The Barnyard Theatre’s Story – Where did it all begin?
In 1996 the first Barnyard Theatre was opened by the Möller family on a dairy farm just outside Plettenberg Bay. Louis and Sybel had both been involved in the performing arts most of their lives, Louis as co-founder and producer of, amongst others, Carte Blanche, and Sybel Coetzee as a freelance actress and TV presenter.
In 1989 they took stock of their hectic lives with two young boys and decided that family comes first. As a result they decided to open a dairy farm close to Plettenberg Bay. After a few years of farming they longed for a way to combine their two loves – the footlights and the farm. Then 1996 saw the birth of The Barnyard Theatres. Why Barnyard? Louis had built a beautiful, rustic American-style wooden barn on the farm, which Sybel and Louis converted into a theatre with an old-world atmosphere, heavy wooden beams, a horseshoe gallery, big tables with welcoming lanterns and wood chips on the floor.
In 2003 Louis joined forces with well-known South African musician Duck Chowles and together they formed The Barnyard Theatre Production Company. Having produced, amongst others, the mega-hit Roll Over Beethoven, Louis instinctively knew Duck belonged in the Barnyard stable. Duck Chowles now directs and produces all Barnyard Theatre Productions.
The Barnyard Theatre concept is 20 years old this year.