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Inspire Awards 2015: a life full of drama

Thanks to Barry Boyton and the Oddments Theatre Company he started, thousands of people in schools, prisons and churches have heard the Gospel ...

Thanks to Barry Boyton and the Oddments Theatre Company he started, thousands of people in schools, prisons and churches have heard the Gospel. SHARON BARNARD reports

Barry fell in love with the theatre when he was 12 years old and found himself alone inside the Royal Albert Hall.

He’d been dropped off for an event way too early and to kill time, walked round the building and fingered a few doors.  Much to his surprise a catch gave way and he managed to get in.

“I was captivated by the magic of the venue,” says Barry who was able to explore the dressing rooms and boxes and ‘act’ on stage for hours before hiding up in the gods.

Not long after this escapade he became a Christian through the youth organisation Covenanters. But Barry’s passion for the theatre never went away.

“I was asked to get a few of the young people to perform a sketch at church The performance was a surprising success, so I was asked to write another and another drama and a small group was formed.

“We called it Oddments, as it was ‘oddments’ of people who wanted to be in it,” explains the Somerset theatre man who found school a struggle because of dyslexia.

“Eventually we got invited to other churches and then ‘accidentally’ started a small prisons ministry.

“We have grown the company over 37 years and gained God’s heart for mission over that time.”

A trained electrician, Barry started his own electrical company so he could have the flexibility to give time to Oddments. He now works for the theatre company full time.

Barry’s principal aim is to share the Gospel through quality theatre.

“The biggest area of our work is taking drama to prisons, followed by schools and finally using quality drama to support churches in their own outreach.”

Since launching its first full-time team six years ago, Oddments has increased its staff from one part-timer to four employees and three full-time volunteers. It has also trained more than 31 young people through internships. 

As for the future, Barry is sure that “God will write the script.

“I just turn up and be available, like I have for 37 years,” he says. “I will continue to be there until God says it is time to pass the baton on.”

Barry Boyton was nominated for an Inspire Award by Emma Handcock from Yeovil, Somerset

PHOTOS: Barry Boyton (top) and above with the cast from Oddments Theatre production Amazing Grace

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