Royal & Derngate Northampton to present The Wellspring by Barney and David Owen Norris

Royal & Derngate is delighted to produce the World Premiere of The Wellspring as part of its Made in Northampton 2021/22 season. A deeply autobiographical work from award-winning playwright Barney Norris (The Remains of the Day) and his father, internationally acclaimed pianist and broadcaster David Owen Norris, The Wellspring examines that age-old story of a boy and his dad, and how they can relate to one another, in every sense of the word. An intimate performance by the father and son, centre stage on Rosie Elnile’s spare design, The Wellspring is directed by Jude Christian, whose own biographical plays include Nanjing, selected as an international entry for Berlin’s Theatertreffen’s Stückemarkt in 2021. It runs in Northampton from 17 to 26 March 2022, 29 to 30 March in Oxford, 26 to 28 May in Southampton, 30 May to 1 June in Guildford and then touring to literary festivals this summer. 

A rich autobiographical exploration of their relationship, The Wellspring takes us inside the complex and shifting dynamic between this father and son, exploring the people and stories that shape us. Their performances will be accompanied by both folk and classical music performed by David and Barney, creating a scrapbook style collage of the pair’s lives together. 

Barney Norris said:

“The Wellspring is a play about fathers and sons, and a particular father and son who have spent time apart and want to hear each other’s stories. It’s also about how we end up in the lives we end up in, and the wild, precarious adventure of deciding to be an artist – something my Dad and I both did. We want to use the play to fill auditoria with music, and song, and joy, and happy memory; also with loss, with revelation, with the vulnerability of extreme honesty. We want it to feel, effectively, like being in a family.”

David Owen Norris said: 

Music plays as many roles in The Wellspring as it does in all our lives. It triggers memories, shapes our journeys, paints our joy and grief, and brings us laughter, strength and consolation.

The production is designed by Rosie Elnile, with lighting design from Jack Weir and video design from Megan Lucas. The associate designer is Tomas Palmer.

The Wellspring can be seen at Royal & Derngate, Northampton from Thursday 17 March to Saturday 26 March. Tickets priced from £11* can be booked by calling Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at


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