Footsbarn Travelling Theatre is one of the world’s leading touring theatre companies performing, for the most part, in its circus big top throughout the world. Footsbarn Travelling Theatre was born out of a dream to create a form of theatre that was popular, generous and accessible to all. To take theatre out of the limits of traditional performance environments, and bring it to a local population, by visiting farms, beaches, streets and village squares, with their unique brand of innovative and vibrant productions.
Footsbarn Travelling Theatre began life in Cornwall, UK in 1971, when a group of young performers began rehearsing in the barn of Trewen, a farmhouse near the village of Trewidland.
One of the founder members was Oliver Foot, and it was his family’s barn that was used, hence the company adopted the name Foot’s barn, after which, they quickly became known as Footsbarn and the name has stayed with them ever since.
In their early years, Footsbarn travelled to remote areas of Cornwall and the UK on the back of trucks, performing in village squares to whoever wanted to watch, and passing a hat round afterwards.
The first performances took place in local halls, prisons, car parks and on the beach. They featured Cornish legends and giant puppets bearing Cornish names. Oliver would wear a top hat, and, through a megaphone call out an invitation throughout the town to come and witness the only giraffe that swims. Soon other young performers joined them and Footsbarn’s reputation began to grow as a groundbreaking, innovative and entirely original, new style of Theatre.
In 1984, the company left Britain to take its pioneering style to international audiences, they bought a tent and became a bonafide itinerant Theatre Company, constantly on the move, whilst their reputation for rich, immersive, and eclectic theatre grew and grew.
They remained without a base until 1991, travelling as far afield as India, Africa, Australia and South America.
The troupe eventually landed in central France, where a farm was purchased, La Chaussée and still remains the Footsbarn’s base, providing a home over the last 25 years for the company and their two big tents, vehicles and caravans, as well as a fully equipped production centre complete with workshops, rehearsal space, office and studios.
From La Chaussee, Footsbarn stages regular workshops taught both by actors from the company, as well as other theatre professionals. They also provide residencies, performances, music concerts and community events, as well as rehearsing and producing their own shows.
Footsbarn also holds its annual festival, Footsbarn en Fete, every summer at La Chausee, inviting other companies, musicians and performers to showcase their work.