Barney Norris on his new community touring show The Band Back Together

posted Thu 08 February 2024

News Story

Farnham Maltings is proud to announce the production of a new play from Barney Norris, one of Britain’s most celebrated dramatists. The production will tour to community audiences across the U.K. across spring, and tells the story of a group of friends reuniting later in life to reform a band they started in their youth.

The Band Back Together marks an exciting new chapter in Farnham Maltings’ long history as a producer of contemporary theatre, having created and toured original productions to communities across the U.K. for over two decades. Farnham Maltings’ past productions include The Syrian Baker, which won Best Play at the Writers’ Guild Awards 2022, the acclaimed Jess and Joe Forever, which transferred to the Orange Tree Theatre, and Mountain Music, co-produced with the Olivier Award-winning company Little Bulb.

About The Band Back Together

A new play remembering teenage dreams, rock n’ roll and returning home…

Joe, Ross and Ellie used to be in a band. They were pretty good too, making waves in a rugged patchwork of pubs and clubs. They even had a song on Radio 2. But that was all a decade ago and the songs, the stories, the secrets are long since buried. Until now.

Drawn back together for one night only to play a benefit gig in their hometown, three former bandmates find a community reeling from a poisoning and a pandemic. Will the old songs still work their magic? And just how far has time thrown these friends from their younger selves? As showtime draws nearer, the friends come face to face with the memories of their youth. Feeling lost in the community they once called home, they must confront the past in order to make sense of the future.

Farnham Maltings’ Chief Executive Officer Peter Glanville said: ‘We are delighted to be premiering this exciting new work which has been commissioned to tour to community audiences across the U.K. Barney’s writing speaks to many of the most important issues of our day, whilst making for a thoroughly entertaining night of theatre. I am pleased that this production continues Farnham Maltings’ important work reaching into the heart of communities.’

About Barney Norris

Barney Norris is a playwright and novelist from Salisbury. He is the founder of touring theatre company Up in Arms and author of multiple critically-acclaimed works, including Visitors (Arcola / The Watermill), Nightfall (Bridge Theatre) and the bestselling novel Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain.

Of The Band Back Together he said: ‘This is actually my first play in six years. During that period I’ve done some autobiographical shows and some adaptations, but it’s been a while since I’ve made anything up. I’ve written a new play because I found I had something I really wanted to share: the feeling of coming to the end of youth, of adult life now being a longer period that childhood, a moment which has arrived for my generation.

To me, this has been mind-blowing, humbling and beautiful, and I wanted to check in with others through the collective magic of live theatre, and find out whether they felt the same.

I also think I’ve been able to write a new play because the right producer came forwards and supported me. I’d worked with Farnham Maltings before, so I jumped at the chance to do another play for them. This is where theatre’s alive and exciting right now: in organisations that live their values, that go out and meet audiences on their terms. May every artist find a producer as innovative, passionate and adventurous as I have with this story! It’s an amazing feeling.’

Previews of The Band Back Together take place at Farnham Maltings on Fri 08 & Sat 09 March before touring across southern England & Wales throughout March and April.