Bea Roberts
Bea Roberts

2016 Finalist

And Then Come the Nightjars

Synopsis: And Then Come The Nightjars charts the struggle of one farm amidst a crisis that saw the slaughter of four million animals and the postponement of a General Election. A tender, frank and funny portrait of male friendship and a requiem for rural England.

Cast Breakdown:
MICHAEL (Male, 62-74, Devonshire accent)
JEFF (Male, 41-53, Home Counties accent

Set/Costume Requirements: The play takes place entirely within Michael’s barn which changes its look and function between 2001-2013. In the first production, set and costume were highly naturalistic.


Agent: Katie Williams at The Agency (

Play Service: Published by Nick Hern books

Bio: Bea Roberts is a west country writer with a gift for warm and irreverent storytelling. In 2014, Bea became joint winner of the Theatre503  Playwriting Award with her play And Then Come the Nightjars and, most recently, received the J. B. Priestley Award given by the Royal Literary Fund to young writers of promise.

Her credits include Infinity Pool; A Modern Re-Telling of Madame Bovary (Tobacco Factory Theatres, The Bike Shed Theatre & Plymouth Theatre Royal), SCOOP (Lyric Hammersmith UK tour) and Nights with Dolly Henderson (Box of Tricks at The Salisbury Playhouse, The Bike Shed Theatre & Bolton Octagon). In addition to writing plays, Bea has also written and performed sketches, storytelling pieces and stand-up comedy. Bea begins 2016 with a commission from Up In Arms theatre company and currently has work in development with Guilty Party, Pins and Needles productions and BBC Comedy. She is represented by Katie Williams at The Agency.

And Then Come the Nightjars charts the friendship of a Devonshire farmer and his local veterinary surgeon over 20 years as they battle the Foot and Mouth disease epidemic of 2001 and the ensuing onslaught of changes to British farming life. Selected from over 1600 applications, the play won the inaugural Theatre503 Playwriting Award, after initial development with Sharon Clark, Literary Manager at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre. The play became a co-production of the two theatres headed by Theatre503 producer Jessica Campbell. And Then Come the Nightjars premiered at London’s Theatre503 in September 2015 before transferring to the Bristol Old Vic in October. Directed by Paul Robinson and starring David Fielder in the role of Michael and Nigel Hastings in the role of Jeff, the play garnered much critical acclaim including 4 star reviews from The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Evening Standard and The Stage. And Then Come the Nightjars has been nominated for six Off West End Awards including Best Design (Max Dorey), Best Lighting Design (Sally Ferguson), Best Sound Design (Max Perryment & Olly Fox) as well as Best Director and Most Promising Playwright.

Theatre503 and the Bristol Old Vic are currently developing tour plans for the original production of And Then Come the Nightjars, which is hoped to tour both to smaller rural venues and theatres across England.