Theatre in Wales

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AWARD WINNING ACTORS GO ON THE EDGE...     

AWARD WINNING ACTORS GO ON THE EDGE... To celebrate the 5th anniversary of his On The Edge project Michael Kelligan will be presenting a new play ‘Dandelion’ by Blackwood-based poet and writer Patrick Jones at The Riverfront on Thursday 10 September at 7.45pm.

Many of Jones’ plays have been strong and challenging and whilst there is an underling questioning of the system, this play has a great deal of gentleness and beauty as we observe Rachel, Ernest, Mary and Mrs Hartson enjoying and depending on each other’s company as their days begin to draw to an end. Of course a Patrick Jones’ play has to have a rebel and Ernest, played by Kelligan fights the establishment determined to retain his individualism and dignity come what may.

Joining Kelligan in the cast will be three of Wales’ finest and best loved award winning actors, Sharon Morgan, best actress BAFTA Cymru 2008, Christine Pritchard, following two highly acclaimed performances, as the Nurse in The Wales Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet and in Pena Theatre’s highly regarded production of The House of Bernada Alba, also in that cast was Olwen Rees who plays the cantankerous Mrs Hartson. Olwen also appeared in The Almond and the Seahorse by Kate O’Reily, one of the first smash hits by Sherman Cymru.

The play will be directed by former BBC director Allan Cook best known for his work on the long running Welsh Soap Pobol Y Cwm,

What started in a small room in the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff with just Kelligan, playwright Alan Osborne and one actor friend reading a selection of scenes from Osborne’s renowned Merthyr Trilogy of plays, has over the past five years grown to become a highly regarded and much respected project making a unique and significant contribution to the theatre scene in South Wales. This first reading was followed by a production of Patrick Jones’ play The War is Dead Long Live the War.

Though not under the On The Edge banner the play went on to tour Wales. The plays are always presented script in hand, following the presentation of Dic Edwards play Utah Blue one critic remarked that this reading had made a far bigger impact than the original production of the play. The Play was later given a further production by Sherman Cymru.

Ian Rowlands’ controversial play Blink found difficulty in finding a theatre or company to put in on. As a result of Kelligan staging the play FAB Theatre were able to tour the play throughout Wales and take their production to New York. Other works by Edwards, Jones and Rowlands have been presented and Kelligan continues to build strong relationships with these and other up and coming writers.

He is now aiming to develop his Welsh Fargo Stage Company in order to tour full productions of plays by these and other Wales-based writers throughout Wales and further beyond and demonstrate the great strength of theatre art in Wales to a wider audience.

Now 70 years old, he thrives with his new heart that he had transplanted in him in 1991 in the famous Papworth hospital. The first half of his 2008 season had to be cancelled while he received treatment for cancer at The University Hospital of Wales in the Heath in Cardiff. Fighting fit again, he is already planning his On The Edge season for 2010 under the title ’Deadlier Than The Male’, a year of plays by female writers and directed by female directors.

Other plays in this current autumn season include Burton by Gwynne Edwards of Aberystwyth, a new one-man play in which Swansea Actor Rhodri Miles recreates the life of one of Wales’ most famous sons, currently receiving great reviews at The Edinburgh Festival. Straight Talk by Cardiff-based Dan Anthony, a surreal good cop/bad cop comedy and a revival of Ian Rowlands’ Marriage of Convenience to be directed by Gareth Potter who created the original role when the play was first produced in 1996.

Dandelion will be performed at The Riverfront on Thursday 10 September at 7.45pm in the intimate studio theatre and costs £4. A bargain to experience something that little bit different!

For more information visit www.newport.gov.uk/theriverfront or call Box Office on 01633 656757.
 
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