Salisbury duo bring Salisbury Plain to centre stage

Salisbury duo bring Salisbury Plain to centre stage
By Will Bradley

Echo’s End, set on Salisbury Plain in 1915 and written by local playwright Barney Norris, runs in Salisbury Playhouse main theatre from March 29 to April 15.

Barney and director Alice Hamilton grew up in Salisbury and met through Salisbury Playhouse’s Stage 65 Youth Theatre. They formed their own theatre company whilst studying at Oxford University.

“I grew up in Wiltshire, and Salisbury is home to me. But, 15 years ago, Alice and I worked together in Youth Theatre and now we are back on the main stage. It’s a great sense of achievement,” Barney Norris, playwright, told Valley News.

“I started my career at Salisbury Playhouse – with its youth theatre, as an extra in shows and behind the bar,” Barney explained.

Echo’s End is a story about two Wiltshire families in a village community, and the seismic changes which altered their lives and the identity of their county forever.

“Echo’s End is about what happens to a community in the First World War, set in Salisbury Plain, during the industrialisation process. It represents the start of the world we live in now. So much of our culture is dominated by the First World War,” Barney said.

“Echo’s End is a story about what happened to Wiltshire in the First World War, and a moment in history when working people were finally finding a voice,” he continued.

Barney regularly tours Wiltshire to work with local theatre groups.

“I root my work in Wiltshire and its lives and concerns, which are so rarely represented on stage.”
Echo’s End will be in the Salisbury Playhouse after the conclusion of popular Playhouse original drama Worst Wedding Ever.

“Salisbury Playhouse will show back-to-back original drama in the Main House. It’s great to have a blend of performances in the programme with the commission of new and risky performances,” Barney stated.

The performance of Echo’s End on April 5 is a ‘Pay What You Can’ night at the Playhouse. Anyone is welcome to attend and pay whatever they can – however much they can afford will be the price of the ticket.

“’Pay What You Can’ is a new trend that shows theatres don’t have to cost money. It’s very exciting. If the model works it would be fantastic if it could be rolled out across the country at theatres nationwide. The success of ‘Pay What You Can’ nights proves there is a real social appetite for people wanting to go to the theatre,” Barney added.

Barney’s second novel will be published in January 2018, following wide acclaim for his debut novel which became a Guardian, Daily Mail and Evening Standard Book of the Year.

For tickets or information contact the Ticket Office on 01722 320333 or visit

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