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

Tel: 01959 561811
Email: barntheatre


Barn 2000 Patrons

Peter Ainsworth MP
Ronnie Corbett
Dame Judy Dench
Richard Stilgoe


Theatre Info


Around the Barn



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Peter Ainsworth MP - patron of Barn 2000 and Member of Parliament for East Surrey

Peter was born in 1956. He was educated at Ludgrove, Wokingham; Bradfield College, Berkshire, and Lincoln College, Oxford (MA English Literature and Language). He is married to Claire, and they have two daughters and a son.

Peter's Experience On leaving University in 1979, Peter became research assistant to Sir Jack Stewart-Clark, MEP for Sussex East, for whom he principally undertook constituency and research projects

In 1981 he joined stockbrokers Laing & Cruickshank, S G Warburg Securities in 1985 where he became a director of Corporate Finance in 1989.

Having been active in Conservative politics for a number of years, Peter joined the Bow Group in 1983, serving as an elected member of its governing council in 1984/85 and 1985/86. From 1986 to 1992, he was a councillor in the London Borough of Wandsworth, serving as Chairman of the Conservative Group 1990-1992.

He has been Member of Parliament for East Surrey since April 1992. He was a member of the Select Committee on the Environment 1993-4; has been a member of the Public Service Committee and was Joint Secretary of the All Party Conservation Group. From August 1995 to July 1996 he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Rt Hon Virginia Bottomley MP, Secretary of State for National Heritage. In July 1996 he was appointed an Assistant Government Whip. He was appointed Deputy Chief Whip in June 1997.

In June 1998, he was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. From September 2001 to June 2002, he was Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.

Ronnie Corbett - patron of Barn 2000

Short of stature and, during the 1970s, sporting thick-lensed glasses, British funnyman Ronnie Corbet spent 16 years as half of one of his country's most popular comic acts, the Two Ronnies. He has also had success on his own, as a comedian, a television personality, and an actor.

Corbett was discovered as a young man by interviewer David Frost in the 1960s. Recognizing him for a talented comic, Frost booked Corbett on his television show many times.

Corbett teamed with the much larger Ronnie Barker in the early '70s, and their television variety show debuted in 1971. The two could not be described as a comedy team in the normal sense, rather than working as a complementary pair of opposites like Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy, the two were total opposites and often worked independently; somehow, their unlikely combination worked and their show ran through 1986. During the run of their hour-long show, several videotape retrospectives were released. The Two Ronnies continue to perform together, but Corbett has also successfully worked on his own on television, stage, and in feature films. He made his movie debut with a small role (opposite fellow neophyte Anthony Newly) in the comedy Top of the Form (1953). Corbett next appeared in Casino Royale (1967). Corbett's other film credits include Fierce Creatures (1997). ~ Sandra Brennan, All Movie Guide.

As can be seen from the photograph below, Ronnie Corbett supported the Barn 2000 project by initiating the building of the extension. He has also been heard encouraging patrons to give generously to the bucket collection at the end of each performance.


Dame Judy Dench - patron of Barn 2000

Awarded the Order of the British Empire in 1970 and made Dame of the British Empire in 1988, Dame Judi Dench is one of England's most esteemed actresses. Born Judith Olivia Dench, on December 9, 1934, in York, England, she attended Mount School, studied at the Central School of Speaking and Dramatic Art, and made her 1957 stage debut as Ophelia in the Old Vic's Liverpool production of Hamlet. Three years after joining the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company in 1961, Dench appeared in her first film, The Third Secret.

Known for her commanding stage and screen presence, as well as her versatility, Dench excels at both drama and comedy. She has starred in a wide variety of film and theater roles, including Sally Bowles in the 1967 London production of Cabaret, Titania in the RSC's 1968 television production of A Midsummer Night's Dream (her introduction to American audiences), Miss Lavish in A Room with a View (1985), Mistress Quickly in Kenneth Branagh's Henry V (1989), Queen Victoria in Mrs. Brown (1997) for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination, Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998) for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and "M" in the most recent James Bond films -- Goldeneye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and The World Is Not Enough (1999), all starring Pierce Brosnan.

Not surprisingly, Dench is a multiple award-winner for her movie, TV and theater portrayals. She is a five-time BAFTA winner, including Best Actress in a Comedy Series for A Fine Romance (1981) and Best Supporting Actress in A Handful of Dust (1988) and A Room with a View (1986). She has also won an ACE award for her performance in the television series "Mr. and Mrs. Edgehill" and a Best Actress in a Dramatic Picture Golden Globe for Mrs. Brown (1997).

In 1999, Dench won an Oscar for her brief but memorable portrayal of Queen Elizabeth in Best Picture winner Shakespeare in Love. She brought her considerable gifts to the small screen in 2000, with her Golden Globe-winning performance in the cable television movie The Last of the Blonde Bombshells. Her supporting role in the acclaimed Chocolat (2000), starring Juliette Binoche and directed by Lasse Hallstrom, earned Dench another Academy Award nomination.

In late 2001, Dench turned in two more acclaimed performances: a supporting turn in Hallstrom's The Shipping News, opposite Kevin Spacey, and the title role in Iris, a sensitive biopic of the late philosopher and novelist Iris Murdoch, who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. For the latter role, Dench earned characteristically rave reviews and collected yet another Golden Globe nomination, for Best Actress in a Drama.

In 1971, Dench married Michael Williams, another respected British actor whom she met while both were performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. With him she has one daughter, Tara Cressida Frances Williams (nicknamed "Finty"). Recently, Dench and Williams appeared together in the 1999 film Tea with Mussolini, costarring Cher, Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith, and Lily Tomlin. Michael Williams died of lung cancer on January 11, 2001.

© 2002 A&E Television Networks. All rights reserved.


Richard Stilgoe - patron of Barn 2000

Richard Stilgoe lives in Surrey (where he was born) and has five children and two grandchildren. He writes songs, runs the Orpheus Trust and is involved in many music education projects – most recently the Stilgoe Saturday Concerts at the Royal Festival Hall and the National Foundation for Youth Music.

He was brought up in Liverpool, and progressed through St. Agnes Church Choir and the Cavern Club to the Cambridge Footlights. Several spells singing his songs in pubs and clubs led to appearances on the Today programme in the 1960's, and thence to Nationwide and That's Life, as well as several series of his own.

In the 1980's he was involved in the writing of Cats, Starlight Express and Phantom of the Opera, all of which continue to play all over the world. Cats and Starlight Express were the longest and second-longest running shows in British theatre history. Schools continue to perform his musicals Bodywork and Brilliant the Dinosaur. He has presented the Schools Proms since 1988, and passed his 120th appearance on Countdown.

In 1982, Richard and Peter Skellern both appeared in the Royal Variety Performance.

While standing star-struck in the wings watching Ethel Merman, each of them said, “We really ought to do something together sometime”. Nothing happened until 1984, when the Lord’s Taverners brought them together for what has become an enduring part-time double act. They have toured the United Kingdom many times, and conquered Australia, Hong Kong, Gibraltar, Rome and Stockholm. Last year saw the first of several farewell tours, and an appearance together at the Royal Variety Performance. In 1998, he founded the Orpheus Centre, which provides opportunities for disabled people to take part in the performing arts. Its students now appear all over the country, including the Royal Opera House, the Notting Hill Carnival and the Glastonbury Festival.

He has two Tony nominations, three Monte Carlo Prizes, a Prix Italia, an Honorary Doctorate and an O.B.E. His hobbies are architecture, demolition (he owns and drives a Komatsu P.C.120 digger), cricket, sailing and his family, none of whom told him he was going to be the subject of This is Your Life in June 2001.

October 2002

As can be seen from the photograph below, Richard Stilgoe supported the Barn 2000 project by assisting with the preparation of the site for the extension. He has also been heard encouraging patrons to give generously to the bucket collection at the end of each performance. His musical, Brilliant the Dinosaur was performed by the Robert Bouffler Music Trust at the theatre in 2002.