Theatre in Wales

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Wales Theatre Company's Hamlet     

This autumn, Shakespeare’s Hamlet will be performed on stages around Wales in the Bard’s own Elizabethan English and in Welsh, courtesy of a new translation by Gareth Miles, commissioned by the Arts Council of Wales. Under the direction of Michael Bogdanov, one of the UK’s leading Shakespeare Directors and recipient of two Olivier awards, The Wales Theatre Company’s Welsh / English back to back productions of Hamlet will open at The Grand Theatre in Swansea on 19 October before touring the length and breadth of the country.

This will be The Wales Theatre Company’s sixth production since it was founded in 2003. The Company was born out of the need for a theatre company in South Wales specialising in large-scale projects, and able to tour to venues across the country. It remains committed to producing medium and large scale works in both the English and Welsh languages, to continuing to raise the profile of Welsh Theatre throughout Wales and beyond and to forging links and developing co-productions with companies in the UK, Europe and Internationally. Under the Artistic Direction of Michael Bogdanov, it has rapidly grown in stature and has gained universal acclaim, and the aim now is to secure funding that will enable the The Wales Theatre Company to operate on a full time basis.

For Hamlet, the team that brought the highly acclaimed productions of Under Milk Wood, Twelfth Night, Cymbeline, The Merchant of Venice and Mal Pope’s musical Amazing Grace about Evan Roberts, have hand picked a cast of twenty leading Welsh actors including, Wynford Ellis Owen, Ryland Teifi, Kathryn Dimery, Ieuan Rhys, Bradley Freegard, Catrin Rhys, and Wayne Cater in the title role. Each of the actors will perform in Welsh and English on different nights and matinees.

Bogdanov has previously Directed Hamlet at The Old Vic Theatre, London for Germany’s leading National Theatre in Hamburg and at The Abbey Theatre Dublin for which he received the Harvey’s Director of the Year Award. Over the past thirty years, he’s developed a close relationship with the enigmatic Prince of Denmark, and with the play which Bogdanov describes as a northern European power struggle in his essay on Hamlet in his book ‘Shakespeare The Director’s Cut’: “no matter whether Hamlet is a homosexual misogynist, an Oedipal ditherer or a noble nutter, he is caught up in the mechanism of a great wheel that rolls inexorably over the Danish soil.”

Audiences, therefore, should not expect a portrayal of Hamlet as a wan, handsome philosopher – this production will focus on the political aspects of the play as a country prepares for war - a twenty four hour round-the-clock arms race. As Bogdanov explains “Just as troops are massing on the Danish border, a ghost tells Hamlet that his father was murdered by the guy in charge – his uncle. That puts a spoke in the wheel of the war machine! The situation is also a consequence of Hamlet being the thirty year old layabout heir to the throne messing around with the fourteen year-old daughter of the Prime Minister – it is bound to end in tears. And a conquering army”

Rehearsals begin in Cardiff in September. The production team led by Bogdanov includes Associate Director Kristy Jones, Designer Ed Thomas of Dr Who fame and Sean Crowley, with lighting design by Chris Ellis, sound by John Leonard and Fight Direction by the internationally renowned Malcolm Ranson.

The Wales Theatre Company’s production of Hamlet will open at the Grand Theatre, Swansea on Wednesday 19 October (01792 475715), with a Gala Welsh language performance on 21 October, and play there until Saturday 29 October before playing in Cardiff’s New Theatre 2 -12 November (02920 878889); The Torch theatre, Milford Haven 14 – 16 November (01646 695267), Theatre Brycheiniog, Brecon 17 – 19 November (01874 611622) and at the North Wales Theatre, Llandudno 21 – 24 November (01492 872000). Tickets will be on sale at each of these venues from mid August onwards.
Wales Theatre Company  
web site
Angharad Wynne
Monday, September 12, 2005back



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