Daniel Evans calls for bilingual theatre experience in Wales

Tuesday 3 August 2010, 12:35

Laura Chamberlain Laura Chamberlain

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Welsh actor and director Daniel Evans has spoken on the importance of engaging both Welsh and non-Welsh speakers in bilingual theatre in Wales.

Daniel Evans © Claire Newman-Williams

Daniel Evans © Claire Newman-Williams

The actor has called on the Welsh language national theatre, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, to reach out to English speaking audiences if it is to thrive, saying that contemporary drama offered by the company should be a truly bilingual experience.

""In the past, all of the shows have had surtitles but they need to provide a truly bilingual experience, which I'm sure would reach non-Welsh speakers as much as Welsh speakers," he says.

"It's great to put on a piece by Saunders Lewis, but you're in danger of ignoring an entire part of the sector in Wales - non-Welsh speakers."

Evans, a winner of two prestigious Olivier Awards, is acting as the honorary president at this week's National Eisteddfod. A discussion on the future of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is set to be held at the Eisteddfod this afternoon.

Read more on the story on the WalesOnline website.

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    Comment number 1.

    This is terribly misguided thinking. Theatr Genedlaethol's use of the Welsh language is one of its key distinctives.

    Yes, we should discuss ways it can reach new audiences including non-Welsh speakers via better communication about the work and the use of surtitles and other technologies - but NOT to the detriment of the company's core identity.

    Incidentally monolingualism itself is nothing unusual, it applies to thousands of theatre companies around the world. Why should Theatr Gen be any different?

    Bilingualism is fine. Wales already HAS bilingual national theatre - in the complementary form of its two national theatre companies - Theatr Genedlaethol for Welsh language and National Theatre Wales for English language. There is a lot of goodwill between the two. I should know because I recently co-wrote a production for the latter.

    I speak in my own capacity of course.

    But for what it's worth NTW's artistic director John McGrath is quoted in the WalesOnline piece as saying he'd be happy for the two companies to do a collaboration. That's the way to go.


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