News 10/06/2024

Announcing the Ha/Ha Writers

Graphic with Ha Ha playwrights. Left to right: Caryl Burke is a white woman with blonde hair. She wears a green top with white polka dots and black glasses. She is smiling. Mari Elen Jones is a white woman with brown hair with yellow highlights. She wears a paisley print shirt. She rests her chin on her hand and smiles at the camera. Geraint is a bald white man with blue eyes. He wears a blue shirt and looks into the camera. Gruffydd Ywain is a white male. He wears a white t-shirt, smiles with his teeth.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Theatr Clwyd have been searching for funny Welsh writers to be part of their new project, Ha/Ha. Following a highly competitive application process, the four successful writers are:  

Caryl Burke, Mari Elen, Geraint Lewis and Gruffydd Siôn Ywain.

The four selected writers will develop their ideas into 10-minute comedy plays which will be staged together in a rip-roaring hour of cheer and chuckles at this year’s National Eisteddfod in Rhondda Cynon Taf.

After an open call, a shortlist of writers were invited to present their ideas to a panel of staff from both companies and guest panellist, comedian Leila Navabi. The four successful writers have already begun developing their plays and took part in a writing workshop with renowned playwright and screenwriter, James Graham.

Building on the success of Theatr Gen and Theatr Clwyd’s last co-production, Rŵan/Nawr at the 2023 National Eisteddfod, directors Daniel Lloyd and Rhian Blythe are set to return with a top-notch cast and live music bringing the writers’ ideas to life from page to stage.

The directors look forward to bringing Ha/Ha to the Eisteddfod. Daniel Lloyd, Theatr Clwyd’s Associate Director, said:

“Following the huge success of Rŵan/Nawr last year, I’m thrilled on behalf of Theatr Clwyd to be collaborating with Theatr Genedlaethol once again on this year’s Ha/Ha. More than ever, we need a laugh, don’t we?! And we all know how comedy can get to grips with more serious topics and themes which challenge us and our way of living. From satire to the absurd – from the bittersweet to slapstick, the four writers have original voices and funny ideas and there will be something to appeal to everyone’s comedy tastes. I can’t wait to share Ha/Ha
with you all soon!”

Rhian Blythe, Theatr Gen’s Associate Director, said:

“Apparently, laughter can revive different organs in the body. Tickling them back to life, if you’d like. It makes the heart beat faster and lowers blood pressure. It can boost the body’s immune system, transform bad moods, and even reduce pain! Need I say more? See you there then?”  

Ha/Ha marks the beginning of a new long-term partnership between Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Theatr Clwyd, with the aim of developing and producing new Welsh-language comedy plays for audiences of all ages.  

You can read the four writers’ biographies below. Further information about the cast and creative team will be released soon.