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National Theatre Wales Announces Next Productions Tackling The History Of Wales' Labour Movement

National Theatre Wales has today (Mon 1st May; International Workers' Day) announced projects that will focus on two totems of Wales' long history of collectivism and industry; the birth of the National Health Service, brainchild of Tredegar-born Aneurin Bevan in 1948, and the Port Talbot steelworks.

  • We're Still Here, A New Production Inspired By The Real People Behind The Politically-charged Headlines In Port Talbot, Is About The Town's Steelworks, And The Community That Relies On Them. It Will Be Performed In A Warehouse In The Town In September 2017, And Is On Sale Now. It Is Created With Common Wealth And Written By Rachel Trezise
  • To Mark The 70th Anniversary Of The National Health Service In 2018, The Company Calls On People In Wales To Share Their Stories Of The Impact It Has Had On Their Lives, For A Series Of Seven Live And Digital Productions Made Across Wales
  • Both Productions Are In Keeping With The Company's Tradition Of Making Work Inspired By Real Stories Told By The People Most Affected
  • Further Productions To Be Announced Later In The Year

Port Talbot, September 2017

Six years after National Theatre Wales staged its iconic The Passion in Port Talbot on Easter weekend 2011, the company returns to the town this September, with multi-award-winning theatre company Common Wealth, to stage a brand new play written by Rachel Trezise.

Inspired by conversations with steelworkers, union members and the wider community, We're Still Here will be the first theatrical response to one of the biggest recent news stories in Wales - which resonates with steel towns the world over - and will feature evocative soundscapes and visual feats in a jaw-dropping setting.

Port Talbot steelworks, one of the last heavy industries in Wales, where generations of steelworkers carry their craft.
Standing shoulder to shoulder, sharing their space. These are the leaders, workers, fathers and sons.
"It gives you a funny feeling, right here in your solar plexus, when people come together to speak up for themselves."

Speaking about We're Still Here, National Theatre Wales' Artistic Director Kully Thiarai said: "The community of Port Talbot embraced us wholeheartedly and participated fully in the extraordinary event that was The Passion. We are delighted to be returning to the town this year, with a brand new production tackling a hugely important local, national and global issue, as told to us by that same community."

Common Wealth make award-winning site-specific theatre events that encompass electronic sound, new writing, visual design and verbatim. Their work is political and contemporary - based in the present day, the here and now. It is relevant and addresses concerns of our times. Common Wealth seek out places to stage their work that are right at the heart of a community; a residential house, a boxing gym, places where people who might not go to the theatre might come to instead. They see their plays as campaigns, as a way of bringing people together and making change feel possible.

Common Wealth said: "We were drawn to Port Talbot because of the powerful voices that were coming out of the recent Save Our Steel campaign. Watching the campaign unfold and the community rally together gave us hope in a time where we don't usually see people stand together for what they believe in. For us, seeing working class leaders organise and inspire communities felt so necessary in a time when working class people are often marginalised from public debate.

"Interviewing steelworkers and union leaders has taught us so much about looking after each other, dignity and the importance of saying 'no'. We see this production as an opportunity to champion and share the wisdom from the Save Our Steel Campaign, for us to remember who we are, where we come from and what we can be."

Writer Rachel Trezise was born in Rhondda in south Wales, where she still lives. She studied at Glamorgan and Limerick Universities. Her novel In and Out of the Goldfish Bowl won a place on the Orange Futures List in 2002. Harpers & Queen magazine voted her New Face of Literature, 2003. In 2006, her first short fiction collection Fresh Apples won the Dylan Thomas Prize. She was writer in residence at the University of Texas, Austin in 2007. Her most recent novel is Sixteen Shades of Crazy. Her second collection of stories, Cosmic Latte, won the Edge Hill Readers' Award in 2014. Her debut play, Tonypandemonium, was produced by National Theatre Wales in 2013, and performed at Treorchy's Park & Dare Theatre.

Book your tickets now for this major new production.

Full listings information for We're Still Here:

National Theatre Wales & Common Wealth present
Created by Rachel Trezise and Common Wealth
Writer: Rachel Trezise
Co-Directors: Evie Manning & Rhiannon White
Composer/Sound Designer: Wojtek Rusin
Designer: Russell Henry
Lighting Designer: Andy Purves
Movement Director: Vicki Manderson

Dates: Friday 15th - Saturday 30th September 2017
Location: Byass Works, Old Dock Road, Port Talbot

Box Office
By phone: 029 2037 1689

Tickets: £15, £12.50 conc, £10 local ticket

@ntwtweets @Common_WealthHQ

Locations across Wales, 2018


On 5th July, 1948, one of the biggest ideas ever to come out of Wales was born. The brainchild of Ebbw Vale MP and the UK's Health Minister Aneurin "Nye" Bevan, the National Health Service was a revolutionary idea, formed along with the Welfare State during Britain's austere post-war period, and under the principle of collective responsibility.

Working with communities and artists, National Theatre Wales will celebrate the NHS's 70th birthday in 2018 with a series of seven multi-platform productions, made and performed live across the country and online. Digital storyteller Lisa Heledd Jones and director Marcus Romer join National Theatre Wales today in inviting the public to share stories about their own experiences with the NHS in Wales; from straightforward GP appointments to life-saving operations, from patients, doctors, porters, surgeons, relatives, and everyone in between, from cradle to grave. The company will use those stories as inspiration for the seven artistic works, collectively forming a love letter to the NHS from the country of its birth. National Theatre Wales' Artistic Director, Kully Thiarai, will direct at least one of the seven productions.

Get in touch...

Speaking about NHS70, National Theatre Wales' Artistic Director Kully Thiarai said: "The National Health Service was a big idea, born in Wales at a time of austerity. Its core principles of a health service free at the point of use and available to all has affected the lives of millions of people across Britain, and 70 years on, NTW joins the people of Wales in celebrating one of its biggest and far-reaching achievements."


Photo credit: Elfen

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