The Watermill Theatre to present a new immersive production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS

Artistic Director Paul Hart, Executive Director Claire Murray and the team at Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre are thrilled to announce details of their epic summer musical; a brand-new production of THE LORD OF THE RINGS, a musical tale based on the classic trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, with book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna and Matthew Warchus and music by A.R. Rahman (Bombay DreamsSlumdog Millionaire), Värttinä and Tony Award winner and Grammy nominated Christopher Nightingale (Matilda the Musical).

With the production set across both the Watermill auditorium and gardens, audiences will be immersed in the magical landscape of Tolkien, joining an ensemble cast and large-scale puppets on an epic journey celebrating the power of friendship and common goodness to conquer unimaginable evil.

The Lord of the Rings will play at the Watermill from Tuesday 25 July until Sunday 15 October 2023.

Tickets will go on sale to Friends of The Watermill on 15 March, to Watermill email subscribers on 21 March (sign up here), and on general sale on 22 March, via  Tickets for the performance on 22 September, Bilbo Baggins’ birthday, will include a celebration in the Watermill gardens before the show.

As the Hobbits celebrate Bilbo Baggins’ eleventy-first birthday, he gifts his nephew Frodo his inheritance – including his most precious belonging – a gold ring. Little does he know that his legacy will confront Frodo with an immense and impossible task; a perilous journey across the darkest realms of Mordor to foil the Dark Lord’s quest for total dominion. 

Paul Hart said,

We are thrilled to be bringing Bag End to Bagnor this summer with one of the most epic stories ever written.  Our production of The Lord of the Rings will take audiences from the lush idyll of the Shire in our gardens to the darkest depths of the Cracks of Doom. You may be wondering how we’re going to fit this huge show in our 200-seat theatre – come and witness the impossible!”

Claire Murray said,

Staging The Lord of the Rings reflects that our ambition hasn’t been diminished by the loss of Arts Council England funding. We’re continuing to invest in the work on our stages, in the talented artists who create this work and in reaching and connecting with audiences locally and nationally. To enable this, we’re continuing to review our business model and we’re pleased to say that we’re able to offer 28% of the tickets for the show for only £25, with priority on sales for Friends and email subscribers.  With a 12-week long run, we can’t wait to welcome more people than ever to our unique and magical site to experience this epic story.”

Fredrica Drotos, Director of Brand and Licensing at Middle-earth Enterprises added;

Middle-earth Enterprises along with Kevin Wallace can’t imagine a more fitting locale for the live staging of the Fellowship’s epic adventures from the Shire to Mordor, and back again, than at the Watermill Theatre, set in the bucolic Berkshire countryside.”

The Lord of the Rings will be directed by Paul Hart with design by Simon Kenny.

The Watermill is a 200-seat regional powerhouse, with an unparalleled reputation for producing bold, world-class theatre with local and national reach from its home in West Berkshire. It also has an extensive programme of community outreach, and schools touring work, and a firm commitment to diversity, education, and talent development.


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