Theatre in Wales

The latest theatre, dance and performance news

Napoleon takes on Brexit in August012ís latest production     

Napoleon takes on Brexit in August012ís latest production New adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables juxtaposes the twenty-four bloody hours of the Battle of Waterloo against the events of the day of the 2016 EU referendum.
Victor Hugo dedicated nineteen whole chapters of his seminal novel, Les Misérables to the
complexity, absurdity and savagery of the Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon’s defeat sent Europe into turmoil. This March, Cardiff based theatre company August012 will stage this bitter English victory, whose outcome shocked both the victorious and the vanquished... alongside Brexit; with performances taking place at Chapter in the very week that the referendum results are due to take us out of the EU.
Following the referendum, director Mathilde López (formerly of National Theatre Wales),
undertook a week’s research and development with choreographer and NDCWales associate artist Matteo Marfoglia and composer/dj John Norton exploring the juxtaposition of the chapters about the battle and the day of the vote. Both events took place in 24 hours, had unexpected outcomes and shook Europe philosophically.
López explains:
“Our research confirmed our will not to attempt to encompass everyone’s thoughts or tell all the facts; we are not journalists and will embrace our subjective points of view, irrational fears, internal poetic landscapes and be truthful to the sense of loss, anger and fear that the
referendum unleashed.
“The whole Brexit episode has been so insulting and dishonest that I refused to hear anymore garbage from the press or politicians and threw myself into reading all the European classics I could - and Steinbeck too for the immense compassion - to be able to breathe again. Including Les Misérables, particularly the depiction of the battle of Waterloo where I felt a true resonance in what we had been living, the political and philosophical bafflement, disempowerment and ultimately the carnage.”
A raging theatrical lament, this production juxtaposes text adapted from Victor Hugo’s novel with us, Europeans in limbo, reflections of the referendum results whilst the auditorium turns into a battlefield.
Three actors, a DJ, a priest will work alongside young dancers from the University of South Wales BA (Hons) Dance course who will be trained by Napoleonic re-enactors from the Third East Kent Living History Group as battalion soldiers. The involvement of young people in the
production is particularly resonant. It reflects the fact that many soldiers during the Napoleonic wars were below today’s voting age and that whilst under 18s had no vote in the referendum, it is they who will feel the greatest impact of the long-term consequences of the political situation. Casting for the production will be announced in February.
August012 was founded in 2012 in Cardiff by Mathilde López to create International work in Wales and across the UK. The company endeavours to bring the writing and ideas of the rest of the world to Welsh stages; in English, Welsh and other languages.
The company’s productions question the way we live here and now and strive to be profoundly and structurally relevant to the nation today. August012 research, explores
and develop ideas and staging with actors, designers, musicians and creative technicians equally and look for ways to give opportunities to new talent. Their previous productions include Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men and Highway One, an epic site-specific coproduction
with Wales Millennium Centre’s Festival of Voice.
Artistic director Mathilde’s work is recognisable for its take on space, its irreverence for conventions, its relentless research into aesthetics and its investigation into audience involvement. A lover of text, she is equally at home devising new work or ravaging classics.
Mathilde is currently developing a site-specific jazz version of The Coronation of Poppea for Welsh National Opera at Llanishen Tax Office, and a binaural headphone version of Robinson Crusoe for Give It A Name with Bristol Old Vic.
Les Misérables opens at Chapter in Cardiff on Wednesday 27th March and runs until Saturday 30th. Tickets are now available from

The company with also be holding an open rehearsal at The Riverfront in Newport on Friday 15th March and open dance classes for young dancers and artists throughout the rehearsal period. Further details can be found at
August 012  
web site
Stella Patrick
Thursday, January 24, 2019back



Older news stories have been carefully archived.
2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999


Privacy Policy | Contact Us | ©2013 keith morris / red snapper web designs /