the watermill theatre & metta theatre’s
world premiere production of the new rock musical
sherlock holmes and the poison wood
2 february – 16 march

Artistic Director Paul Hart, Executive Director Claire Murray and the team at Newbury’s The Watermill Theatre today announce that the first show of 2024 will be the world premiere the new rock musical Sherlock Holmes and the Poison Wood, co-produced with Metta Theatre, playing 2 February to 16 March.

Sherlock Holmes and the Poison Wood is an electrifying new rock musical that marks the latest collaboration between award-winning writer and director P Burton-Morgan and composer Ben Glasstone (The Rhythmics, Cells), adapted from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.

London 2024.  Doggedly pursuing success as a private detective, Sherlock Holmes is faced with a new case; an unexplained death in the infamous environmental protest camp at Oakenwood. 

Supported by his media-savvy landlady, nutritionist Dr Watson, Sherlock’s keen eye for detail and tireless pursuit of the truth has brought a growing online fandom and an uncomfortable intrusion into his private life.

Delving into the details, Sherlock suspects that arch-nemesis, tech billionaire and international potato magnate Jan Moriarty is at the root of the case, but the game’s afoot and they must move fast to uncover the truth and foil her plans.

In a world of cancel culture, deepfakes, and digital manipulation, only self-discovery and acceptance can unlock this case.

The musical will be directed by, and with book & lyrics by P Burton-Morgan (Artistic Director of Metta Theatre), music & lyrics by Ben Glasstone, set & lighting design by William Reynolds (Metta Theatre’s co-Artistic Director & Resident Designer), video design by Matt Powell (Accidental Death of an Anarchist – Lyric Hammersmith, Theatre Royal Haymarket), sound design by Beth Duke (The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Watermill Theatre) and choreography by Mark Smith (The Little Big Things – @sohoplace).

Audiences can delve deeper behind the scenes of Sherlock Holmes and the Poison Wood with workshops from writer and director P Burton-Morgan on Performance Process (24 March), and with choreographer Mark Smith on Movement (2 March)

Also announced is the Watermill Theatre Youth Ensemble’s new production of Ella Hickson’s Wendy & Peter Pan from 23 – 30 March. Based on the novel by J.M. Barrie, the youth ensemble will create a world of wonder through storytelling, puppetry, and physical theatre that invites audiences to join them on an unforgettable journey celebrating the enduring power of friendship and the unique parts we play in our own stories. 


When the Darling family’s world is rocked, a window opens into a world of opportunities and adventure that may help Wendy find the answers she seeks. Taking a leap of faith, Wendy and her brothers follow Peter Pan to Neverland, where they discover the extraordinary home of the Lost Boys.


The new youth theatre production is produced by arrangement with Nick Hern Books and will be co-directed by Angharad Arnott Phillips (Watermill Community Associate) & Heidi Bird (Watermill Outreach Director) with costume & set design by Alfie Heywood (The Mirror and the Light – RSC, Gielgud Theatre), lighting design by Ali Hunter (Titus Andronicus – Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe), sound design & associate direction by Matty Green (Watermill Outreach Assistant), stage combat direction by Emily Evans (RABBLE Theatre) and puppetry direction by Olivier Award-winner Scarlet Wilderink (Life of Pi – Wyndham’s Theatre).

In the lead up to Wendy and Peter, there will be a Neverland Family Fun Day on 14 February 10.30am – 2.30pm – families will follow an activity trail around The Watermill gardens, listen to themed stories and take part in craft activities, all for free.

Tickets will go on sale to Friends on 23 November on general sale on 27 November and can be booked online at

The Watermill is a 200-seat regional powerhouse, with an unparalleled reputation for producing bold, world-class theatre with local and national reach from its home in West Berkshire. It also has an extensive programme of community outreach, and schools touring work, and a firm commitment to inclusion, environmental sustainability and talent development.  

The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury, Berkshire, RG20 8AE

01635 46044


The Watermill

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