Theatre in Wales

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"Company Will Not Hesitate to Rebut Inaccurate Claims"

National Theatre: Comment

Chairman Issues Statement , National Theatre of Wales , November 15, 2018
National Theatre: Comment by Chairman Issues Statement The writers of Wales, below 25th September, were joined by actors and directors. A month later, 19th October, the artistic director wrote a statement of 1229 words. It made no reference to the reforms that were called for.

A month later. 11th November, the Chair issued a statement of 845 words. It confirmed that no attention would be paid to the views of the artists of Wales.

“National Theatre Wales (NTW) is planning a programme of work for next year which will explore the nature of truth and our fragmenting sense of community, against a backdrop of the UK’s Brexit deadline and the moon landing 50th anniversary.

“Productions, further details of which will be revealed later this month, will take place in a variety of locations, connecting with audiences in Wales and beyond. Performances and events will be site-located in the landscape, found spaces, theatres, urban centres, rural locations and online. The company will prototype new ideas, as well as bring ambitious new work to formal theatre spaces.

“In keeping with NTW‘s eight-year history, Welsh talent will be at the centre of the 2019 season, featuring internationally renowned Welsh artists, as well as offering creative development opportunities for those wishing to further their artistic practice. As ever, NTW will work across the whole of Wales.

“Productions will come in many shapes and sizes. There will be a trilogy of work from a leading Welsh writer, located in the Welsh landscape, theatres and on digital platforms. The latest phase of The Storm Cycle, launched last year, will hit Wales in 2019, working with young people aged 16-25 – a section of the population with intense interests at stake in the Brexit story – to reflect and explore our own options for the choices we face.

“New writing, premiered as part of this year’s NHS70 Festival, which brought performances to every health board in Wales, will be taken to new and larger audiences.

“An immersive theatre experience with over 300 participants will mark Wales’ Year of Discovery and explore notions of difference and otherness.

“From May to November, a multi-artform installation will link Wales and Venice and provide rich digital rewards for our audiences.

“For the second year in succession, deeply embedded theatrical work will be undertaken in the communities of Wrexham and Pembrokeshire, and NTW will also launch a brand new two-year European project with partners in France, Romania and Portugal.

“NTW TEAM, which has over 1,000 members and is dedicated to continuous engagement with artists and communities, will become even stronger, exploring new ways to co-create work, building towards two new, original productions in 2020 and 2021.

“In addition to delivering one of its most ambitious programmes to date, NTW will host a series of meetings and creative exchanges as part of its next, three-year strategic review and ongoing dialogue with artists.

“Like the artists of Wales, NTW believes in an open-minded, plural and expansive theatre. One that is internationalist in its outlook but rooted in Wales and which seeks to make different kinds of theatre for Wales’ diverse audiences. The company welcomes this dialogue, but will not hesitate to rebut factually inaccurate claims.

“The suggestion that the company’s output has drastically diminished in the last two years is an example of such inaccuracy. During the leadership of the company’s founding Artistic Director (2008-2015), NTW staged 41 productions. During the tenure of current Artistic Director Kully Thiarai (since 2016), the company has staged 21 productions in just over two years.

“The company has a Wales-first casting policy. This means that NTW will always strive to offer roles first and foremost to Welsh and Wales-based performers. However, the company, in seeking to reflect the rich cultural diversity of Wales and in accordance to its stated aims on diversity, maintains the right to cast further afield to fulfil its artistic ambition.

“From day one, National Theatre Wales has sought to challenge and explore perceptions of what theatre can and should be. It has and always will seek to create extraordinary experiences for audiences and push boundaries to ensure a thriving and evolving theatre culture. That remains unchanged.

“NTW is open to constructive debate about the role and mission of a national theatre, in-line with its policy of being as transparent as possible, a core value of the company’s. As a national company, NTW recognises and respects that it holds a rare and privileged position that comes with huge responsibility. The company takes that responsibility very seriously. All strategic decisions are taken with great care and consideration. These are not easy or simple decisions to make – nor should they be.

“Eight years ago the company set out to be a radical and innovative force as Wales’ English language theatre, taking the whole nation of Wales as its stage and its passion. Those aims and ambitions are as true today as then.

“The company has won high praise from many quarters for its work, including its most recent production, Tide Whisperer, which transfixed the people of Tenby in September with its startling stories of refugees on land and sea. A huge hit with local audiences, the production has also been viewed by more than 9,000 people online in 28 countries around the world.

“NTW looks forward to delivering a rich range of work in 2019, as it also prepares for its 10th anniversary year in 2020 and a lively but fair-minded debate about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.”

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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