the 'First Flush'
November 2017 - £404 collected in the buckets at a single performance of A-Z of Musical Theatre
December 2017 - £850 collected in the buckets over two performances (matinee £340, evening £510) of Holly Jolly Barn Christmas
January 2018 - Phase Three (final alterations, refit of kitchen and air-conditioning) commences due to a cancellation in the theatre's busy schedule
November 2018 - DRIP, providing the theatre with four spacious and independent air-conditioned dressing rooms, new toilets, a new kitchen and other facilities completed. Bucket collections contributed £35,500

BarnCool - £88,000 raised

BarnCool Announced

For a number of years now the theatre has been very busy through the summer months, something you will be surprised to hear is a fairly recent phenomenon. In years past the theatre was closed all summer as there was no call for space and instead the time was used for completion of maintenance work, at a leisurely pace!

Since completion of Barn 2000 the trustees have been considering the next major project for the theatre and with the continuing popularity of the summer youth productions and outstanding summer weather of recent years, air conditioning has been high on the list of priorities.

Finally the decision has been taken to formally announce that “air conditioning to the auditorium“ will be the next major project to be undertaken.

The trustees will be consulting with specialist engineers to ascertain the most cost effective means of providing a system that can be installed into the auditorium without destroying the aesthetics, which we all value so very much.

Whilst we have some reserves of cash we will need to start fundraising if we are to achieve our aim in a reasonable time and we should like to think that a system could be up and running for summer 2008. The events here at the theatre later this year, ‘This is My Song’, ‘ABBA UK’ and ‘Christmas Cracker’ will all be dedicated to this appeal to be known as ‘BarnCool’ and hopefully with the support of all our users we will soon be able to firm up our proposals.

From the information we already have we are expecting to need to raise an additional £50,000 minimum but after Barn 2000 that’s chicken feed!!!!!!

'BarnCool" Fundraising Begins with Kenley Holiday Workshop

Such is the enthusiasm for our 'BarnCool' project that no sooner than it had been announced Sally Dallosso from Kenley Holiday workshop was on the phone offering to hold a special raffle and to restart the infamous bucket collections that did so well for Barn 2000. As a result of Sally's enthusiasm £518.20 was raised during KHW's production of Seussical the Musical which was a fantastic start to our fundraising programme.

Whilst the design and budget for the new installation are still being finalised we are pleased to hear that the Oxted Players also dusted off the buckets for their production of Party Piece and hopefully the trend will continue with shows during the foreseeable future. We do hope you will feel able to support us again with contributions to the buckets which raised over £27,000 for Barn 2000.

BarnCool Total Continues to Grow

Earlier this week Bruce was delighted to receive, with grateful thanks, a cheque from Chris Bassett, Chairman of Oxted Operatic for £1000 towards the BarnCool project. This donation was a result of auction of promises held on the occasion of the societies 60th birthday and profit on a very enjoyable and successful quiz night held in the Barn recently. The fund continues to grow and we are waiting to see what this weekend (just gone now!) brings, as we are promised a cheque from Barnstormers following their tour to the Minack Theatre in Cornwall earlier in the Summer with that tremendous show, Scarlet Pimpernel. I believe the amount of the cheque is announced elsewhere in this paper but the total was a well guarded secret until day of publication. Nevertheless a big thank you to Richard and the Barnstormers for a great show both here at Oxted and in Cornwall

BarnCool Target Achieved in Less than 18 Months

Less than 18 months after launching the appeal for funds to install air conditioning to the main theatre auditorium we are delighted to announce that the appeal target has been reached and the generosity of our supporters and patrons means that we have an additional amount that will allow for us to incorporate other small additions to the proposals.

Apart from those little red buckets, which, once again have excelled and raised the amazing amount of £8000 the FOBs, have given donations totalling £10,000 and there have been other substantial personal donations which have ensured the success of this project.

Contractors have been appointed and the theatre will officially close from 1st June through to the 6th July for the works to be completed. This is a very tight programme for the installation but we are confident that the system will be in operation for the charity concert, Gotta Sing, Gotta Dance 3 which opens on the 10th July.

The works will be concentrated in the loft area over the auditorium and when the ceiling is opened for the air distribution grilles to put in place there will be much dust, that horrible dust only found in old lofts and which penetrates everywhere. We already have seat covers but do not want these to be ruined so if you have any old cotton bed sheets or clean dustsheets which you are able to donate please do bring them down to theatre next time you come and they will be used over our existing covers. We need them for early on Sunday 1st June please.

Apart from protecting the seats, all the stage lights have to be removed from the stage and auditorium, stage curtains and fittings are to be taken down and the building generally left suitable for the works to proceed from the following day when contractors arrive on site.

Following the major part of the works and prior to final commissioning the auditorium has to be thoroughly cleaned, redressed with lights and curtains etc ready for the reopening

Bruce's Blog!

After 2 years of planning and 18 months of fundraising, Sunday June 1st was the day the theatre closed for a month and preparations started for the arrival of the builders and engineers during the following week. Apart from installing air conditioning to the foyer and auditorium, we were scheduled to complete many other works of improvement and maintenance whilst we had the opportunity of an empty theatre, so there was much to do. The trustees with others set to and by the time Sunday Club that day started, the theatre was ready for works to commence.

On Monday 2nd June I was at the theatre to open up and get the kettle on at 7 a.m. ready to welcome the various and diverse teams of subcontractors due during that morning. Frank Boonham followed me in, as he too had specialist theatre electrical engineers coming to complete various works and alterations. By 9 a.m. the builders were starting work in the foyer and clearing the loft of years of dust and rubbish, scaffolders were busily erecting the main access scaffold to the rear gable, air-conditioning engineers were modifying the existing equipment in the bar area and the stage electricians were busy cleaning and PAT testing all our stage lights that had been removed on the previous Sunday morning. The noisy fan heaters in the auditorium were being removed for the replacement high efficiency radiators and Lofty our electrician was preparing for the hundreds of meters of cabling that needed to be installed for the new AC units in the loft and at the rear of the kitchen externally. All this, whilst we were also trying to redirect the nursery school mothers who couldn't park as normal due to lorries on site and Oxted School parents who still considered it a right to use our car park for dropping off their children!

By the end of the first day we were flying - everything was falling into place and any initial problems or queries were resolved immediately. The contractors had all been appointed as known entities and many had worked closely together on other projects for me so I knew the team and was delighted we were together again.

Tuesday was another good day and by the end of that first week both Frank and I were amazed at the progress that had been made by all the team. There was no stopping us now, the back was broken and we knew even at this early stage that we would have no problems with getting the theatre open again for business by the date we had forecast.

The end result was that we commissioned the new air conditioning four days earlier than planned and after a hectic few days and a weekend cleaning, dusting and reassembling, left the theatre ready for business as from 30th June as promised. At The Oxted Players AGM on the following Wednesday, I suspect people were wondering what we had been up to for the last month!

My personal thanks to Frank Boonham, who, whilst convinced that I am crazy at times, always give his full support and professional input to all our theatre projects. To the trustees and FOBs for their help and support and to those others who turned up to help with stripping and reassembling the theatre before and after the works. I must also congratulate and thank all the contractors, who without exception, worked extremely hard to provide a discreet and successful installation that I hope will serve our patrons well.

None of this would have been possible without your help fundraising, so a big thank you to you all too.

Barn 2000 - £250,000 raised

Money was raised to improve the theatre by:
Providing covered access to the gallery
Disabled toilet facilities
A Green Room with more bar space!

A new dressing/band room

Barn 2000 Lottery

Click here to see a slideshow of the works.

This is how the theatre used to look

This is what it looks like now work has commenced

Barn 2000

The appeal known as Barn 2000, A Vision for the Millennium, is the largest project undertaken by the trustees of the charity since the theatre opened in 1924.

An ambitious scheme of radical improvements, the main object of the proposals is to extend the theatre on the West side to provide a large new green room and bar together with an internal staircase to the gallery. Additionally the theatre will also be providing toilet facilities for the disabled adjacent to the foyer, creating extra full height wing space on stage with an external loading facility and a further dressing room. Wheelchair access to the stage from the dressing rooms has been incorporated in the new plans and modifications within the ground floor of the auditorium are also planned. These further improvements will sustain the policy of equal opportunities for patrons, actors, musicians, technicians and indeed all that choose to cross the threshold of this very special venue.

To supplement continuing fund raising and increase the profile of the theatre, all the residents of Oxted and Limpsfield have received an appeal brochure setting out details of the proposals. The response to date has been overwhelming and the current total of partnership funding from this and other fund raising activities is now over £196,000 and rising steadily. A magnificent sum that would not have been achievable without the support of all our friends and supporters.

The works started on the 14th May 2001, almost 78 years to the day after those to the original building commenced and the archaeological exploration that continued whilst the digger was on site found nothing of particular interest except a broken plate. Excitement built as the archaeologist proclaimed she could date this fragment accurately. On the back of the plate were the date of 1944, the initials GR and the Royal Crest! Obviously a remnant from when the theatre was used as army billets during the war. Otherwise nothing of significance was found.

After a very busy summer last year the works on Phase One, the construction of the weatherproof external shell are complete and a very successful opening was held in December 2002 attended by many friends and patrons of the theatre. Fundraising for Phase Two, a minimum of £80,000, is still continuing and before the fitting out and furnishing works to the interior can be completed we need to raise another £30,000. However the works have started and a glance through the door to the gallery stairs will reveal our progress so far in the Green Room. I am sure you will be impressed. Apart from this the new dressing room backstage is in full use as are the enlarged wings and scenery dock on stage. The preparation works to join the Green Room to the auditorium are well advanced as can be seen from the new brickwork clearly visible in the auditorium.

If you are interested in having a tour of all we have achieved since last December do make a note in your diary to come along to our Christmas Drinks and Nibbles on Sunday 7th December. All are welcome and this is an opportunity to look around in a relaxed fashion whilst meeting old and new friends who love this theatre too.

We are looking to very exciting times at the Barn during the new millennium and if you wish to be part of this by making a contribution to the appeal fund or in any other way please telephone or write to Bruce Reed. Any contribution large or small helps our vision become reality.

Please don’t forget that support for the shows at the Barn is another direct way of contributing to the appeal fund whilst enjoying yourself too and details of forthcoming productions are to be found in the calendar.

Local celebrities Ronnie Corbett, Dame Judi Dench, Richard Stilgoe and Peter Ainsworth MP are patrons of the appeal and Tandridge Council have committed £10,000 to the scheme; a good indication of the support for this delightful theatre and these exciting proposals.


Bruce Reed,
Oxted and Limpsfield Barn Theatre Ltd, 15a High Street, Westerham, Kent.
Telephone 01959 561811 or


The interior of the extension at Christmas 2002

Peter Ramage painting the mural in the new extension in 2003

The new bar almost completed, May 2003