PUBLISHED: 11:53 16 August 2012 | UPDATED: 21:44 20 February 2013

Amazed and delighted - part of the large crowd in Newbury

Amazed and delighted - part of the large crowd in Newbury

Spectacular outdoor theatre draws crowds

Newbury Market Place once again played host to a spectacular piece of outdoor theatre on Friday evening as thousands of people from across the south descended on the town for a fire-filled outdoor performance of The Bell.

Presented by the Corn Exchange as part of their programme of outdoor theatre, The Bell followed swiftly on from Junes week-long celebration of The Berkshire Giant. But with Gentle Johns final footsteps a distant echo, the Market Place once again burst into life with a 360-degree spectacle full of live music, aerial performance and arresting pyrotechnic imagery which will live long in the memory.
An acclaimed international cast from the award-winning Periplum (who had previously performed in Newbury with Arquiem in 2010) began their performance to a packed Market Place as the sun set on a day of beautiful weather in Berkshire. An estimated 4,000 people witnessed an arresting performance of war, peace and hope as a land, devastated and razed in flames by invading forces emerged from the smouldering debris to rebuild their shattered world.

With stunning pyrotechnics from internationally renowned, The World Famous, the packed crowds needed to be on their toes as action appeared from all corners of the Market Place, never allowing the crowd to settle. Beginning amidst a battlefield, with an angel calling a war-ravaged clan to defend itself one last time, an international cast of fire-wielding soldiers, stilt-walking wraiths and huge mobile structures weaved through the audience as battle commences. Exploring themes of war and peace in a spectacle of fire, light and humanity re-born, The Bell took its expectant audience through a swathe of emotions, before climaxing with an uplifting, unforgettable finale as a giant flaming bell was raised amidst a shower of ticker-tape, whooping and applause.

Katy Griffiths, Director of the Corn Exchange beamed We are delighted to have been able to present a stunning piece of outdoor theatre of this scale for the people of Berkshire and-beyond to enjoy.

The excitement in the Market Place in the run up to the show was palpable and it was inspiring to see the reaction from such a large diverse audience

The Bell was the latest in a programme of large-scale outdoor events managed by the Corn Exchange and provided for free thanks to the funding of Greenham Common Trust and Arts Council England.

The crowd were equally excited about the evenings proceedings, with one audience member saying This was a spectacularly exciting cultural event that me and my children were blown away by... the atmosphere was superb and it was a really impressive experience, and another It rocks! So impressed by the open mindedness of crowd and the dramatic level and daring of event.

The Corn Exchanges outdoor programme of free events continues throughout the autumn with the family friendly Halloween Hullabaloo lined up for 28 October and the winter Festival of Light lantern procession set to return once more on 16 December. For more information about these and many other events in Newbury please see the Corn Exchange website at

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