Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

The Long Night Wanes

Quarterly Critical Round-up

Na nÓg, Iolo, Ffwrnes, Lighthouse, Everyman , Performing Again in Wales , July 30, 2021
Quarterly Critical Round-up by Na nÓg, Iolo, Ffwrnes, Lighthouse, Everyman It is as fraught and fragile time as ever for performance. The regime of self-isolation, on a massive scale, is closing some theatre almost as soon as it has opened. Across London- Shaftesbury Avenue to Royal Court- the loss of one member of a production team has halted productions. In Glasgow the Citizens theatre had five performances of an outdoor production- “The Comedy of Errors” – cancelled in its first week. Manchester Home’s production of “Alice in Wonderland” was cancelled altogether.

The first performance in Wales was made by Theatr na nÓg in early June, the setting a field adjacent to Theatr Brycheiniog. “We Need Bees” was scripted by Katherine Chandler and riffed on social distancing, three-word mantras, bee-related puns. The first actors to be seen in a long time were James Ifan, Lara Lewis and Aled Herbert.

Aberystwyth Arts Centre reopened 21st June 2021 after closure on 17th March 2020. In addition to pandemic restrictions it was hit by flooding. Interim activities included virtual cinema, two online film festivals, digital dance classes, arts quizzes. Two artists were awarded studio spaces in the Heatherwick Studios. Dance classes and stage school have returned. The three galleries are hung with 500 artworks made in the first lockdown of spring 2020.

Llanelli’s Ffwrnes Theatre re-opened with an event with a difference. “Ghost Light” ran for six weeks, June 23 to July 31. The title refers to the symbolic Ghost Light, a light which is left on in every theatre while it is empty. The Ffwrnes’ Ghost Light shone throughout the pandemic.

Audiences were taken to areas usually only seen by the performers and theatre staff. Ghost Light’s Creative Director, Jane Lalljee: “It has always been a dream of mine to create a show that starts with the lighting concept and everything else supports and takes inspiration from the lighting... light that gets left on when the rest of the theatre is in darkness. The show is an exploration of light and sound in the parts of the theatre an audience would not normally be able to explore: backstage, dressing rooms and especially on stage. I want audiences to be part of the fabric of the experience and to feel the lighting and sound.”

The first tour belonged to Theatr Iolo. “HOOF!”, starring three tap-dancing deer, was created in collaboration with Kitsch & Sync. Lee Lyford, Artistic Director at Theatr Iolo: “Thanks to a capital grant from the Arts Council of Wales’ Cultural Recovery Fund, award-winning children’s theatre company Theatr Iolo were able to purchase and convert an old exhibition trailer into a travelling outdoor stage. As part of its extensive transformation, the travelling theatre has its own solar powered battery, making it more environmentally friendly.”

The “HOOF!” tour went to Theatr Clwyd, Theatr Brycheiniog, the Welfare in Ystradgynlais and ended at Cardiff's Summer of Smiles Festival.

Welsh National Opera performed- after an absence, they said, of 468 days- “Alice in Wonderland” in the gardens ar Dyffryn. Lighthouse Theatre reprised their production from 2014 about Josef Herman. It took the form of a walk through Ystradgynlais. of the 1950s, in the presence of Polish immigrant artist Josef Herman. Welsh National Opera performed- after an absence, they said, of 468 days, “Alice in Wonderland” in the gardens ar Dyffryn. Lighthouse Theatre reprised their production from 2014 about Josef Herman. It took the form of a walk through Ystradgynlais of the 1950s, in the presence of Polish immigrant artist Josef Herman.

Everyman Theatre performed “the Railway Children,” “Henry V”and “Richard III” at Insole Court and Tredegar House. More Shakespeare was seen at Carew Castle.

More information, with thanks, at:

WNO- https://www.buzzmag.co.uk/welsh-national-opera-alices-adventures-in-wonderland-stage-review/

Theatr Iolo- https://www.asiw.co.uk/news/theatr-iolo-on-the-hoof

Theatr Brycheiniog- https://www.buzzmag.co.uk/we-need-bees-stage-review/?fbclid=IwAR250OaBoWklrdfOrKbPL-9zW7b2TpioLiEO30F0CGn-4GrQzAEFDsLN3hY

“Ghost Light” at Ffwrnes- https://www.asiw.co.uk/news/ffwrnes-turns-the-lights-back-on

Full information, with thanks, at:

WNO- https://www.buzzmag.co.uk/welsh-national-opera-alices-adventures-in-wonderland-stage-review/

Theatr Iolo- https://www.asiw.co.uk/news/theatr-iolo-on-the-hoof

Theatr Brycheiniog- https://www.buzzmag.co.uk/we-need-bees-stage-review/?fbclid=IwAR250OaBoWklrdfOrKbPL-9zW7b2TpioLiEO30F0CGn-4GrQzAEFDsLN3hY

“Ghost Light” at Ffwrnes- https://www.asiw.co.uk/news/ffwrnes-turns-the-lights-back-on

Pictured: Ghost Light/ Joe Bach

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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