Anna Farthing

A writer, director, producer and occasional performer of drama in live and recorded media, with a special interest in historical and intercultural themes. Director of Harvest Heritage Arts and Media

An award winning creator of drama in live and recorded media, with a special interest in creating original material from historical and intercultural themes. Anna creates drama for theatre, music theatre, heritage sites, audio, video, live-action and animated film. She also works as a consultant in the creative and cultural industries and as a practice based researcher.

Following a degree in Drama from Bristol University, Anna trained in Commedia dell’Arte with Antonio Fava and then worked as a freelance writer and director with, among others, the National Theatre, Battersea Arts Centre, Bristol Old Vic, Welsh National Opera, Colway Theatre Trust and the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton.

In 1989 she won an apprenticeship to The Banff Centre, Canada where she directed ‘Soldiers Tale’ and ‘Cunning Little Vixen’ and co-directed ‘Street Scene’. She returned to the UK with Welsh National Opera’s ‘Tornrak’, which was developed in Banff.

In 1991 she won the National/BAC Young Directors Award, directed Dario Fo’s ‘Elizabeth I’ at BAC, and was assistant to Francesca Zambello on the Earls Court monster opera ‘Tosca’. During the following ten years she adapted, devised and directed many live performances. Highlights included the Columbian magical realist play ‘The Bolt-hole’ at BAC and The Nuffield, Southampton, a new version of ‘Peter Pan’ for MAC in Birmingham, Catherine Johnson’s ‘Where’s Willy?’ for Bristol Old Vic and popular productions of ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Pericles’. After a national tour with her own adaptation of Dale Spender’s ‘Diary of Elizabeth Pepys’, Anna returned to The National Theatre as a Staff Director for ‘Women of Troy’ in the Olivier Theatre and developed many new plays in The Studio.

With the arrival of children Anna returned to Bristol where she directed ‘A Journey to Bristol or the Red Trousered Philanthropist’, the inaugural production in The Tobacco Factory. During this period she and Chris Moll set up Harvest Films Ltd, for whom Anna co-wrote ‘Hamilton Mattress’ for BBC1 Xmas Day, co-directed ‘Lido’ for HTV/UK Film Council, and created the event based talent development initiative ‘The Joy of 8mm’.

In 2004 she began exploring using drama to engage audiences with complex and emotive histories for The British Empire and Commonwealth Museum. She subsequently received Arts and Humanities Research Council funding to undertake doctoral research at Manchester University in this area.  The PhD is now completed and the heritage work is delivered through Harvest Heritage, Arts and Media.

Anna is currently a board member of The Bristol Shakespeare Festival and Bristol Festivals. Previously she was Chair of the board of The International Museum Theatre Alliance – Europe.


  • Director of Harvest Heritage Arts and Media
  • Part-time Research Associate for the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama.
  • Member of the Drama, Dance and Music Reference Group for the Higher Education Academy
  • Consultant, Tamasha Developing Artists programme
  • Visiting Fellow, University of Bristol.

Next available for interesting commissions and collaborations from January 2015

Recent activity:

2014: Developing a new music theatre performance, War, Women and Song about the Lena Ashwell YMCA Concert Parties, opening at The British Library in August. Creative consultant for the ACE funded UK Medical Collections Group project From the Medicine Cabinet, producing a national festival of medical comedy, Finding the Funny Bone.  

2013: Produced The Magic of Medicine, an installation and events programme for the Thackray Medical Museum in Leeds. Created films and interactive media for the Hear My Story exhibition at The National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth. Various site interpretation projects with Manx National Heritage, including Labyrinth a promenade performance as part of Castle Rushen – Unlocked and workshops on Multi-sensory Labyrinth Theatre for their WW1 events.

2012: R&D for The Chocolate Plant, a live drama documentary with writer Bea Roberts, including test performances at Bike Shed Exeter, Tobacco Factory Bristol, Tower of London, Larmer Tree Festival, Bristol Easter Storywalks and Keynsham Memorial Park Bandstand.

Now Children Find a Space, a film for the ICCI360 during Olympics and Paralympics.

Remembrance Kitbags, intergenerational storytelling, media and drama activity for new Storehouse 10 space at the National Museum of the Royal Navy. 

2011: Creative Producer, M Shed launch: Reinterpreted Bristol’s creation myth of Goram, Vincent and the Fair Avona with Cirque Bijou, trains, boats and cranes: Revived an ancient tradition with a contemporary new twist with The Procession of Professions: Co-wrote The Bristol Song for primary aged children with David Ogden and Eugene Byrne: Co-produced the 0117 Film Challenge with Encounters Festivals and The Bristol Film Office: Devised a week long programme including activity days for under 5’s and older people, including a tea dance. All events were documented by Farrows Creative (see films below). Launch programme delivered on time and under budget.

Link to Opening Ceremony

Link to Compilation of all Opening Events

Link to The Bristol Song

2010: Worked with Bristol Museums Galleries and Archives: As Special Projects Manager, overhauled the Volunteering systems to broaden participation, increase access and improve data collection. As Interim Learning Manager, developed ‘The Bristol Curriculum’ and won Ingenious funding for projects linking the arts with science and engineering.  Also won HLF support for new traineeships. 

L’union Fait La Force – produced a fundraising cabaret for Haiti at The Tobacco Factory.

Directed a third performance collaboration, Pauly’s War, with Peoplescape Theatre for the Manchester People’s History Museum.  

2009: Peopling The Georgian House devised and created an interactive resource with audio drama activities.

Their Past Your Future projects with The Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth, documenting and dramatising the memories of veterans with young people. Shown on BBC’s Big Screens in several cities and shortlisted for a Clore Museum Learning Award.

Launched the National Museums of the Royal Navy with a broadside from HMS Victory created by special effects company, Master Gunner.

Produced Recalling Robeson in Bristol (May – June 2009) at BOV, Colston Hall and online with Bristol Stories.  Festival of events included revival of Tayo Aluko’s show Calling Mr Robeson, music workshops, talks, schools events and an exhibition.



Godfrey’s Ghost – From Father to Son

Portfolio image: No Description
Godfrey’s Ghost – From Father to Son

Now Children, Find a Space….Playing in Weymouth for the Olympics and Paralympics

Portfolio image: Anna Farthing - Now Children, Find a Space....Playing in Weymouth for the Olympics and Paralympics
From the 1930s to the 1980s, school children all over the land leapt around their school halls in their pants and vests, moving to music and interpreting suggestions from the nice lady on the radio. rnrnNow Children, Find a Space…is an homage to Ann Driver’s democratisation of Dalcroze Eurythmics through BBC Schools Radio, and a reminder that there used to be something to get up and move for, other than sport.rnrnHarvest has been creatively exploring the archive material for a year or so, with support from BBC Archives, BBC R4, Circomedia and Red Six Mix. rnrnIn its’ current manifestation, Now Children, Find a Space, it is an exploration of 360 degree arena film making, playing in the ICCI360 Arena in Weymouth, part of the London 2012 Maritime Mix. The film is funded by ACE, the University of Plymouth, and the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama.rnrnLook out for other live and media manifestations in 2013, the anniversary of the introduction of Dalcroze in the UK. rnrnGet your pants and vests ready!

Unlocked – Labyrinth theatre at Castle Rushen, Isle of Man

Portfolio image: Anna Farthing - Unlocked - Labyrinth theatre at Castle Rushen, Isle of Man
The first results of a recent creative consultancy with Manx National Heritage – a weekend of theatrical magic which includes unlocking stories of past, present and future at Castle Rushen with labyrinth theatre, and a teenage band night.