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National Theatre Wales is all set to create invigorating theatre in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach. This is the launch programme from March 2010 – April 2011. Twelve new shows, one each month, plus one spectacular finale – in amazing places and unique spaces across Wales. As well as seeing shows, you can be a volunteer TEAM member; helping make shows happen, influencing ideas and spreading the word. Let us know what you think anytime, find up to the minute news and ticket offers, hear behind the scenes stories, and talk to the people involved at: So we’ll be at the theatre, on the streets, at the beach, in a factory and at the circus. See you there...

IN The Valleys


Written by

‘If these walls could speak you’d have a volume as long as this table’

Alan Harris Directed by

John E McGrath Designed by

Angela Davies What’s the most extraordinary Valleys story of all? After listening to hundreds, we transform the best into a beautiful, outrageous night of theatre. Choose where you see the show: Blackwood Miners Institute, Bedwas Workman’s Hall, Pontardawe Arts Centre, Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall, Coliseum Aberdare.

‘I’ve been caretaker here since around 1985. I’ve seen a lot over the years. There’s history and nostalgia attached to this place. Memorable things have gone on in this hall. Young people from all over the world have been here. I have it all in the visitor’s book. People have come from everywhere: Sardinia, Italy, Lithuania, Holland – all over the place for International Youth peace week – from Israel, Palestine, everywhere, and Wales, of course. We’ve had Syd Lawrence on this stage and his orchestra and I believe Maria Callas sang here. Apparently they had their own orchestra; the orchestra pit is there. They had their own opera company. Paul Robeson sat there, not in these seats, but visited here and got involved with the miners. There’s been many a good night out here.’ Bill Thomas, Caretaker, Bedwas Workman’s Hall The full interview is available at

Venues Thur 11 & Fri 12 March, 7.30pm Blackwood Miners Institute High Street, Blackwood, Gwent NP12 1BB / 01495 227206 Tue 16 March, 7.30pm Blaengarw Workmen’s Hall Bridgend CF32 8AW / 01656 871911 Thur 18 & Fri 19 March, 7.30pm Pontardawe Arts Centre Herbert Street, Pontardawe SA8 4ED / 01792 863722 Tue 23 March, 7.30pm Bedwas Workman’s Hall Newport Rd, Bedwas, Caerphilly 07983 708663 Fri 26 & Sat 27 March, 7.30pm Coliseum, Mount Pleasant, Trecynon Aberdare CF44 8NG / 01685 881188 Tickets from £5.00 Booking Opens Fri 6th Nov 2009 For further information

In Swansea

April 2010 Shelf Life

In partnership with

‘What are those noises that people make when they are told to be quiet?’

Volcano Theatre & Welsh National Opera Directed by

Paul Davies Music by

Peter Swaffer Reynolds Joining forces with Volcano Theatre and Welsh National Opera, we take over the evocative domed reading room of Swansea’s old library. Follow a choir of librarians through the abandoned book stacks on a journey to whisper about for a very long time.

‘The Old Library is a fantastic space. The reading room is so full of energy and ghosts of past library visitors. When you are walking along that fantastic walkway that runs right round the edge of the reading room, you can almost feel the quiet energy of people reading books and the librarians looking disapprovingly across the room at people making noises. It is all there. The symmetry of that beautiful round space is a focal point. For a show, it will focus that performance beautifully. Everybody will have a different journey through the piece. Going into the vaults underneath is just incredible. The idea of the installation and finding little private, personal moments and finding things in corners that may have a soundtrack will be a really exciting experience for an audience. Then stepping into the main library space and seeing what unfolds.’ Rhian Hutchings, Director of WNO MAX The full interview is available at

Venue Old Library Alexandra Road, Swansea SA1 5DU 6 – 25 April Tue & Wed, 7pm Thur ­– Sat, 7pm & 8:30pm Sun, 3.00pm & 4.30pm Tickets from £7.00 Booking Opens Fri 6 Nov 2009 Taliesin Arts Centre 01792 602060 For further information

In Cardiff


Written by

‘A traditional setting, yet with a cry from the wild within it’

John Osborne Directed by

Elen Bowman Designed by

Alex Eales Written by the original angry young man, set in a young Welsh poet’s home over one life-changing night, this long lost play is a remarkable discovery.

‘Written at the age of 18, before ‘Look Back in Anger’, this recently unearthed and extraordinary classic is based in South Wales. It was written at a time where plays were very much murder mysteries and going into a new psychological era. The main character, Huw, is an everyman – someone with whom we can truly identify, somebody who, at first look, is not accepted by his community, but who is absolutely like you or me. There are echoes within it of a much more primitive and natural sense of the world, the Earth and nature, and how in touch Huw is with that. The very repressed, heavy Methodist society that he was born into was at complete odds with him. I hope that the release that Huw experiences is something that we can all understand and identify with. A traditional setting, yet with a cry from the wild within it.’ Elen Bowman, Director The full interview is available at

Venue New Theatre Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3LN 6 – 16 May Tue – Sat, 7.30pm Thur & Sat, 2.30pm Sun, 4.00pm Tickets from £5.00 Booking Opens Fri 6 Nov 2009 New Theatre 029 2087 8889 For further information

In Barmouth


Conceived and curated by

‘Historic chapels filled with inflatable crocodiles, cash tills in pulpits, seaside photographic archives, installations in shop windows: factual or fictional stories like fragments of fossils begin to unfold’

Marc Rees With a company of Welsh and International Artists Join renowned Welsh artist Marc Rees and an extraordinary collection of international performers as they inhabit the nooks and crannies of this seaside town.

‘It all started with an opportunity to explore the Welsh seaside – we went on a tour of the coastline of Wales and chose Barmouth. Apparently Darwin wrote part of the Origin of Species here and John Ruskin and Wordsworth came here, so you have this fantastic arts and literature connection. Along the high street, there are many chapels which are now ‘Pound Shops’ – there’s one with a cash register in the pulpit and you’ve got inflatable crocodiles hanging from the gallery and the church organ – you can almost hear the congregation scream in horror! We’re hoping to find a chapel we can use for this production and we’ll encourage the international performance artists to take people on guided tours of Barmouth.’ Marc Rees, Curator The full interview is available at

Location Barmouth, Gwynedd 25 June – 10 July

Tickets from £1.00 Booking Opens Mon 8 March 2010 Theatre Harlech 01766 780667 For further information

In North Wales

July 2010 THE BEACH

In partnership with

‘Enter our imaginary world and never underestimate what you see’

Hide and Seek Created by

Rhiannon Cousins Bethan Marlow Carl Morris What would life be like without time to play? Three leading young Welsh artists will create an outdoor theatre adventure like no other.

‘I grew up in a lovely village in Wales called Bethel. Every summer, someone would be making a den, which I loved. Right now, I’m a multi-platform writer – which lots of people think of as being TV on the internet, but it’s much more interesting than that. When you watch TV or traditional theatre, you have all the information in one place – imagine that information scattered all around you and you find the pieces, put them together and create the full world – that’s what multiplatform is. It can work as a drama series or as a game or an adventure and that’s exciting! It might be a bit scary to take the first step and who knows what will happen, but there is lots of excitement when people take part. Come along and meet us, enter our imaginary world and never underestimate what you see, hear or feel – you will always be thinking ‘Is that a clue’? ‘Is that the next level of the game?’ Keep your eyes, ears and everything else peeled. See you on the beach.’ Bethan Marlow, Multi-platform Writer The full interview is available at

Location Beaches of North Wales Coast 26 July – 1 August TIckets from £5.00 Booking Opens Mon 8 March 2010 For further information

In the Brecon Beacons

August 2010 THE PERSIANS


‘The front of the house is cut away, you can see the action on all four floors’

Aeschylus In a new version by

Kaite O’Reilly Directed by

Mike Pearson Conceptual design by

Mike Brookes Designed by

Simon Banham Music by

John Hardy One of Wales’s most celebrated directors takes the first ever European play to the heart of the Brecon Military Range, in an area rarely seen by civilians. This extraordinary production is a hymn to all those who have suffered defeat. A once in a lifetime event.

‘I command and run all the Army training areas in Wales and here at Sennybridge is the largest one at about 31,000 acres. The scenery is tremendous. This training village was built in 1982 and is a very typical North-German replica village. We cannot let the public come up here all that often, because of all the training that happens. One of the houses we use as a demonstration facility here in the village will be used by National Theatre Wales as a stage set. The front of the house is cut away so that you can see the action on all four floors: down in the cellar, the ground floor, the first floor and then up in the attic and the roof space. We use it to demonstrate how to clear a house, how to clear a room and the problems you will find to those sat in the seats opposite. National Theatre Wales will use it for their show.’ Chris Sernberg, Lieutenant Colonel Commandant The full interview is available at

Location Cilieni Village, Ministry of Defence Brecon Beacons, Powys 11 – 21 August Tickets from £10.00 Booking Opens Mon 8 March 2010 Theatr Brycheiniog 01874 611622 For further information

In Bridgend


In partnership with

‘Just hold on – you don’t know where life could take you’

Sherman Cymru Written by

Gary Owen Directed by

John E McGrath In 2010 Gary Owen, one of Wales’s foremost playwrights, returns to his hometown of Bridgend. The media have told us their Bridgend story, but what will a writer who spent his own teenage years here have to say?

‘I grew up in Bridgend and I’ve been writing plays professionally for 10 years. Although I’ve written plays set or drawn from there, either consciously or not, I’ve so far avoided writing anything connected with the several young people who took their own lives in 2008. I didn’t want to write something that might make things worse or I had no control over (for instance, TV, film, radio). Why I’m doing this now is that in addition to being a writer from Bridgend, I believe publicly-funded theatre has a role in democracy. I don’t think you can shirk from taking on the big topics and what’s important is that this work will happen in Bridgend with and for the people of Bridgend. I can remember growing up and people saying ‘oh’ isn’t this a shithole’ and that’s similar to what so many young people think about any small town they grow up in. In my teens and twenties I had depression and suicidal thoughts and so this will be from someone who has been through that and can say ‘just hold on a bit longer’. It’s for all teenagers who might feel they have no way out, a sort of plea to hold on, you don’t know where life could take you.’ Gary Owen, Playwright The full interview is available at

Location Bridgend Booking Opens Mon 5 July 2010 Sherman Cymru 029 2064 6900 For further information

IN Newport and beyond


A new theatre production based on the stories of Gwyn Thomas

‘Every so often a writer from another age leaps into the present with an armful of gifts for us. Gwyn Thomas is one of those writers’

The great 1940s Valleys storyteller becomes a dark hilarious, twenty-first century comedian, taking no prisoners and respecting no laws other than man’s right to survive.

‘I didn’t want to read these stories. I thought they would be too historical, too worthy for today’s theatre. I guess I’ve been wrong a few times in life, but this time I was really, really wrong! From the first page of the first Gwyn Thomas story I read, I just kept saying to myself, ‘How have I missed this guy. He’s got to be one of the most outrageous, individual, funny, disturbing writers I’ve read for years!’ It was like discovering an amazing new voice, but one that has been around for over half a century. I want audiences for this show to have the same experience I had when reading the books. I want us to produce a stage version of Gwyn Thomas’s work that speaks to people all over the world – celebrating his extraordinary surreal storytelling genius.’ John McGrath, Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales The full interview is available at

Venue The Riverfront Bristol Packet Wharf Newport NP20 1HG Booking Opens Mon 5 July 2010 The Riverfront 01633 656679 For further information

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IN Snowdonia


In partnership with

‘We had to walk to school for five miles in the snow and lift your legs into deep drifts’

Fevered Sleep Directed and Designed by

David Harradine Where does all the weather in Wales come from? This festive season, artist David Harradine invites you to step inside his Weather Factory. Discover the real drama of the elements. A year’s worth of weather all in one magical place.

‘Snow attracted me to the weather. When I was a child in the 1960s and 1970s, we were going through very cold winters and the snow must have seemed – thinking about it now – very, very deep, as if it was as high as me. But thinking back now, it would have been chest height. I remember in those days no such thing as the school run, and we had to walk to school for five miles in the snow and lift your legs into deep drifts. It was great fun. I just seemed to get more and more interested in the weather from there.’ Andy Morse, Weather Man The full interview is available at

Location Snowdonia Booking Opens Mon 8 Nov 2010 Galeri Caernarfon 01286 685222 For further information

In Butetown, Cardiff

January 2011 The Soul Exchange

Devised by a team of international artists working with the communities of Butetown.

‘Our history lies in people coming from all over the world and stories emerge from our rich heritage’

Take the taxi ride of your life through hidden corners of Cardiff. Hear the stories of sailors, millionaires, lovers and survivors. When you and a thousand guests arrive at your destination you’ll be part of a new piece of history.

‘I’ve grown up in Butetown, described as the greatest multicultural community in Europe. Our history lies in people coming from all over the world to work in the coal trade. My grandfather stowed away from St Lucia, at the age of 12 years, and married my grandmother, from Pontypridd, and together they raised a family here so big, I couldn’t give it justice to count! Here is where the first million pound cheque was written at the Coal Exchange; a landmark building currently closed but which has been used as an arts and music venue in recent years. I’m fascinated about the opportunity to share stories from the diverse communities who live here, through developing an amazing production together. I look forward to seeing what stories emerge from our rich heritage, helping to co-ordinate the process of bringing people together and to us sharing them with you.’ Leanne Rahman, Artist & Community Coordinator Black Voluntary Sector Network Wales The full interview is available at

Location The Coal Exchange, Cardiff Booking Opens Mon 8 November 2010 For further information

In Aberystwyth

February 2011 Outdoors (Working title)

In partnership with

‘Wales is one of the best countries in the world to realistically say they could have a sustainable future’

Rimini Protokoll Created by

Helgard Haug Stefan Kaegi Daniel Wetzel The first ever UK commission for Berlin’s Rimini Protokoll – international leaders in reality theatre.

‘It is a genuinely beautiful country. It has everything that people travel a long way to see and perhaps forget that it is on their own doorstep a lot of the time. On a beautiful sunny day, Wales has everything; mountains, rolling hills and lakes and all the kind of stuff that people jet off to see in Italy, but all those good things are just down the road. In places like Machynlleth, you have communities who are aiming to be or already are largely selfsufficient, so really quite far advanced down a sustainability route and way ahead of most other people and quite extreme in some of their views. On the other hand, you also have this real sense that coal is synonymous with Wales and for a lot of people it is still really close to their hearts. Wales is one of the best countries in the world to realistically say they could have a sustainable future. Wales could provide its own energy, as it has plenty of wind, waves and water.’ Adam Corner, Green Activist The full interview is available at

Location Aberystwyth Booking Opens Mon 8 Nov 2010 Aberystwyth Arts Centre 01970 623232 For further information



In partnership with

‘The greatest touring circus in the UK – edgy, grungy, sensual and now to be on stage’

NoFit State Circus Torch THEATRE What will happen when Wales’s internationally renowned touring circus packs up its tent and brings its skills and magic inside a traditional theatre? Can the stories and characters of drama mix in a new way with the excitement and beauty of circus? Join us in Milford Haven and let’s find out.

‘NoFit State is considered to be the greatest touring circus in the UK. It was started 23 years ago in Cardiff by a group of friends to avoid ‘getting a proper job’. Our philosophy was to be bigger and better each year and if we didn’t achieve this, we would quit. Fast forward to today and our growth has been huge. We’ve worked with Welsh National Opera, performed at the Big Chill and the Roundhouse and work internationally. Our shows are edgy, grungy and sensual. Often people leave our shows in tears or laughing because it has touched them in some way. We frequently work with the audiences and performers in the same space – that can give a real energy to a show. We don’t know yet what this National Theatre Wales show is going to be like – if we predict too much, we don’t allow room for experiment – essential in making something new. What will be different is that we’ll be working away from our tent and in a theatre space. We’re also looking to reinvent the art form again: working with a theatre director and the magic of theatre, with a real intensity of focus.’ Ali Williams, Creative Director, NoFit State Circus The full interview is available at

Venue Torch Theatre St. Peter’s Road, Milford Haven Pembrokeshire SA73 2BU Booking Opens Mon 8 Nov 2010 Torch Theatre 01646 695267 For further information

In Port Talbot

April 2011 PASSION

Written by

‘What would a town say if it could speak? What would it dream? What would it call out in the night? What songs would it sing? And what would it try to forget?’

Owen Sheers Creative Director

Michael Sheen Michael Sheen returns to his home town to lead an epic contemporary revival of the town’s community Passion Play. Inspired by a year of story-gathering, poet Owen Sheers will give voice to the town’s tales of redemption, return, and faith in a three-day Easter event with the whole of Port Talbot as cast, crew and set.

‘I grew up on the hillside overlooking the town proper. On a good day you could look out across the sea and glimpse the English coast, on a better one you only saw Port Talbot. The chemical plant cooling towers stood imperiously before me, turning the sky orange and spitting acid at the washing and the cars. The steelworks on fire and smoking woodbines. And always the sea, washing up its whales and submarines, failed kites and once reaching out with its roiling hand across the beach road and stealing away a child, never to be seen again in spite of all the car headlights. I first saw the Passion Play in Margam Park when I was about 12. I saw it a few times over the years up until it stopped being done. It was a story I knew come to life in front of me. A ritual taking place before me. I saw the people of my town walking out of the forest and out of another time, children dancing and the old walking with their lost, following the man who had come back. The man who had been on a strange journey, who had suffered, had visions, and who returned. Something had been called to that place and was still there as we left. Something about a town telling a story to itself. A town remembering itself through a story. Sacrifice. Betrayal. Denial. Love. Passion.’ Michael Sheen, Actor and Creative Director

Location Port Talbot 22 – 24 April Easter Weekend Booking Opens Mon 6 Dec 2010 For further information

Debate & Respond The range of programmed shows for the first launch year is ambitious. BUT We haven’t stopped there – we’re still keen to do more! Since the world changes daily, we want to stay light on our feet, flexible and adaptable. So, in addition to opening 12 shows, one each month over a year and a finale; we’re also including two extra strands of work – Debate and Respond – to provide two very different kinds of creative opportunity for everyone.

Debate Alongside the 12 productions, the Debate programme offers opportunities to experience theatre as a space for exploration and discussion of ideas, of shared or wildly different experiences, of anything on your mind. ‘Debate events’ might take place in the same spaces as the main shows, or they could be somewhere very different: the library, the pub, the playground, the park, the launderette, the community centre – we’d love you to help to choose the location and the subject. Featuring creative teams from the shows, experts from all walks of life, audience members and local characters, we hope these debates will be an opportunity to speak your mind, learn from others in a celebration free thinking. You can find out about the evolving Debate programme and take part in it at

Respond Playing to a different beat, Respond adds space for something completely unexpected. Teams of writers, performers, directors, designers will be asked to respond to events happening today. It’s an opportunity to see tomorrow’s artists respond to today’s issues and for your stories to be on stage. In contrast to programmed shows which will have months of development and preparation, Respond events will happen quickly and sometimes unexpectedly. They may be a bit rough around the edges but will always be dynamic and fresh. You can find out about the Respond programme and help choose what to respond to at

Production Interviewees You can hear and read the full interviews by visiting














01 / Bill Thomas / Caretaker Bedwas Workman’s Hall Interview: A good Night Out in The Valleys 02 / Rhian Hutchings / Director WNO MAX Interview: Shelf Life 03 / Elen Bowman / Director Interview: The Devil Inside Him

07 / Gary Owen / Playwright Interview: LOVE STEALS US FROM LONELINESS 08 / John McGrath / Artistic Director National Theatre Wales Interview: The dark Philosophers 09 / Andy Morse / Weather Man Interview: The Weather Project

04 / Marc Rees / Curator Interview: For Mountain, Sand And Sea

10 / Leanne Rahman / Artist Community Co-ordinator BVSNW Interview: The Soul Exchange

05 / Bethan MArlow / Multi-platform Writer Interview: The Beach

11 / Adam Corner / Green Activist Interview: Outdoors

06 / Chris Sernberg / Lieutenant Commandant Interview: The Persians

12 / Ali Williams / Creative Director NoFit State Circus Interview: Mundo Paralelo 13 / Michael Sheen / Actor & Creative Director Interview: Passion

March 2010 — April 2011

National Theatre Wales First Year Programme

Our Partners

Engaged, Innovative, International

National Theatre Wales staff team

Join us on a theatrical adventure. We are offering you the opportunity to see every single show in our Programme for free. We challenge you to come to all our productions and if you do, we will reward you by refunding the total cost of your tickets. A journey around our theatre map of Wales. To apply for a National Theatre Wales passport visit us online before March 1st (St Davids Day).

You can reach us anytime at

To book tickets, share views and be part of National Theatre Wales, visit: We are committed to making all of our performances accessible to as wide a range of people as possible. Details on accessible performances and other access information will be available at along with links to sites of partner venues where information on theatre facilities and methods of booking can be found. For more information you can call or text 029 2035 3070 or email National Theatre Wales 30 Castle Arcade, Cardiff CF10 1BW This information is also available in large print and audio formats, please contact us for a copy.

Lucy Davies Producer Rhiannon Davis Finance Director Michael Devaney Technical Director Rhian Jones Administrator Matthew Lawton Communications Director Mathilde Lopez Creative Associate John McGrath Artistic Director Catherine Paskell Creative Associate Press & PR The Corner Shop

We have gone to great lengths to improve the sustainability of this publication – from the paper we use to how our printer protects the environment. When you have finished reading this newspaper please pass it to a friend or recycle it. Although every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information provided at the date of publication, National Theatre Wales reserves the right to make alterations if necessary. Registered in England and Wales Registered Company No. 6693227 Charity Registration No. 1127952 Design by Photography by Phil Boorman Interviewee Portraits by Jorge Lizalde Cano Michael Sheen Photograph by Zac Mead 2009








First Year Programme  

National Theatre Wales is set to create bold, invigorating theatre in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach.

First Year Programme  

National Theatre Wales is set to create bold, invigorating theatre in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach.