Dirty, Gifted and Welsh - a celebration of new Welsh theatre writing

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A host of exciting new writers will be at the Park and Dare theatre in Treorchy this Friday for an event to celebrate emerging Welsh talent.

The day is being arranged by the theatre group Dirty Protest in collaboration with National Theatre Wales and features a variety of panels, short plays and rapid response writing to get the creative juices flowing.

It is aimed at writers, aspiring writers or those that enjoy watching new writing in close quarters.

It will begin with a series of writers' surgeries where people including NTW's artistic director John McGrath, executive producer Lisa Maguire and Dirty Protest playwright Catherine Paskell will offer advice on how best to work with key people within the industry and answer questions in an informal setting.

There will also be a Dirty Protest 'greatest hits' event where members of the group will perform the best of their scratch plays from the past six years. 

At lunchtime guests can take part in a Q&A with writer Nick Payne - the youngest ever winner of the Evening Standard Award for best play, once described by The Telegraph as 'The Tom Stoppard of his generation'.

Several of his plays have enjoyed successful West End runs. His debut play If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet won the George Devine Award and was produced on Broadway with Jake Gyllenhaal.

After the Q&A there will be a panel on women in Welsh theatre with Kath Chandler, Lisa Jen Brown, Helen Griffin, Lisa Parry and Rachel Trezise, whose debut play Tonypandemonium is currently running at the Park and Dare as part of a month-long residency, Made In Treorchy, by National Theatre Wales. 

Rachel Trezise. Photo courtesy of National Theatre Wales

The day also includes a promenade performance of Dirty Protest's Plays in A Bag that they took to the Royal Court this summer, and a rapid response scratch event, where eight writers will create plays in response to this week's Rhondda Leader. 

Playwright and Dirty Protest co-founder Tim Price said it was an event not to miss.

"Over the past six years we've unearthed and supported the finest talent in Wales, some of whom have gone on to great things like Brad Birch and Kit Lambert. We'll be celebrating Dirty Protest's success by reviving the short plays we've loved over the years.

"Normally we give writers four weeks to write a short play, but at Dirty, Gifted and Welsh we're giving eight writers two days to write a short play.

"The super-quick turnaround is because all plays will be inspired by this week's Rhondda Leader. So audiences can come along and see the best writing talent in Wales, writing about the local Rhondda stories."

He added that Nick Payne's participation marked a real coup.

"He is one of the finest writers of his generation. Constellations is a modern classic, which will be reproduced for the rest of our theatre-going lifetime.

"It's a real honour to have Nick coming to the Rhondda and imparting his wisdom. It's going to be a hugely exciting, busy, messy day of new writing."

Other events include work by the Write Stuff Young Playwright Project - which is supported by Literature Wales, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Bridgend Country Borough Council Arts Development, scenes from Before I Leave by Patrick Jones and a reading of Geared by Matthew Trevannion, both of which are National Theatre Wales commissions.

Members of Dirty Protest. Photo: Tom Beardshaw

Other writers taking part are Sandra Bendelow, Brad Birch, Rhiannon Boyle, Matthew Bulgo, Tracy Harris, Matt Hartley, Kelly Jones, Kit Lambert, Carmen Medway-Stephens, Benjamin Partridge, Hassan Panero, Aled Roberts, Alun Saunders, Frank Thomas and Roger Williams.

Tickets for the event and Tonypandemonium can be booked online. Tickets for Dirty, Gifted and Welsh are £2.50 but if you buy a ticket to Tonypandemonium you get in free of charge.

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