Theatre in Wales

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Quarterly Critical Round-up

Theatr Clwyd, NTW, Theatr Genedlaethol, Grand Ambition, na nÓg, Flying Bridge , Theatre of Wales Spring 2022 , May 12, 2022
Quarterly Critical Round-up by Theatr Clwyd, NTW, Theatr Genedlaethol, Grand Ambition,  na nÓg, Flying Bridge On a journey north-east to south-east:

MOLD: The OLWEN WYMARK Theatre Encouragement Awards (set up by playwright MARK RAVENHILL and DAVID JAMES) give Writer Guild members the opportunity to publicly thank those who have given them a positive experience in new writing over the previous year.

DAVID JAMES: “The awards were set up to make a statement of how important encouragement is, based on the simple premise of saying ‘thank you’.


ALUN SAUNDERS: "Tamara Harvey and Liam Evans-Ford have thrown open their (metaphoric) doors to their local community, transforming Theatr Clwyd into a welcoming hub for anybody who might find it a useful point of contact. They have gone the extra mile to reach out to artists at all points throughout the lock-downs, reminding us that they’re there to listen to our concerns. I want to make it known that we see this and are grateful.

“I was recently commissioned by Theatr Clwyd to write a piece for Curtain Up, which saw 15 writers commissioned (and paid a fair fee) to write a 10-minute was an absolute thrill to be involved in such a production. I am humbled by the care and attention which Tamara and Liam have given writers like me – and, importantly, who are unlike me – and this is why I wanted to nominate them for an Olwen Wymark Award.


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WREXHAM. Wrexham, a dozen miles from Mold, is not a regular for theatre. NATIONAL THEATRE WALES' site disclosed that it had spent over £100000 in Wrexham.

The information swiftly vanished to read “Oops! That page can’t be found. It looks like nothing was found at this location.”

There is no report on the company site when- or indeed if- Wrexham is be the beneficiary of any theatre.

A poetry slam night takes place 12th May.


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ABERYSTWYTH. JACKDAW THEATRE performed in Aberystwyth's Studio “How to be Well in a World that is Sick?” It was advertised as autobiography transposed to performance. That is not a strong concept, nor is the merging of writer, director and performer into one person. It is not the way theatre works to best purpose.

The advertising for the show was not good. Public art in the public domain should write advertising copy aimed at the public. The copy started with rhetorical questions and declarations.

“The pre-show includes a grounding exercise to support audience well-being” and “attend if you feel it is safe for you to do so within your own self-care”: these are phrases of ill-defined meaning. Jargon for the few should not feature in publicly funded theatre for the many.

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CARMARTHEN. STEFFAN DONNELLY becomes new Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. He will work in partnership with Executive Director ANGHARAD JONES LEEFE as joint Chief Executives from June 2022.

His is a name which has been seen regularly on the cast list billboards outside the Globe Theatre. His company, Invertigo Theatre Company, has toured Wales and internationally with productions that include “Y Tŵr”, “My Body Welsh”, “My People” and “Derwen.”

EFA GRUFFUDD JONES, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: “We as a Board have been excited by Steffan’s artistic vision and enthusiasm, and we look forward to supporting Steffan and Angharad in their new roles. We want to see Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru going from strength to strength in building a contemporary theatre of excellence .”

It is a strange thing when it is to be welcomed that a Chair of a national theatre in Wales has an interest in staging theatre.


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SWANSEA. The post-pandemic era has seen an urge to perform. Productions over the years from Swansea have been of high quality, but irregular. A new venture GRAND AMBITION announced itself with a mission: "to create and produce bold and ambitious theatre drawing from the talents of Swansea based creatives and tapping into the cultural heritage and history of the area."

RICHARD MYLAN, MICHELLE McTERNAN, STEVE BALSAMO, and CHRISTIAN PATTERSON are the richly talented founding quartet. All four come from Swansea and have had close links to the Grand Theatre.

GARY OWEN, RACHEL O’RIORDAN and JULIA BARRY are cited as figures of weight in support of the company. Richard Mylan spoke on Radio Wales' Arts Show: "the response has been amazing, we just feel incredibly supported and loved already."


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NEATH. “Shirley Valentine” was acted by SHELLEY REES, directed by GEINOR STYLES, designed by JACOB HUGES and lit by CARA HOOD. The translation was by MANON EAMES.

“After a busy 3 months with two productions, 80 performances, 15 venues throughout Wales, audiences of nigh on 5,000, Theatr na nÓg are having a break over the Easter holidays. Our offices will be closed and our social media will fall silent.

“We feel it is time to relax and rejuvenate ourselves before the summer of shows. ‘Operation Julie’ at Aberystwyth Arts Centre during the National Eisteddfod at Tregaron and our Autumn production of ‘The Trial of Elgan Jones’ which will be on offer to schools throughout South Wales...Thank you and Happy Easter!”

Clarity, accomplishment, numbers, and a sense of public accountability.

This is a model for all artistic directors. There is no good reason why the Arts Council of Wales should not make statements of this kind mandatory for all in the public domain, themselves included.

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NEWPORT. After premiering "Horse Country" in Wilton's Music Hall in Autumn 2021 FLYING BRIDGE experienced a Covid-19 delay but DANIEL LLEWELYN-WILLIAMS and MICHAEL EDWARDS got to perform their two-hander. More tour dates are promised.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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