Theatre in Wales

Commentary and extended critical writing on theatre, dance and performance in Wales

Boosting Writers: Homemade Theatre Matters

Drama of and for Wales at Theatr Clwyd in 2020

Self-confidence comes from accomplishment. But there is a difference between self-confidence and braggadocio. True self-confidence also comes with a measure of humility. Having liked yesterday the air of bounce that surrounds the Sherman it is time to turn to the north.

The company has a good story to tell. 700,000 people saw a Theatr Clwyd production in 2019. Revenue has grown 40% in the last four years. It has a multiplier effect above one, its presence estimated as generating £9,400,000 for the local economy.

It has a presence outside Wales. An Olivier award helps. Its current contribution to the London theatre scene in 2020 is unadvertised. It is only one of four theatres in Britain to have its own scenic construction team, prop-makers and costume-makers. In March 2018 the Dolphin Inn in Mold's High Street was host to the Guild of Misrule. Get the Chance had a reviewer at “the Great Gatsby”, reported on this site. Her sign-off was “without doubt a 5 star production and a must see.” The production is now in a brand new bespoke venue just off Bond Street and has clocked up in excess of 1,000 performances. The costuming of the company comes from the workshops in Mold.

The company's community engagement is broad, eclectic and unique. In the town “Project Hush”, later this year, is a follow-on from “the Mold Riots” and will mix professional and local actors. The company has taken over the provision of the music services for the county with a commitment to take music into every school in Flintshire. One of several initiatives with the local health board is a weekly group with sufferers of early onset memory loss.

But a theatre is judged by its primary objective. In 2019 it had eight productions of new work of which seven were by Welsh writers. The commitment to home-grown drama continues with the Tyfu/ Grow Creative Development Programme. The recipients of writers’ residencies are Hannah Daniel, Katie Elin-Salt, Jennifer Lunn, Wyn Mason, Lisa Parry, and Kristian Phillips. Companies’ residencies have been awarded to Archipelago, Francesca Goodridge and Dan Lloyd, PRIDD and Signdance Collective.

The Gladstone Library is a contributing partner. The Library proudly lists some of the writers who have found the space and quiet in Hawarden to get their fiction done. The Theatr Clwyd programme by contrast is not one of writerly retreat. The six Writers in Residence will be connected to the in-house productions of “Milky Peaks”, “For The Grace of You Go I” and “Project Hush”, two writers apiece on attachment during each production.

Theatre is the art of the dramatist. It is Aeschylus who is remembered not his director. The director is the servant of the author. Sherman and Clwyd exude fizz and ambition; along with the Operation Julie musical at the Eisteddfod and Daf James at Theatr Genedlaethol the prospects for 2020 look good.

author:Adam Somerset

original source:
11 February 2020


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