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The Watermill Theatre, in association with Kevin Wallace for KWL & Middle-earth Enterprises present


Based upon the books by J.R.R. Tolkien

Book and lyrics by Shaun McKenna
and Matthew Warchus
Music by A.R. Rahman, Värttinä and Christopher Nightingale

Tue 25 Jul 2023 - Sun 15 Oct 2023

One ring to rule them all, One ring to find them, One ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them…


 Venture into the otherworldly depths of Middle-earth with a brand-new intimate production based on the classic trilogy The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien featuring the music of Oscar and BAFTA award-winner A.R. Rahman (Bombay Dreams, Slumdog Millionaire), Värttinä and Tony Award winner and Grammy nominated Christopher Nightingale (Matilda the Musical).



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.


Bursting out of the theatre and into the Watermill gardens, be immersed in the magical landscape of Tolkien and join an ensemble cast and large-scale puppets on an epic journey celebrating the power of friendship and common goodness to conquer unimaginable evil.


Written and produced under license from Middle-earth Enterprises, LLC (MEE).
The Lord of the Rings logo, The Lord of the Rings and the names of characters, events, items and places therein are trademarks or registered trademarks of MEE and are used under license.
All rights reserved. ©2023 Kevin Wallace Limited and Middle-earth Enterprises.

Tickets from £25


Tote bags, pint cups and programmes are available to order for collection or delivery to the UK and Channel Islands.

Click here to be taken to our merchandise page 


Bilbo's Birthday Bash 

22 Sep from 5.30pm

Join us on 22 September for a pre-show party in the Watermill gardens and restaurant to celebrate Bilbo Baggins’ eleventy-first birthday. Welcoming Hobbits and humans alike, tickets to this performance will include a welcome drink, food and plenty of birthday cheer. 

Tickets from £50 
This event is now sold out 

Performance Information

Performance schedule:
Tue - Sat 7.30pm 
Wed & Sat 2pm
Sun 2.30pm 

Running Time: The running time is currently 3 hours and 20 minutes, including an interval. 

This production will predominantly take place in the theatre, but short sections at the beginning and end will be outside in our gardens, where seating is limited. In the case of bad weather, there will be some cover, but we would advise that you come prepared with wet weather clothing and comfortable footwear. If it is unsafe for the cast to perform outside, then the whole show will be performed inside.

Content guidance: This production has themes of darkness and peril and portrays battle scenes and includes haze, smoke, strobe lighting. We recommend it is most suitable for those aged 8+

Due to the nature of the production, we would advise that it is not suitable for babes in arms.


Food and Drink

Join us in our Garden Cafe or Riverside Restaurant for something to eat before or after the show. Whilst booking, you can make a reservation in our Riverside Restaurant for a two-course meal or if you're after a more casual affair, there's no need to book or pre-order for our Garden Cafe. In the case of wet weather, there is plenty of unreserved seating available inside as well as areas of cover outside. Come rain or shine, rest assured you can enjoy the Garden Cafe.

Visit our Food & Drink page for more information. 


BSL Flyer 

Directed by Paul Hart

Design by Simon Kenny

Musical Supervision and Orchestrations by Mark Aspinall

Choreography by Anjali Mehra

Lighting Design by Rory Beaton

Sound Design by Adam Fisher

Projection Design by George Reeve

Associate Directed by Sibylla Archdale Kalid

Puppet Design by Charlie Tymms

Puppetry Direction by Ashleigh Cheadle

Fight Director Dani McCallum

BSL Consultant Bea Webster

BSL Sign Performers Fliss Becker and Lixi Chivas

Audio Described by Lixi Chivas 

Folarin Akinmade


Credits include Perfect Show for Rachel (Barbican); Monotone Man (Lyric Hammersmith) and The Hive (Edinburgh Fringe Festival).

Patrick Bridgman

Understudy Gandalf / Saruman / Bilbo

Credits include Some Like It Hotter (The Watermill Theatre), The Crown (Netflix), Eastenders (BBC), Coronation Street (ITV), Emmerdale (ITV), Brassic (Sky) and Oliver Twist (Hull Truck).

Matthew Bugg


Credits include The Tempest, King Lear, All Quiet On The Western Front, Polygraph, Amadeus, Northanger Abbey, Uncle Vanya.

Reece Causton


Credits for Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures include Dirk in The Carman (The Royal Albert Hall) and Nutcracker and Dr Dross in Nutcracker! (UK Tour). Other credits include Ensemble in Fiddler on the Roof (The Royal Albert Hall) and The Sergeant in Rosie Kay’s Five Soldiers.

Kelly Coughlin


Kelly is making her actor-musician debut in The Lord of the Rings. Television credits include Avenue 5 for HBO/Sky Atlantic, created by Armando Iannucci, and the upcoming ITV Cary Grant biopic series Archie.

Geraint Downing


Theatre credits include A Christmas Carol (The Old Vic). Composer/Actor-Musician credits include Fires Our Shoes Have Made and Jigsaw/A Typical Sister (Pound of Flesh Theatre Company).

Peter Dukes


Watermill credits include Spike (& UK tour), Twelfth Night, Romeo & Juliet, Camelot, Crazy For You. Other credits include Brief Encounter (Kneehigh/Old Vic), A Christmas Carol (Alexandra Palace); The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s); and The Sound of Music (UK Tour).

Amelia Gabriel


Credits include To the Moon and Back: a sensory show for audiences labelled with PMLD (Concrete Youth); The Snowsmith (Half a String/Hertford Theatre); Twelfth Night (The Three Inch Fools UK Tour); The Miraculous Misadventures of Robin Hood (Trinity Theatre); The Marriage of Kim K (Arcola Theatre).

Tom Giles


Credits include Miss Littlewood & Boundless As The Sea (Royal Shakespeare Company); Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear (National Theatre); The Winter’s Tale (National Theatre); Walk in the Light (National Theatre) and The Recruiting Officer (Donmar Warehouse).

Charlotte Grayson


Credits include Ensemble in Whistle Down The Wind (The Watermill), Mrs Cratchit in A Christmas Carol (Dundee Rep) and Ensemble in Songs For A New World (London Palladium).

Nuwan Hugh Perera


Credits include Pi in Life of Pi (Wyndham's Theatre); Amélie (Criterion & UK Tour); A Christmas Carol (The Barn Theatre); Godspell (UK Tour); Side Show (Southwark Playhouse) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Wilton's Music Hall).

Bridget Lappin

Ensemble/Dance Captain

Bridget has danced with Glyndebourne Opera Festival, English National Opera, Peut-Être Theatre, Richard Alston Dance Company, Bern Ballett. Voiceover credits include features on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds, narrating The Maid by Nita Prose.

Elliot Mackenzie


Credits inclue Nick and Righteous Brother in Beautiful - The Carole King Musical (UK Tour); Junkfolker/Swallowfire/MD in The Misadventures of Pinocchio: The Radical Robot Girl; Snake Preacher/Minister/Show Musical Director in Whistle Down the Wind (Watermill Theatre).

Peter Marinker


Credits include Vladimir (Waiting for Godot); Mr. Rooney (All That Fall at BAC); A Piece of Monologue at the Traverse (Edinburgh). Film credits include Flight 93, Love Actually, Event Horizon, Judge Dredd, and The Emerald Forest.

Louis Maskell


Credits include Dick/Benvolio in Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe); Bob Smith/André Fauvel in Flowers for Mrs Harris (Chichester Festival Theatre and Sheffield Crucible) and Grinpayne in The Grinning Man (Trafalgar Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, 2017 UK Theatre Awards nomination for Best Performance in a Musical).

Zara Naeem


Stage credits include Ziba in Woman, Life, Freedom (Ameena Hamid Productions at GDIF) and Rumi: The Musical (London Coliseum & Qatar).

Screen credits include Zainab in Family or Freedom, Sanditon (ITVX), The Winter King (ITVX), Reach.

Aoife O’Dea


Credits include Innocence (Royal Opera House), Annie (Cork Opera House) and Anne Frank (Guildford School of Acting).

John O’Mahony


Credits include Eddy in Fisherman's Friends (UK/Canada Tour), Keith/Chorus in This Restless House (Edinburgh International Festival), Van Helsing in Dracula, Fergal in Intemperance (The New Vic) and Stephano/Gonzalo in The Tempest (Regent's Park).

Yazdan Qafouri


Credits include Othello (The Watermill Theatre); Rumi (London Coliseum); As You Like It (The Watermill Theatre); The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Southwark Playhouse) and The Wicker Husband (The Watermill Theatre).

Sioned Saunders

Galadriel/Onstage MD

Credits include Pauline Mole in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole aged 13 ¾ (Queens Theatre Hornchurch); Gina in Amelie (Criterion Theatre); Camelot (Watermill Theatre); Gina in Amelie (Watermill Theatre). Musical Director credits include 101 Dalmatians (Assistant MD - Regents Park) and Fiddler On The Roof (Curve Theatre).

Aaron Sidwell


Credits include Jack Cade/ Hastings/ The Son in Henry VI: Wars Of The Roses (Royal Shakespeare Company); Jack Cade in Henry VI: Rebellion (Royal Shakespeare Company); Henry V in Henry V (The Barn Theatre, Cirencester); Fiyero in Wicked (UK Tour); Johnny in Green Day’s American Idiot (Arts Theatre, London).

Where is The Watermill located?

The Watermill is located in the village of Bagnor, near Newbury in West Berkshire.

We recommend traveling by car. We are 3 miles from the centre of Newbury, within easy reach of the A34 and M4 (Junction 13). Our postcode is RG20 8AE.


What’s the best way to get there?

Our nearest station is Newbury and there is a taxi rank outside. There are no other public transport links to the theatre.


Is there somewhere to park?

There is free, unreserved onsite parking. Accessible parking bays are located next to the building and are on a first come first served basis. Please display a Blue Badge when parking in these bays.


When does the show begin?
We’re hosting Bilbo’s 111st Birthday party (the start of the show) on our back lawn. Head into the party from half an hour before the show start time to join in with a lawn game or two, find a space, and let the merriment begin!

Will you be selling merchandise?
Yes, you will be able to grab programmes, tote bags, and beautifully crafted wicker rings at the Welcome desk when you arrive in the shire.

What happens if the weather is bad?
This production will predominantly take place inside the theatre, but short sections at the beginning and end will take place outside in our gardens, where seating is limited. In the case of bad weather, there will be some cover, but we would advise that you come prepared with wet weather clothing and comfortable footwear. If it is unsafe for the cast to perform outside, then the whole show will be performed inside.

What if I have specific access needs that I want to discuss?

We offer a range of access performances, as follows:

BSL Interpreted Performances 9 Sep 2pm & 8 Oct 2.30pm 

Closed Captioning Performances 9 Sep 2pm, 15 Sep 7.30pm & 8 Oct 2.30pm

Audio Described Performances 17 Sep 2.30pm & 7 Oct 2pm with a Touch Tour two hours prior to the performance
Audio Described Performances 17 Sep 2.30pm & 7 Oct 2pm with a Touch Tour two hours prior to the performance
Relaxed Performance 1 Oct 2.30pm
Relaxed Performance 1 Oct 2.30pm


If you have any further access requirements that you would like to discuss, please contact the Box Office at boxoffice@watermill.org.uk.

Where do I go when I arrive?

When you arrive, please head over to the Welcome Desk on our front lawn to scan or collect your tickets. They will stamp your hand so you won't need to show your ticket again, but do keep a note of your seat numbers.

The seating outside is unreserved, but there will be some priority seating for audience members who are less able to stand. There is some cover at the back of the garden, but we’d advise you to bring wet weather clothing and wear comfortable shoes just in case.

As Frodo and Sam set off from the Shire, the show will move inside. The welcome desk will have given you a coloured stamp on arrival and this will correlate with the door you enter by to take your seats. Blue and red doors are on the back lawn, black is on the front lawn and green is through the foyer doors (towards the front). Don’t worry, the team will guide you in the right direction, just make sure you have your seat numbers to hand!


Is there food and drink on-site?

Yes, there is a Riverside Restaurant and Bar which offers a two-course seasonal menu. A booking is required for this menu and can be made at watermill.org.uk/restaurant_2023_dinner. In addition, opening specially for audiences of The Lord of the Rings, is out Garden Café on the lawn. In the case of wet weather, there is limited seating inside. There’s no need to pre-book for the Garden Café and you can browse the menu at watermill.org.uk/TheGardenCafe.

In the case of wet weather, there is plenty of unreserved seating available inside as well as areas of cover outside. Come rain or shine, rest assured you can enjoy the Garden Cafe. 

*Please note that all our menus are seasonal and subject to change.


Can I take photos?

You can take photos when outside but once you enter the theatre we kindly ask that you turn your phones off and put them away.  Please be considerate of those around you and do not film long sections of the show.


Can I exchange the date of my ticket?

Yes, with at least 7 days advance notice. This is subject to availability and will incur an admin fee, so we would ask that you do so over the phone please. You can reach the Box Office on 01635 46044.


Can I buy a ticket on the day?

If there is availability, we have a Box Office on site where you can purchase a ticket on the same day as the performance. We would recommend calling ahead (01635 46044) or booking online (https://www.watermill.org.uk/the-lord-of-the-rings) where possible to guarantee a seat as this is a popular show.


Is there a stage door?

No, unfortunately there is no stage door at The Watermill.


There has been so much anticipation around the show and we are delighted to be able to offer audiences another way to engage with the fantastical world of Tolkien. If you're looking for ways to make this summer a memorable one, book on to one of our holiday courses, workshops or talks!

Courses for Adults: 



Workshops for Adults: