National Theatre Wales Announces Third Season

National Theatre Wales Announces Third Season

National Theatre Wales's third season will include four new productions by Welsh writers alongside four residencies - in Butetown, Cardiff; in Japan; on Anglesey and in Treorchy - and two large-scale productions - a touring gig with Neon Neon's Gruff Rhys & Boom Bip, and an adaptation of Terry Jones' children's book Fairy Tales staged at Cardiff Castle.

Each residency will feature a new production created by some of the country's very best writers and performers...

In Butetown, Cardiff, March 2013
De Gabay, a one-day, site-specific exploration of the Butetown area of Cardiff, with a focus on the lives of its young Somali poets and the generations that came before them, written by a group of young, local poets. Audiences will move from private living rooms to wide boulevards to Cardiff's political centre, swept along by both intimate and large-scale spectacular performances including an extraordinary parade.

In Tokyo, Japan, in April 2013
The Opportunity of Efficiency, written by Alan Harris and directed by John E McGrath. A story of small lives caught up in a global power struggle, performed in Japanese at the New National Theatre, Tokyo - this will be NTW's very first international production, and its first collaboration with another National Theatre.

On Anglesey, north Wales, June 2013
Things I Forgot I Remembered, a co-production with Hoipolloi. This show will bring Anglesey's most famous son, Hugh Hughes, home to the island for the very first time to be reunited with the family he'd left behind. Audio walks around Anglesey will allow audiences an even more intimate glimpse into the life and times of one of its most intriguing sons, and his thoughts on the island where he was born.

In Treorchy, south Wales, October 2013
Tonypandemonium, by Rachel Trezise. A hard-hitting, hilarious and autobiographical play about a young girl and her alcoholic mother, set in Trezise's native south Wales valleys, and performed at the Park & Dare as part of its centenary celebrations.

Alongside those productions, the four residencies will each include over a month of collaboration with local artists from all disciplines; up-and-coming, mid-career and beyond, through the company's WalesLab initiative. The NTW Assembly programme will also take root in the four locations. National Theatre Wales will work alongside the Welsh Music Foundation, which supports and assists the development of the music industry in Wales, to present up-and-coming bands.

Two additional, large-scale productions will be produced in 2013...

Praxis Makes Perfect, in May 2013 in Cardiff, and on tour
A touring rock gig by Neon Neon (the music collective led by the Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys, and artist Boom Bip), written by Tim Price and directed by Wils Wilson, and based on the extraordinary life of Italian publisher and political activist Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.

Silly Kings, in December 2013/January 2014 at Cardiff Castle
Former Monty Python Terry Jones's Fairy Tales - beloved by children and adults alike - will be brought to life in the capital's dramatic castle over Christmas 2013.

Also today, the company launches its newly redesigned website at featuring a live, multiplatform content stream, improved accessibility, and an open News section offering professional and social media users free, downloadable audio, video, images and press releases*.

Additional 'surprise' productions will be announced later in the year.

Artistic Director John McGrath said: "Everyone at National Theatre Wales is immensely excited to be launching into our third year of work. With projects ranging from our premiere in Tokyo to our Anglesey and Treorchy residencies to our Christmas takeover of Cardiff Castle, we are truly digging deeper and traveling further than ever before. And with artists ranging from Gruff Rhys to Terry Jones to Rachel Trezise on board for the year, we can once again promise the very best of Welsh talent to ever-growing Welsh and international audiences."

Chair of National Theatre Wales' board Phil George said: "'This is a very exciting third season for National Theatre Wales. It takes the company deeply into Welsh communities, from Anglesey to Butetown and Treorchy, and it gives our work international profile in Japan. And I'm thrilled that we'll be offering bold large-scale productions with Praxis Makes Perfect and Silly Kings."

MARCH 2013


Written by Daud Farah, Ali Goolyad, Ahmed Ibrahim Hassan, Hassan Panero & Ahmed Yusuf

Directed by Jonathan Holmes

Date: Sunday 3rd March, 2013

Location: Butetown, Cardiff city centre and the Bay

The first production in National Theatre Wales' third season, De Gabay [The Poem], will be a one-day, site-specific exploration of the Butetown area of Cardiff - home of the largest Somali population outside Somalia.

The day will begin with visits to private houses across Butetown for a series of intimate performances by poets and residents. Later, two extraordinary parades will emerge from secret locations across Cardiff - representing different generations that have come to the bay area - and travel to Wales' political heart, in Cardiff Bay. On arrival, the audience will experience a one-off parliament where young Somali poets will take the place of politicians, linked digitally to young people and artists across the world.

De Gabay will be live-streamed to key port towns around the world. Audiences will be able to interact with and watch the production, as well as films made in and by international Somali communities, online.

Audiences who book tickets will receive an email in the days before the show, with details of where to begin their day on Sunday 3rd March. All proceeds from ticket sales (for which only a voluntary payment will be asked) will be donated to future community projects in Butetown. Anyone who wants will also be able to join the show during the parades, at the Assembly building or for the finale, without the need for a ticket.

De Gabay is being produced with support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation's participatory performing arts programme. National Theatre Wales was awarded £175,000 in June 2011 for the development of a new performance piece of uncompromising quality which brings together leading professionals and people from local communities.

The cast and crew will include members of the local community, and will be announced in February 2013.

Jonathan Holmes is the director and founder of Jericho ( In 2007, he wrote and directed the testimony play Fallujah in a found space on Brick Lane. In 2008, with The Sixteen he revived Henze & Bond's opera Orpheus Behind the Wire at the Southbank Centre, and in 2009 his testimony play Katrina was produced in association with the Young Vic. In 2010, his documentary feature Perpetual Peace was premiered at the South Africa International Film Festival. With the Royal Ballet he recreated the Inigo Jones/Ben Jonson masque Love Freed from Ignorance and Folly in 2011, and he also wrote the libretto for Liza Lim's opera The Tongue of the Invisible. His original play Into Thy Hands premiered at Wilton's Music Hall in June 2011, while in autumn of the same year his production of The Tempest ran for five weeks at the Barbican and became the first to tour throughout both Israel and the West Bank. In 2012, he premiered four monologues by Samuel Beckett, performed by Alan Howard as part of Spitalfields Festival.

The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation is a European charitable foundation established in Portugal in 1956 with cultural, educational, social and scientific interests. Its founder, Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, was an Armenian born in Turkey. Multicultural and multilingual, and a noted art collector, he spent his career bringing people from different cultures and nationalities together. Based in Lisbon with branches in London and Paris, we are in a privileged position of being able to address national and transnational issues and to act as an 'exchange' for ideas. The purpose of the UK Branch, based in London, is to help enrich and connect the experiences of people in the UK and Ireland and secure lasting, beneficial change. For more information, visit

Date: Sunday 3rd March 2013

Times: Events between 10am and 8pm

Location: Cardiff city centre, Butetown and the Bay

Box Office: / WMC 029 2063 6464

Tickets: By voluntary donation

Please note: Specific times, locations and instructions will be sent to the audience upon purchase of a ticket

Tag: #degabay

APRIL 2013


In association with the New National Theatre, Tokyo

Written by Alan Harris

Directed by John E McGrath

In Tokyo, Japan

Alan Harris (writer of NTW's first ever production, A Good Night Out in the Valleys) returns to create the company's first ever international production, set in Wales but staged at the New National Theatre, Tokyo, in Japanese, and directed by National Theatre Wales's artistic director, John E McGrath.

Inspired by the growth of efficiency as a force for change in society and the influence of big business on national and international affairs, The Opportunity of Efficiency is a story of small lives caught up in a global power struggle.

Bio-scientist Iffy Scott has made a discovery that could save millions of lives - but, it seems, not everyone thinks it's a good idea.

National Theatre Wales will bring its trademark mix of digital and community-linked skills to NNT's stage - the production will include 360degree video screens around the auditorium, plus free talks. The company will also work with artists in Japan to create the company's first international Assembly, exploring the themes of efficiency and creativity in Japan today, and we will be searching for Japanese artists to join us in Wales next year as part of WalesLab.

Writer Alan Harris has recently written a new play for BBC Radio 4 (Wolf) and adapted Rhinegold for liveartshow at The Yard theatre, London (currently nominated for an Off West End award). His other writing credits include: A Good Night Out in the Valleys (National Theatre Wales), Manga Sister (liveartshow), The Lighthouse (BBC Radio 4), The Gold Farmer (BBC Radio 3), The Journey (Welsh National Opera MAX), Cardboard Dad (Sherman Cymru), Miss Brown To You (Hijinx Theatre), Brute (Operating Theatre Company), Orange (Sgript Cymru) and was part of Paines Plough's Come To Where I'm From tour. Alan has worked with WNO's MAX department on a range of projects (including a three-month residency writing short librettos for street opera) and is a new writing tutor with Sherman Cymru. He has also worked with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and in prisons, including with prisoners at HMP Cardiff on a play entitled I Forgot To Tell You (a Koestler platinum award winner). Currently he is also collaborating on a number of projects with Crashmat Collective, Kitch n Sync and Invisible Ink.

Director John E McGrath is Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales. He was Artistic Director of Contact Theatre, Manchester, from 1999 until 2008. John trained and worked in New York for several years, including a stint as Associate Director of leading experimental company Mabou Mines. As a director, he has worked with a wide range of artists including poet Lemn Sissay (Storm, Something Dark and Why I Don't Hate White People) and hip hop theatre artist Benji Reid (b like water). For National Theatre Wales, he has directed A Good Night Out in the Valleys by Alan Harris, Love Steals Us From Loneliness by Gary Owen, The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning by Tim Price and In Water I'm Weightless by Kaite O'Reilly.

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