THE face of farming is changing. The shift began decades ago but continues to cause rifts today, something the New Perspective theatre company understands and appreciates.

The East Midlands touring company, staging The Farm at Droitwich's Norbury Theatre next month, knows that especially in rural counties such as Worcestershire, stories of farming difficulties ring true.

Director Daniel Buckroy, who was responsible for adapting Richard Benson's best-selling novel of the same name, described the play as funny, daft, and painful.

"It is intensely topical," said Buckroy. "It's the human angle that gives it real appeal and, at the end of the day, it is a story about a family dealing with drastic change. I think everyone will recognise certain family dynamics.

"Although it is about something that happened over a decade ago, this story in British farming doesn't go away. While rehearsing we visited pig farms and the situation is getting more and more complicated."

Published to great acclaim in 2005, The Farm tells the difficult but uplifting story of how big business is changing the face of the English countryside and how one family in particular were forced to give up their birthright and adapt.

"The book is Richard Benson's personal account of what happened," said Buckroy. "We have widened that out so the story is told by all five members of the family, as a kind of shared endeavour. It's told with hindsight, when the problems are past and there is chance for the family to come together and look back in a cathartic way.

"Richard came to visit us one day during rehearsal and actually brought his brother Guy. To have the real person, whom the character is based on, was good for the cast."

For over 30 years, New Perspectives has been telling stories that affect people from villages and market towns of the East Midlands.

The Farm is on Saturday, May 10. For tickets, call the box office on 08700 600100 or on