We’re delighted to announce that we will be touring Y Cylch Sialc this autumn. This production will be a new Welsh adaptation of Bertolt Brecht’s classic play, Der kaukasische Kreidekreis (The Caucasian Chalk Circle) by the author and poet Mererid Hopwood, and will include songs and music composed and performed live by Gwenno.
Y Cylch Sialc is an adventure story following the tale of a young girl who has to leave her home during a war and decides to sacrifice everything in order to save a child. The play – one of the classics of the twentieth century – is bursting with humour, music and lively characters.
Arwel Gruffydd, Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, said: “This is the first time that Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru will stage one of Brecht’s plays, and I’m delighted that we’re working with Mererid and Gwenno to create a brand new adaptation of this classic. Y Cylch Sialc is a powerful play with a story which is as relevant now as it was when the play was first written.”
Mererid Hopwood is an academic, author and poet. She has won the Chair, the Crown and the Prose Medal at the National Eisteddfod, and her volume of poetry, Nes Draw, won the poetry category of the Welsh Book of the Year Award in 2016; in addition, her novel for children, Miss Prydderch â’r Carped Hud, won the 2018 Tir Na n-Og Award. Mererid is returning to work with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru following her two previous adapations for the company, namely Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll (2014 – in a co-production with Sherman Theatre) and Tŷ Bernarda Alba (2009).
Mererid said: “Y Cylch Sialc is a play that provokes the audience. It challenges our expectations, and challenges the system. Side by side with the humour, the tenderness, the tension and the sympathy, Brecht leaves plenty of opportunity to make us think again about how the world goes around. Who ‘owns’ what? And what is the nature of our relationship with each other?”
Gwenno, who is originally from Cardiff, has starred on stages worldwide as a singer and composer. She has already toured with Elton John and Pnau, and will shortly tour Britain and Ireland with the Manic Street Preachers. Gwenno won an award for the Welsh Album of the Year at the Meifod National Eisteddfod 2015, and in November 2015 she was the winner of the Welsh Music Award 2014/15. She has also performed as a dancer in productions such as Lord of the Dance and Riverdance (Michael Flatley Productions). In addition to performing her own music live during Y Cylch Sialc, Gwenno will also be playing the part of The Singer in the play.
Gwenno said: “It is an honour and privilege for me to work with Sarah Bickerton, Mererid Hopwood and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru on this play by Brecht. I’m looking forward to getting to grips with the original uncompromising vision, analysing it anew from a musical point of view, and presenting it to audiences throughout Wales.”
Sarah Bickerton, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s Associate Director, will be directing the play. Sarah directed two of the company’s recent productions, namely Nansi (2015/16) and Hollti (2017); she was also the associate director for Y Bont (2013).