'Try and do something with your life. Be deliberate, you know?'
A love song, an elegy, a celebration - Eventide tells the story of three people whose worlds are disappearing. John is a landlord forced to sell up; Liz is a church organist who can't get a gig; Mark takes what work he can just to pay the rent. Their tales unfold round the back of a pub hidden deep in the heart of the Hampshire countryside. But is that heart still beating?
Mehmet Ergen, artistic director of Arcola Theatre, commissioned Barney to write a new play at the press night of 'Visitors', and we leapt at the chance to make a second show for Arcola. Following the success of our previous production, we were excited to consolidate the reputation we had started developing by recreating the conditions which led to 'Visitors', making another play in a similar way, and analysing what it was about this process that was producing shows people liked seeing. Our idea was that if we could develop a sophisticated understanding of what was working well, we would be able to recreate that effect in other environments, other theatres. Barney had worked in a pub in Hampshire to raise money for 'Visitors', and loved the community he met there, so he wrote a play about that world. We received unprecedented support from private funders, the Arts Council and theatre partners, including longer touring engagements and greater financial investment, and the process of making the show became more efficient as a result. We felt the pressure of following up a well received project very keenly, and endured a fair few sleepless nights in the run-up to production, but that was exactly why we had been so delighted to make a second Arcola play. In an environment where we knew the audience and the team and the way the building worked, we were able to overcome that pressure by getting another show open. The success of 'Eventide' was therefore hugely significant: we proved to ourselves that 'Visitors' hadn't just been an accident. That lesson learned, we felt able to start looking further afield for possible production ideas, to imagine new risks.
Nominated for FIVE Offwestend Awards: Best New Play, Best Director, Best Design, Best Actor, Best Actress
‘Unfolds at a perfect pace. The acting is so good it almost doesn’t register as acting’ (The Times)
'Alice Hamilton's excellent production is like a minor-key Jerusalem. A play that captures all the still, sad music of humanity.' (Guardian)
'Barney Norris is a rare and precious talent, a writer-chronicler to be cherished. Hugely recommended.' (Evening Standard)
'All three cast members do impeccable work. Not a gesture is unconsidered. Subtle and layered, a play full of ache.' (The Stage)
'Barney Norris strikes gold again. Like a diligent bartender, Norris has a talent for polishing the ordinary, buffing it up with a damp cloth until it shines and sings.' (Time Out)
'Barney Norris is fast turning into the quiet voice of Britain. This intriguing play could follow VISITORS onto a larger London stage and it richly deserves to do so.' (British Theatre Guide)
Hasan Dixon | Mark
James Doherty | John
Ellie Piercy | Liz
Writer | Barney Norris
Director | Alice Hamilton
Designer | James Perkins
Lighting Designer | Simon Gethin Thomas
Sound Designer | George Dennis
Production Manager | Tammy Rose
Company Stage Manager | Charlie Young
Assistant Stage Manager | Rebecca Denby
Costume Supervisor | Jennie Quirke
Producer | Chloe Courtney