In a futuristic world which has been depleted of natural resources and ravaged by brutal capitalism, High Barnet becomes a strategic focal point for a desperate struggle with big business as the town still has the cleanest air between London and York.


This is the setting for Priceless, a science fiction ecological drama which is to be staged at The Bull Theatre in July by Barnet’s much acclaimed amateur dramatic group, the Blue Door Theatre Company.

Rehearsals are well underway for the premiere of the group’s latest play to draw on High Barnet’s rich history and strategic location.

It follows last year’s production of The Boy I love, based on Barnet Fair, and The Fog of War, which commemorated the 1471 Battle of Barnet.

Looking ahead to 2047, Priceless imagines a time when the planet’s resources are controlled by an unaccountable conglomerate called Kaos.

Heading the company is Tiamat, sitting astride the world. Her board of directors have adopted mythological names symbolised by their highly imaginative head gear.

Priceless is the second play to have been written for Blue Door by James P Godwin, son of the group’s director Siobhan Dunne.

After creating a story line about life in Barnet during the Wars of Roses in The Fog of War, he predicts what might be happening in High Barnet in the disturbingly near future of 2047.

By this time much of London has been flooded due to climate change and the billionaires who have done so much to deplete the world’s resources are met with resistance in an unlikely location in North London as the local residents of tomorrow fight back.

High Barnet’s King George’s Field becomes the battleground for their struggle as world conglomerate Kaos takes over this much-loved green space to build a factory to capture – and to tax -- what is said to be the cleanest and freshest air on the highest point between London and York.

The latest rehearsal was a chance for the Kaos board directors to try on their imaginative headdresses based on their mythological names – see above, back row, from left to right, Leviathan (Bob Burstow), Jormungandr (Tony Nagle), Tiamat, head of Kaos (Sarah Munford), Apep (Val Golding), and Hundun (stand in, Claire Fisher).

Sculptor and artist Cos Gerolemou (sitting, front row) designed the headdresses and made them out of recyclable materials.

“The challenge I had was to build on these mythological themes and to place them in a futuristic world.

“I suppose my creation of Apep’s hat – a barrel of oil – sums it up. Apep owns all the world’s oil, so I have dubbed her hat, ‘The Absurdity of Greed’.”      

The repertoire for the chorus includes an original score written for the production by Siobhan’s husband Nick Godwin. See above, from left to right: Simone Browning, Anne Moore, Teresa O’Sullivan, Brigid Hekster, and Wendy Solomons. 

In thinking through the story line for the drama, playwright James Godwin was determined to have another go at exploring the culture and history of High Barnet – and, as he has found out, “not many theatrical lines have been written about Barnet”.

In his full-time job as an English teacher at Highlands School, Enfield, James has been struck by the genuine concern which 16- and 17-year-olds have about the future of the world, their questions and worries about the depletion of the earth’s resources and their fears that there might be another world war.

“I think they sense we are in a recession and the frightening prospect that soon we might be entering a pre-war economy.

“What I have done in Priceless is to try to build on these thoughts and envisage how the oppressed people of a small town might respond when the conglomerates and those in power own all our natural resources and are out of control.

“Here in High Barnet, we are highly renowned for green spaces and our clean air. It is our only natural resource, yet it is now under threat from the multi nationals who want to build a factory on King George’s Field to capture the clean air and sell it.”

Sarah Munford has the role of Tiamat, the woman who heads the Kaos corporation.

“I am the lead baddie in a very futuristic world of 2047. I need to portray Tiamat as being heartless and cold, someone who thinks everyone else is disposable.

“The frame of mind the role requires is to overlord it, to be someone who doesn’t care about the minions below her and even her own board of directors.

“James has got us all thinking about what will happen when we’ve depleted all the world’s resources.”

Siobhan Dunne said she was delighted her son had come up with such a challenging script.

“The key theme is climate chaos. Every natural resource has been privatised and we the public are scraping along; the big corporations have depleted everything and there is no accountability for the mess that has been created in this dystopian future for High Barnet.”

Priceless at The Bull Theatre: Thursday and Friday, 11 and 12 July, 7.30pm; Saturday 13 July, matinee 2pm and 7.30pm. Tickets £15 plus booking fee.