Plymouth's historic Barbican at nightAudiences will get the chance to follow in the footsteps of some of the most colourful characters from the Barbican’s past. They will also get to discover some of the stories that connect Plymouth with the rest of the world.

The content for the tours has been inspired by true events with historical research helping to inform the script, characters and costumes.

Writer Jon Nash and a team of young professionals have used objects, documents, photographs and film from the Museum and Art Gallery’s and the city’s archival collections. They have also undertaken research trips to the Devonport Naval Heritage Centre, Mayflower Museum and South West Film and Television Archive.

‘Ropewalks’ is a Plymouth History Centre event, delivered in partnership with the Barbican Theatre and promises to be one of the highlights of this year’s History Festival. Performances are aimed at anyone aged 8 years and above and are ideal for families as well as history lovers.

A photograph of a woman in costume in the Barbican's historic Elizabethan HouseMark Tosdevin, Programmes Manager for Plymouth City Council’s Arts and Heritage Service said: “We worked together in 2015 on a project called ‘The Spice Box’ which combined history with an immersive theatrical experience at the Elizabethan House. It wowed audiences and really demonstrated a thirst for this kind of performance.

“The success of that project, combined with our strong commitment to supporting emerging professionals in the cultural sector, has encouraged us to collaborate again on ‘Ropewalks’. The tours have enabled us to create opportunities for volunteers in acting, graphic design, film making, marketing and costume design. They’re going to offer audiences a really thought-provoking and enjoyable experience.”

‘Ropewalks’ performances will feature spectacular costumes designed and made by ‘World of Wearable Art’ finalist Hannah McArthur. Hannah recently graduated from Plymouth College of Art with a BA (Hons) in Costume Production and Associated Crafts.

Photograph of Hannah McArthur's costume designs for the Ropewalks project in Plymouth“As a recent graduate this has been a fantastic opportunity for me to work on a live project alongside devising actors and creative professionals,” she said. “The inspiration for my costumes has been drawn directly from the Barbican itself and I hope they will help bring the history, surroundings and performance to life.”

Performances of ‘Ropewalks’ begin on Saturday 20 May and continue on selected dates in May, June and August. They start at 11.30am and 2.30pm and last for up to 60 minutes. A full list of dates and more information about the project can be found at You can also watch a video about the devising process on YouTube.

Tickets for ‘Ropewalks’ are now on sale from the Barbican Theatre priced at £3 per person (plus booking fee). They can be purchased online from, by telephoning 01752 267131 or by calling into the Box Office during opening hours.

For full details about everything that’s on offer throughout this year’s History Festival visit


Notes for editors:
For more information, photographs or interview opportunities call Jo Clarke on 01752 306228 or email[email protected].