The Castle Players

The Castle Players of Bernard Castle is a leading theatre company in Teesdale. The theatre company produces exciting open-air performances each summer featuring the verses and words of William Shakespeare. In winter months, the company tours the region with a variety of Shakespeare and non-Shakespeare works. The company's most recent summer performance will be A Midsummer Night's Dream in 2013.

About The Castle Players

The Castle Players is a community drama group based in Bernard Castle, County Durham. Established informally in the late 1980s, the group has become a leading non-professional theatre group in Teesdale and the North of England. Past performances by The Castle Players have included Shakespeare's As You Like It, Measure for Measure, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Taming of the Shrew. The company has also produced Shakespeare-inspired theatre, such as Shakespeare: The Cabaret in 2005. In addition to full theatrical productions, the theatre company performs dramatic readings, puppetry, physical theatre and productions based on classic novels.


The Castle Players was formed in 1986 in Barnard Castle. The company's first performance, a production of The New Broom, took place a year later at the Old Well pub. Since 1989, the theatre company has produced outdoor performances every summer at Bowes Museum close to the picturesque town centre. The Castle Players also produce winter shows in County Durham and throughout the region. Recent performances have included productions of A Christmas Carol and Dracula Re-Vamped!

Venue Information

Every summer, the Castle Players theatre company performs at a temporary venue on the grounds of the Bowes Museum in the town of Barnard Castle. Performances are held each July. The museum features a large art collection, including paintings, decorative art, textiles and tapestries, ceramics and other art work. Built in the French chateau style, the Bowes Museum includes stunning formal gardens and parkland.

The open-air theatre on the grounds of the museum feature tiered seating for 600 spectators and an addition 80 ground mat places. As a public park, theatregoers may enjoy a picnic during the 45-minute interval or before and after performances. In addition to a dedicated tent for spectators to safely leave their hampers, the venue also features a professional caterer and wine stall for refreshments and snacks.

During winter months, The Castle Players tour Teesdale and the surrounding region. Winter productions are performed in a variety of venues in mainly intimate settings, including village halls, community centres and pubs.


The Bowes Museum is situated in close to the centre of the market town. Bernard Castle is located off the A66, approximately a 20-minute drive from Scotch Corner and the A1 motorway. Free on-site parking is available at the museum. Regular bus service is also possible between Bernard Castle and neighbouring communities, including Darlington, Bishop Auckland and Richmond. A bus stop is located just outside the Bowes Museum gate on Newgate, just east of the town centre.

Contact Information

For additional information about The Castle Players and current performances, contact the theatre company at or visit

To contact the theatre company by post, the mailing address is:
The Castle Players
Romney Cottage, Cotherstone
Barnard Castle
County Durham
DL12 9PG