Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is delighted to announce its programme for the coming season, and to introduce a new venture, Theatr Gen Creu.
As the NHS celebrates its 70th birthday in 2018, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru will be exploring the theme of Care and Community throughout the year, and touring two new productions across Wales. The first of these will be Y Tad, a new translation by Geraint Løvgreen of the award-winning French play, Le Père (The Father), which will be touring in February and March. In November and December, the company will present Nyrsys on tour – a new and powerful verbatim play by Bethan Marlow, that includes several original songs by Rhys Taylor.
The company will start the new year with a national tour of Y Tad, Geraint Løvgreen’s new translation of Le Père (The Father) by Florian Zeller, which is presented in association with Pontio. Dyfan Roberts will play the lead role, with a cast of familiar faces that include Catrin Mara, Dafydd Emyr, Fflur Medi Owen, Rhodri Siôn and Mirain Fflur. Arwel Gruffydd, the company’s Artistic Director, will direct the production. The play was the winner of the competition to Translate a Play into Welsh at the 2016 National Eisteddfod of Wales, and the original play was also the 2014 winner of the Molière Award for the Best Play, France’s most prestigious theatre award. The production will open in Pontio, Bangor on 21 February, before touring to Pontardawe Arts Centre, Theatr Felinfach (Aeron Valley), Lyric Theatre (Carmarthen), Sherman Theatre (Cardiff), Theatr Clwyd (Mold) and Garth Olwg Centre (Church Village, Pontypridd). Full details of Y Tad are available here.
Later in the year, Nyrsys will provide a platform for the experiences of nurses working in the NHS – the challenges they face on a daily basis, and the humour, the sisterhood and the sense of calling that sustains them. We will be given an insight into the daily activity of a cancer ward in a hospital in Wales today, in a bold and honest telling, unlike anything seen before, with a script and original songs shaped from interviews with ‘real’ nurses. This is a heartfelt portrayal of the lives and work of some of the heroines that care for us and our loved ones within a health system that is under constant pressure. Bethan Marlow interviewed nurses in various localities across Wales, and said of her experience and of this unique work:
“I’ve been interviewing cancer nurses for over three years now, and it’s been enjoyable, harsh, eye-opening and fun. Yes, I’ve laughed a lot, because these nurses are full of humour and stories which, at times, have left me aghast! It has been an honour to be able to put their experiences into a play and their voices on stage, and pure pleasure to set their words to song.”
With Sara Lloyd directing, Nyrsys will be presented in association with Pontio, and will go on a national tour of Wales in November and December 2018. Tour details to be confirmed shortly.
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is also delighted to introduce Theatr Gen Creu, a new venture that strengthens the company’s commitment to developing new writing in Welsh and to nurturing talent. Theatr Gen Creu reinforces one of the company’s strategic aims to develop the Welsh-medium theatre sector by supporting established, emerging and new artists and creating a variety of opportunities. As part of the company’s commitment to providing opportunities to developing the craft of writers and theatre makers, the 2018 Theatr Gen Creu programme will include the production of two plays by new playwrights – namely Estron and Milwr yn y Meddwl – two exciting training and mentoring schemes and a programme of presentations of works in development.
Estron, an alternative and contemporary play by Hefin Robinson, will go on tour across Wales during April and May. This heartrending and intriguing play won the Drama Medal at the 2016 National Eisteddfod, and the production in the Cwt Drama at the National Eisteddfod 2017 was extremely well-received by critics and audiences alike. Lowri Cooke said that the play “must be seen and experienced” and that it is “… fresh and witty, and creates an explosion of memories in the viewer’s mind.” We’re delighted to announce that the team who brought the play to life in 2017 will remain in place for the tour, with Janet Aethwy directing a cast that includes Gareth Elis, Ceri Elen and the voice of Elin Llwyd. Estron will be presented on tour across Wales, and will be available to venues through the Night Out scheme. The Arts Council of Wales’s Night Out scheme works in partnership with Local Authorities to support groups of volunteers across Wales in bringing professional productions to community venues. Full details of the Night Out scheme are available on the website nightout.org.uk. Estron is presented in association with the National Eisteddfod of Wales and Carmarthenshire Theatres. Further details of the tour will be released shortly.
At the Cardiff National Eisteddfod this year we will be presenting Milwr yn y Meddwl by Heiddwen Tomos, the work that won the Drama Medal at the Anglesey National Eisteddfod 2017. This is a raw and incisive work, that sheds light on the experience of a soldier who returns to his family and his community after serving his country in the Iraq War. Milwr yn y Meddwl will be a co-production between Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and the Sherman Theatre, in partnership with the National Eisteddfod of Wales.
As always we will continue, in partnership with the National Eisteddfod of Wales, to support and co-ordinate a feast of theatre at the Pentref Drama (Drama Village), which is home to the two pop-up venues – Theatr y Maes and Cwt Drama – although both will be rather different this year at Cardiff. As part of our programme at the Cwt Drama, which will be sited at the Wales Millennium Centre, we will present Creu yn y Cwt – a series of readings and presentations of works in development with the company (as part of Theatre Genedlaethol Cymru’s Theatr Gen Creu programme) by a variety of writers, some established and others emerging. This programme will provide an opportunity for these authors to take risks and to be bold and playful with their craft, and it will be a platform for the company to provide a snapshot of some of the work currently under development.
With 2018 noting 100 years since women in Britain won the right to vote, in April Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru will present at the Wales Millennium Centre, as part of a series of events celebrating the role of women in Welsh theatre-making, two evenings of rehearsed readings and presentations of works in development, opening with a presentation of Nyrsys by Bethan Marlow on 17 April. This will be an opportunity to have a foretaste of the full production that will follow in November. Then, on 18 April, we will present Merched yn Bennaf, a presentation of works by women – works that are currently in development with the company. And female theatre-makers will also be placed centre stage by way of our collaboration with Cardiff’s pub theatre venue, The Other Room. At the end of February, in association with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the winner of the Violet Burns Award for Playwrights will be announced, giving an opportunity for a Welsh female playwright who writes in the Welsh language to have her work developed and presented by The Other Room.
As part of the company’s commitment to developing new talent and providing professional development, and again as part of the Theatr Gen Creu programme of work, we are delighted to announce two new schemes that will be offered for the first time, namely Awenau: Cynllun Mentora Cyfarwyddwyr a Gwneuthurwyr Theatr (Mentoring Scheme for Directors and Theatre-Makers) and Grŵp Awduron (Writers’ Group).
Awenau: Mentoring Scheme for Directors and Theatre-Makers
This scheme will provide training and mentoring opportunities for directors and theatre-makers at the start of their careers, or those who are already working in the sector but who wish to change direction or broaden their experience. The intention is to inspire and develop the skills of future creative leaders of Welsh-language theatre, in order to assist them to confidently lead on the making of Welsh-language theatre productions. The scheme will include a varied programme of masterclasses with experienced theatre practitioners. It will also include an opportunity for each participant to work as assistant director on one of the company’s productions, an opportunity to witness and engage in the company’s script development work, and a residency at Y Llwyfan, the home of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.
The aim of this scheme is to create opportunities for new and emerging theatre writers, and to support the craft and skills development of those wishing to write for the Welsh-medium theatre. The group will be open to writers of all ages, and will provide an opportunity to take part in a number of workshops, in numerous locations across Wales, with experienced playwrights, dramaturgs and directors. The writers will have an opportunity to write a new play and receive detailed feedback from the creative team at Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, before a period of redrafting which will culminate in a reading of their work.
Further details of these schemes, of our collaborating partners, and on how writers, directors and theatre-makers can apply, will be announced shortly.
Many of the Theatr Gen Creu schemes will be led by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s Associate Director, Sarah Bickerton. Sarah said of this new venture:
“I’m really looking forward to welcoming a host of writers, directors and theatre-makers here over the year to explore, to experiment and to be brave! My hope is that the venture will be an exciting, inspiring and beneficial starting point for them and their ideas.”
Referring to the 2018 Programme and Theatr Gen Creu, Arwel Gruffydd, Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, said:
“The theme of Care and Community, in a year that sees the National Health Service celebrating its 70th birthday, offers us an opportunity to place centre stage a range of issues that affect each and every one of us in one way or another. It also allows us to celebrate the bravery of those in our communities who have to deal with challenging conditions on a daily basis, and the un-sung heroes who care for them and love them. New writing is key to this year’s programme, and we’re extremely pleased to support emerging professional writers and theatre makers and those who need support to take their next steps, not only in our productions but also by way of our ambitious new venture, Theatr Gen Creu. Female theatre-makers are also put centre stage in this year which marks the centenary of British women’s victory to secure the right to vote. We look forward to working with our many partners and to sharing this varied programme with our audiences in 2018 – projects that reflect the hive of activity and the treasure trove of talent that underpins the Welsh-language theatre sector today and in the future.”
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