Michael Sheen Leads THE PASSION for National Theatre Wales & WildWorks in April

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In a spectacular finale to its triumphant launch year, National Theatre Wales joins forces with WildWorks and brings Port Talbot-born actor Michael Sheen back home to star in The Passion - a one-off theatre event with the community of Port Talbot at its very heart.

Easter. Port Talbot is in a battle for its life. Authoritarian forces have taken over the town and plan to change it forever. The atmosphere is explosive. Resistance is inevitable. How far will each side go? Into this comes a man who needs to listen. The stories he hears and the community he witnesses make him the most dangerous element of all.

Taking inspiration from one of the defining narratives of our times, this tumultuous production, scripted by Owen Sheers, and co-directed by Michael Sheen and Bill Mitchell, will take place across the town, with the people of Port Talbot as its cast, crew, and heroes.

The Passion is a three-day non-stop production which starts on the afternoon of Good Friday and ends on Easter Sunday evening. Across the weekend, there are programmed events which run only once, but around these key events, there will be constant unscheduled activity. Audiences can choose to attend one, some, or all of the weekend events, and may catch some unexpected surprises.

The cast includes 14 professional actors from Port Talbot and Neath: Matthew Aubrey, Nigel Barrett, Jordan Bernarde, Di Botcher, Darren Lawrence, John-Paul Macleod, Rhys Matthews, Francine Morgan, Kristian Phillips, Kyle Rees, Michael Sheen, Hywel Simons, David Rees Talbot, and Matthew Woodyatt. The character of the outsider will be played by Gerald Tyler. More than 1,000 local volunteer cast members will also perform in the production.

Recognised as one of the most talented of the new generation of British actors, Michael Sheen is equally accomplished on stage and screen. He has most recently has been - and heard - in a wide range of performances including: Tron, The Damned United, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Alice in Wonderland; Frost/Nixon, Underworld: The Rise of the Lycans, Music Within, his Emmy®-nominated starring role in The Special Relationship, and a recurring role on the hit comedy, 30 Rock. He will return to the stage later this year to play the title role in Hamlet, at the Young Vic in London. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London where, in his second year, he won the coveted Laurence Olivier Bursary for consistently outstanding performances. Michael has since received several accolades including Olivier Award nominations for Frost/Nixon (starring as David Frost in the London and Broadway productions), Look Back in Anger, Caligula and as Mozart in the West End production of Peter Hall's revival of Amadeus. Television credits include his BAFTA-nominated performance as Kenneth Williams in the BBC's Kenneth Williams: Fantabulosa!, and a BAFTA-nomination for his performance in Dirty Filthy Love. He was awarded an OBE in 2009.

Co-director Bill Mitchell has been making theatre for 35 years. He has worked with many companies and theatres around the country including The Young Vic, Bristol Old Vic, Welfare State, Walk the Plank and The National Theatre. He has lived and worked in Cornwall for 23 years, 18 of those with Kneehigh Theatre where he eventually became Artistic Director in 1997. Bill is an Honorary Fellow of University College Falmouth and lives in Redruth.

In 2005, Bill created his own company WildWorks to pioneer his passion; large site-specific landscape-Theatre Projects. At the moment, WildWorks is enjoying a two-year residency in Kensington Palace with the much-acclaimed Enchanted Palace. (www.wildworks.biz)

Owen Sheers was born in Fiji in 1974, and brought up in Abergavenny, South Wales. His debut prose work The Dust Diaries, a non-fiction narrative set in Zimbabwe, was short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize and won the Welsh Book of the Year 2005. Owen's second collection of poetry, Skirrid Hill (Seren, 2005), won a 2006 Somerset Maugham Award. Owen's collaboration with composer Rachel Portman, The Water Diviner's Tale, an oratorio for children, was premiered at the Royal Albert Hall for the BBC Proms 2007. Owen's first novel, Resistance (Faber, 2008) won a 2008 Hospital Club Creative Award and was short-listed for the Writers Guild Best Book Award. Resistance has been translated into ten languages. He recently wrote and presented the BBCFour television series A Poet's Guide to Britain and wrote the introduction and selected the poems for the accompanying anthology. His novella White Ravens (Seren, 2009), published as part of Seren's 'New Stories from the Mabinogion' series, is a contemporary response to the myth of 'Branwen Daughter of Ll?r'. Owen has recently co-written the screenplay for the film of Resistance, due to be released in 2011.

The weekend's worth of events begins on Friday, April 22.

For tickets, weekend event schedule and more information, visit www.nationaltheatrewales.org.

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Matthew Aubrey trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre credits include: War Horse (National Theatre); Thoroughly Modern Millie and Love Labour's Lost (RWCM&D). Television credits include: Gracie (BBC) and Sinking of Laconia (Talkback Thames/Teamworx). Radio credits include: Lemon Meringue Pie (BBC Radio 4).

Nigel Barrett trained at the Drama Studio.
Theatre credits include: Shelf Life (National Theatre Wales), Contains Violence (Lyric Hammersmith), The Unconquered (Traverse Theatre), Hide (Royal Festival Hall), The Mirror For Princes (Barbican), The Al-Hamlet Summit (Zaoum/Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre), and The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic Studio). Television credits include: Casualty, Dawson's Creek Special. Radio credits include: The Influence And The Life Of Edmund Shakespeare (BBC Radio 4).

Jordan Bernarde trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre credits include Muscle (Shock & Awe Productions); Romeo & Juliet (Erasmus Theatre); Rotten and The Boy Who Killed Tom Hopper (Undeb Theatre); A Tale of two Dogs (Out of Order Theatre); Measure for Measure and Two Princes (Theatr Clwyd); and A Flea in Her Ear and The Art of Success (RWCM&D). Film credits include: Clobber (Bang Pow Productions). Television credits include: First Light (Lion Television for BBC).

Di Botcher trained at Webber Douglas.
Theatre credits include: West End productions of A Flea In Her Ear (Old Vic); Chicago (Cambridge Theatre); Beauty and the Beast (OriginAl West End cast) and Cats (New London); also Under Milk Wood, Absence Of War, A Little Night Music, Cardiff East (National Theatre); A Midsummer Nights Dream and Speculators (RSC); Amazed and Surprised, Terrorism, Black Milk (Royal Court); Flesh and Blood (Hampstead Theatre); Card Boys (Bush Theatre); If So, Then Yes (Jermyn St Theatre); A History Of Falling Things (Theatr Clwyd); Blood Brothers (Sherman Cardiff); Loose Ends, A Kiss On The Bottom and The Oyster Catchers (Swansea Grand), Sunday In The Park With George (Leicester Haymarket); Habeus Corpus (Northampton); Into The Woods (Manchester Library); Small Change (Basingstoke); Trafford Tanzi (Plymouth) and Les Miserables (Copenhagen).
Television credits include: Come Fly With Me, Safety Catch, Sherlock Holmes-The Great Game, Doctors, Lennon Naked, Rhod Gilbert's Misery, Belonging, High Hopes, Little Britain, Katy Brand's Big Ass Show, Tittybangbang, No Signal, Coming Of Age,, Colission, Dustbin Baby, Murphy's Law, Pulling. The Thick Of It, Bleak House, Cruise Of The Gods, Tipping The Velvet, Casualty, ‘Orrible, People Like Us, Fun At The Funeral Parlour, Sunburn, The Alistair McGowan Show, Ideal, All About George, Green Wing, Life and Debt, Rhinoceros and Kavanagh Q.C. Film credits include: Hunky Dory, Twin Town, Albert Landers, All Or Nothing, Light In The City.

Darren Lawrence at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Directing credits include: Hair, Philistines, Jane Eyre, Three Sisters, All My Sons, The Glass Menagerie, Anthony and Cleopatra, The Seagull, Toast, The Memory of Water, Richard III, West Side Story, The Mill On The Floss, My Fair Lady, Romeo and Juliet, Cloud Nine, Roots, Children of The Sun, and most recently Stephen Sondheim's Company.

John-Paul Macleod trained at RADA.
Theatre credits include: Spies (Theatre Alibi) and King Lear (Headlong Theatre/Liverpool Everyman). Film credits include: The Testimony Of Taliesyn Jones (ICA Films); To Kill A King (Fairfax Films Ltd); and Calendar Girls (Buena Vista). Television credits include: Casualty, My Boy Jack, and Doctors (BBC).

Rhys Matthews trained at RADA, and is co-artistic director of the Graduate Theatre Company.
Theatre credits include: Romeo & Juliet (Sprite Productions); Pomegranate (Manchester Royal Exchange); Great Expectations, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Richard III (Cunard); Rashamon (RADA graduates); Loose Ends (Grass Roots Productions); and Dumb Waiter (Graduate Theatre Company). Film credits include: Out My Window (Independent Film). Television credits include: Being Human (BBCThree); and Caught in the Web (BBC).

Francine Morgan trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre credits include: The Aspern Papers, Theatre Royal Haymarket, The Merry Wives Of Windsor, and The Dillen (RSC); A Midsummer Nights Dream and King Lear (Renaissance Theatre Company World Tour); Anthony Minghella's A Little Like Drowning (Chester), Absurd Person Singular and A Month Of Sundays (Leatherhead), The Provok'd Wife (Oxford Stage Company), All My Sons, Theatre Wales and Dancing at Lughnasa, Salisbury. Television credits include: Taggart, Tiger Bay, Casualty, Doctors, Midsomer Murders, Rosemary and Thyme, Holby City and Torchwood.

Kristian Phillips trained at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.
Theatre credits include Romeo and Juliet; On the Razzle; and Macbeth. Since graduating, Kristian has performed with up-and-coming Welsh theatre company Likely Story.

Kyle Rees trained at the Royal Scottish Academy.
Theatre credits include: Romeo And Juliet, American Clock, and Hedda Gabler.
Television credits include: Emmerdale, The Indian Doctor, The Cut, and Hollyoaks.

Hywel Simons trained at LAMDA.
Theatre credits include: Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie (Northampton), Liaisions Dangereux (New Vic Theatre) and Dracula (National Tour).
Television credits include: Casualty 1907, Hyperdrive, and People Like Us (BBC).
Film credits include: Enigma, Shakespeare in Love and Wilde.

David Rees Talbot trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre credits include: Great Expectations (Aberystwyth Arts); Steal Atime (Antic Corporations); and Crazy Gary's Mobile Disco (Paines Plough). Film credits include: Churchill: The Hollywood Years (Little Bird Films). Television credits include: Crash and Casualty (BBC); Peter Slater Comedy Lab (Channel K); The Bench/Magistrate and Score (BBC Wales). Radio credits include: The Look Across The Eyes (BBC Radio 4).

Gerald Tyler's theatre credits include The Persians (National Theatre Wales) and In the Penal Colony (Music Theatre Wales). He produces his own works including Big Hands and Something's Wrong with Abel. Past collaborators have included Eddie Ladd, Volcano, Brith Gof, Earthfall, Sherman Cymru and Scottish Dance Theatre.

Matthew Woodyatt trained at Rose Bruford College.
Theatre credits include: The Nutcracker (Theatre Royal Bath); Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre); War Horse (National Theatre); Mack & Mabel (The Criterion Theatre & UK Tour); Alice in Wonderland (Nuffield Theatre Southampton & Tour); The Importance of Being Earnest (New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich). Television credits include: Arrows of Desire (Optic Nerve).

The establishment of an English language National Theatre company for Wales was a commitment in the Welsh Assembly Government's One Wales programme. The Welsh Assembly Government and The Arts Council of Wales are supporting National Theatre Wales with funding of £3 million over three years.

National Theatre Wales creates invigorating theatre in the English language, rooted in Wales, with an international reach. For more information on National Theatre Wales' shows visit: nationaltheatrewales.org.

 

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