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National Theatre's map of Wales

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BBC Wales Arts BBC Wales Arts | 15:19 UK time, Thursday, 5 November 2009

National Theatre Wales today unveiled its much anticipated first programme of events, and what a spectacle it promises to be.

Established in late 2007 by the Welsh Assembly Government and the Arts Council of Wales, at the helm of the company is creative director John McGrath, who outlined the 13 exciting events that the company has lined up in their bid to create a "Theatre Map of Wales".


The programme kicks off in March 2010 with A Good Night Out in the Valleys, written by Alan Harris and directed by McGrath, to be staged in five different miners' institutes in the heart of the south Wales valleys.

April sees Shelf Life, a collaboration between the Volcano Theatre and Welsh National Opera that explores Swansea's Old Library while in May, National Theatre Wales will present a world premiere of John Osborne's The Devil Inside Him. The play, written when he was just 18 years old and only very recently discovered, will be directed by Elen Bowman at the New Theatre, Cardiff.

Visionary artist Marc Rees, who recently won the Wales bid for the Cultural Olympiad project, will deliver a multi-sensory journey with the help of a group of Welsh and international artists in Barmouth in June.

In July, in what was described as "theatre for the playstation generation" by NTW producer Lucy Davies, three leading young artists - Rhiannon Cousins, Carl Morris and Bethan Marlow - will create a new outdoor gaming event on the beaches of North Wales.

The autumn sees a new version of Aeschylus' classic play The Persians, by Kate O'Reilly and directed by Mike Pearson, is to be staged at the Army training camp at Sennybridge in the Brecon Beacons while playwrite Gary Owen returns to his home town of Bridgend to create a new piece of theatre, in partnership with Sherman Cymru.

Newport hosts a new production based on the stories of Gwyn Thomas, The Dark Philosophers, in November while December will see the creation of The Weather Factory in Snowdonia, directed and designed by David Harradine, in which the audience can discover the real drama of the elements.


The programme continues in 2011 with a multicultural project, The Soul Exchange. It will feature an international team of artists working alongside Welsh artists in Butetown, Cardiff, with the iconic venue of the Coal Exchange at the heart of this community-based event.

In February, Europe's leading company for "reality theatre" Rimini Protokoll will create a piece exploring the landscape and environment of Wales. It will be the first time the Berlin-based company have worked on a project outside of Germany, and Aberystwyth will be their focus.

March brings Mundo Paralelo, a partnership between NoFit State Circus and Torch Theatre,  and though National Theatre Wales had promised 12 shows in 12 months, they've managed to sneak in what will be a grand finale to their first year, or a spectacular start to their second.

Poet Owen Sheers will work with Hollywood star Michael Sheen on Passion in April 2011, along with actors, designers, musicians and the community of Port Talbot.

The brainchild of the actor, the three day event will be an epic contemporary re-working of a lost tradition - the Port Talbot community Passion play.

The actor has spoken on his involvement on the forthcoming project: "It is an honour to be a part of a National Theatre for Wales. I am both excited and terrified about this project. Which I suppose is the perfect state of mind to approach it in. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work in and with my hometown and to see what we can achieve together."

Exciting stuff indeed. Find out more on the National Theatre Wales website.


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