The Word Barn: There Aren’t Enough Words to Describe How Lovely It Is

The Word Barn. Photography by Ben Anderson.

Oh Oh It’s Magic

Five years ago, it started with a poetry reading. Sarah and Ben Anderson bought a home in Exeter, knowing they wanted to use the barn on the property for something special. And so The Word Barn was born. Gatherings continued with spoken word in the first year, with the programming evolving the following year to include concerts. This magical indoor, and now also outdoor, venue is a continuous celebration of creativity and community. 

Ben is a music fanatic and promoter. Sarah is a poet and teacher. Together, they organize and host a variety of events and workshops, providing a place for artists to perform their work, also allowing audiences to enjoy these works in a special setting.

The Word Barn is a dream. It’s a place where the focus is on community and togetherness, and where we celebrate the arts in an intimate way. The unique and small space creates a creative energy that our audiences and artists love and feed off of, and is the magic of it all. People describe the experience as if they’ve been let in on a secret and feel special to be part of it.”

Ben Anderson, co-owner, The Word Barn

The Word Barn. Photography by Ben Anderson.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting at length with Sarah about The Word Barn (and her own poetry) and was captivated by how much passion she and Ben have for this place. They are truly opening up their property for others to engage with creatives, which in turn opens up the opportunity for the community to connect and interact more.

I love the readings of course, but I love the times in between the readings, the social time. Maybe there’s a 15 minute break and everybody’s mingling and talking, and I just love watching that and thinking a friendship might be formed tonight right here, or someone’s discovering a poet or fiction writer they’ve never heard before. And the same thing happens at the concerts too. There is a sort of intimacy… you’re really quite close to the stage, listening and having a connection with the artist.”

Sarah Anderson, co-owner, The Word Barn

The Word Barn Meadow. Photography by Sarah Anderson.

Don’t Stop Believin’

I think everyone is sick of the word “pivot” by now, but that is just what creative venues like The Word Barn had to do when the situation of the pandemic arose. Like many, when indoors wasn’t an option, they took to the great outdoors. What makes this outdoor location so special though is that you get to witness writers and musicians perform while seated in an incredibly beautiful meadow that feels like home. 

Ben discusses what it was like opening the Meadow:

Like everyone else, we were handed a whole boatload of lemons at the start of the pandemic, but the arts are known for being innovative and creative, and we rallied and made what we think is some really fine lemonade. The ultimate being the creation of the Meadow – an outdoor gathering space that holds that same intimate vibe even when everyone is safely distancing themselves, so much so that we’ve had artists immediately turn around and book their return date after experiencing it. The Word Barn (Meadow) became even more important to the community during the pandemic because it provided a safe way to gather again, see people, share in the arts, and find a small window of normalcy in the midst of a new world of unknowns and worry.”

Ben Anderson, co-owner, The Word Barn

Between Two Trees

I was recently swept away by Lady Lamb in The Word Barn Meadow on a sunny Saturday afternoon. I’ve been a fan for years, but had never seen her in a setting like this. As she sang on the small stage, the leaves on the trees behind her nonchalantly fluttered about, dancing to her serenades. I sat with the grass between my toes, joyous for the fact that I was listening to live music again and also that everyone else was a good ten feet away from me. I looked up to see birds floating on the wind and hadn’t felt such relaxing peace in a long time.

Graphic provided by The Word Barn.

The Word Barn has a special place in my heart and I encourage you to check out the many cool events they have coming up, including live readings, musical shows, wildlife series, comedy nights, and more. Also, follow them on Facebook and Instagram and get swept up in the magic of it all!    

The Word Barn. Photography by Ben Anderson.

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