Theatre in Wales

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How To Be Brave - the new one-woman show from Welsh new writing theatre company Dirty Protest - tours Wales following success in Cardiff     

How To Be Brave - the new one-woman show from Welsh new writing theatre company Dirty Protest - tours Wales following success in Cardiff “A funny, intelligent, honest piece of theatrical storytelling”

(Wales Arts Review)

“Siân Owen has produced an engaging, fierce and, yes, brave play that puts women and working-class voices front and centre,
and she has done it with a funny narrative that theatrically is a joy to watch”
(Wales Arts Review)

“Part-Newport history lesson, part-family drama and wholly fantastic, How To Be Brave succeeds in everything it tries to do and more. *****
(Buzz Magazine)

“At times tragic, at others uplifting and insightful, and at all times thoroughly entertaining, How To Be Brave is a story about what makes us human and the times in life that really test how brave we are.”
(Buzz Magazine)

How To Be Brave – the new production from award-winning Welsh new writing theatre company Dirty Protest – is touring Wales following a successful opening week at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff.

The one-woman show about learning to brave when your world is falling apart will be performed at Torch Theatre Milford Haven tonight (Tuesday 19 March); Le Pub, Newport on Thursday 22-Saturday 23 March; Galeri, Caernafon on Wednesday 27 March; and at a community event with Coffee and Laughs at Community House, Eton Road, Newport, on Friday 29 March to raise funds for Bundle Clothing Bank and Birth Support.

How To Be Brave is written by Newport writer Siân Owen and is based on her own experiences as a mother in a fast-changing and confusing world, as well as being a love letter to the city that made her.

The show questions whether we become less brave as we get older and asks how we can teach our children to be brave when our world is crumbling around us and we don’t feel brave ourselves.

The one-woman play is told through the eyes of Katie, a mother determined that her young daughter will never lose the powerful, fierce magic she arrived into the world with. Katie herself has gone from a little girl who used to climb trees, ride bikes and go on adventures to an adult who worries about everything – and she is determined not to let the same happen to her daughter.

How To Be Brave follows Katie’s journey as she gets on her old childhood BMX and rides around Newport to find what she’s really made of. By listening to the unheard voices of the city, she begins to ask what the women who have gone before can teach her about how to be brave.

The one-woman monologue is performed by Laura Dalgleish whose previous stage credits include Much Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and Swallows & Amazons (Storyhouse Theatre, Chester – 2018 Rep Company) and three tours of family favourite Horrible Histories, as well as television appearances on BBC1’s EastEnders and Call The Midwife.

How To Be Brave is directed by Catherine Paskell, Artistic Director of Dirty Protest, whose production of Sugar Baby for the company was added to the British Council Showcase at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, as well as touring internationally and transferring to Soho Theatre.

The production began life as a short play that was performed at the 2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as part of Dirty Protest presents Many Happy Returns – a performance of five new short plays from five of Wales’ most exciting writing talent, to celebrate the company’s 10 year anniversary. How To Be Brave is in collaboration with Chapter and Newport Library, Museum and Art Gallery.

Dirty Protest has a strong reputation for creating lean, original, state-of-the-nation new writing productions from Wales. The company has worked with more than 250 Welsh writers since its launch in 2007, staging new plays in theatres and alternative venues, and collaborated with world-class co-producers, including National Theatre Wales, the Royal Court Theatre and the Traverse, Edinburgh.

Their 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe show Sugar Baby, Alan Harris’ one-man show about a young, small-time Cardiff drug dealer, received rave reviews at the festival with The Times calling it a “theatrical tour de force”. It was added to the British Council Showcase of that same year, and was invited back to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018 by public demand.

Catherine Paskell, Artistic Director of Dirty Protest and Director of How To Be Brave, said:

“Siân has been involved with Dirty Protest for many years. She has written for our short play events many times and we all love her incredibly funny, engaging and honest writing that is full of heart. The audience went wild for How To Be Brave when it was first performed at the Edinburgh Fringe as part of Dirty Protest presents Many Happy Returns – and we knew we wanted to create a full-length drama from her beautiful short play.

“Katie’s story will resonate with anyone who has ever wondered what happened to their childhood resilience and sense of adventure. This production explores the experiences of a woman, a parent, in her late 30s and we don’t see these stories, these women, on stage very often.”

Paskell added that as with all Dirty Protest productions, How To Be Brave has a comprehensive development and engagement programme. She said: “We are working with writers, artists and other participants in Newport and beyond, to develop the script, and celebrate and showcase all the talent that exists throughout Wales. We will have a short play night – Dirty Protest presents Face the Music – at Le Pub in Newport on Thursday 6th March, where local writers and performers respond to the theme of "Face the Music" to explore bravery in Newport in different ways. We are also working with local groups including Newport Writers, The Public Theatre, and local schools, to embed the play and the company in the creative heart that already exists in the inspiring city of Newport and work together to help us all rise.”

How to Be Brave
Dirty Protest

Written by Siân Owen
with Chapter and Newport Library, Museum and Art Gallery
Touring Wales, March 2019

Age guidance 14+


13 - 16 March

Chapter, Cardiff / Caerdydd

19 March
Torch Theatre, Milford Haven

21 - 23 March
Le Pub, Newport

27 March
Galeri, Caernarfon

29 March
Community House, Eton Road, Newport

Coffee and Laughs event funded by the Night Out Project, Arts Council of Wales and Resilient Communities and Fusion. The event will also include a café, raffle and stalls with work from local artists and charities. Tickets are available from Eventbrite.


Twitter: @DirtyProtest

Instagram: @dirtyprotesttheatre

Facebook: @dirtyprotesttheatre


Dirty Protest is Wales’ award-winning new writing theatre company.

Launched in 2007, the company has produced over 300 new plays by over 250 established and emerging writers, including Welsh writers Katherine Chandler, Gary Owen, Brad Birch, Alan Harris, Daf James, Ed Thomas, Kelly Jones, Tim Price, and Meredydd Barker and British playwrights including Duncan Macmillan, Rebecca Lenkiewicz, James Graham, Joel Horwood, Chloe Moss, Lucy Kirkwood, and Jack Thorne.

Dirty Protest stage original contemporary plays in theatres and alternative venues, including pubs and clubs, music festivals, kebab shops, hairdressers and forests. Alongside full-length productions, Dirty Protest stage regular short play nights where established and emerging writers are presented on the same platform, providing opportunities for writers, directors and actors. These nights present a shot of theatrical tequila without the paraphernalia, all for the price of a pint.

★★★★ The Times / The Scotsman / The Stage on Dirty Protest’s Sugar Baby

★★★★★ The Scotsman on Dirty Protest’s Last Christmas

“There are few people making theatre this exciting in Wales today.” The Guardian on Dirty Protest

Praise for Dirty Protest's Sugar Baby:

★★★★ "theatrical tour de force” The Times, ★★★★ “stonking good fun" The Stage, ★★★★ “the packed audience loves it” The Scotsman / Twitter: @DirtyProtest / Facebook: @DirtyProtestTheatre /

Instagram: @DirtyProtestTheatre

Siân Owen – Writer / Awdur

Siân was born and bred in Newport. She is a graduate of the MA Writing for Performance programme at Goldsmiths College. Siân has written for Pentabus (THIS LAND) and for BBC Radio 4 (PIECES). Her play RESTORATION won the Oxford Playhouse New Writing Competition. Siân is currently under commission with Box of Tricks Theatre Company, and has been part of the Sherman Cymru Advanced Writers Group, and the Royal Court Studio Group.

Laura Dalgleish - Katie

Laura’s screen credits include the BBC multi-platform comedy HALFWAY, as well as ORDINARY LIES (Series 2), CALL THE MIDWIFE and EASTENDERS.

On stage, Laura’s credits include MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, THE TEMPEST & SWALLOWS & AMAZONS (Storyhouse Theatre, Chester - 2018 Rep Company), HORRIBLE CHRISTMAS (Lowry and Alexandra Palace), three No.1 tours of HORRIBLE HISTORIES, and HEART SHAPED HOLE (PLAYlist Festival for Theatre 503).

Laura is also a skilled voiceover artist, voicing characters for TORCHWOOD audio dramas THE HOPE and ALIENS AMONG US, as well as the Big Finish Original Production BLIND TERROR:THE GODS OF FROST. Laura also stars in the BBC Radio Wales comedy series BRAVO TWO CHARLIES.

Catherine Paskell – Director

Catherine is Artistic Director of Dirty Protest and an independent performance director from Cardiff. Previous to this she was a founding Creative Associate of National Theatre Wales.

Catherine trained on the Theatre Directing MFA at Birkbeck, University of London and was resident director at Contact, Manchester and Octagon Theatre Bolton.

Directing credits include: Sugar Baby (Dirty Protest, Paines Plough’s Roundabout, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017, 2018 and Tour), Lightspeed From Pembroke Dock (Dirty Protest, Chapter and Tour), Twisted Tales (Institute of the Arts Barcelona), Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice adapted into Portuguese, for the Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Belo Horizonte (People’s Palace Projects/RSC), Parallel Lines (Dirty Protest, Chapter Cardiff and Tour), The Beach (Hide&Seek/National Theatre Wales), An Audience with Jeff Goldblum (The Junket Club/Edinburgh Festival Fringe), Top of the Hour (BBC Radio Wales), Drama Queen (Unity Theatre, Liverpool), White People (Theatre 503), Top Bunk (Oldham Coliseum), When the Lights Went Out (Tara Arts National Tour), Be the Hunter (Soho Theatre).

Catherine’s production of Parallel Lines for Dirty Protest won Best Production at the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards.

She is a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme and the RSA.


For more information on How To Be Brave, including interviews and review requests, contact Cathryn Scott, freelance PR on 07967 818 353 or email

Dirty Protest  
web site
Cathryn Scott
Tuesday, March 19, 2019back



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