Wikileaks' Bradley Manning Drama in NTW SeasonDate: 27 May 2011
National Theatre Wales (NTW) have announced their second season, including a political fantasy by Welsh dramatist Tim Price The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, which imagines the life of the 23-year-old held responsible for the release of thousands of US embassy cables to Wikileaks growing up in Wales.
Other highlights in artistic director John McGrath's programme include Peter Gill's production of Chekhov’s A Provincial Life; the company's first trip outside of Wales, bringing Told by an Idiot co-production The Dark Philosophers to the Traverse as part of the Edinburgh Fringe; three projects produced as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad; and a collaboration with Frantic Assembly inspired by Dylan Thomas' Just Like Little Dogs.
Commissioned by NTW, The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning will be directed by McGrath, and will start its run in Haverfordwest in March 2012 with NTW hoping to present the show in secondary school halls around Wales.
Speaking to Whatsonstage.com about the play McGrath said the project had come from NTW's want to tackle "a really significant political play." Manning, whose mother is Welsh, moved from Crescent, Oklahoma to Haverfordwest after his parents divorce at the age of 13. He lived in Wales until after his GCSE exams, moving back to his father in Oklahoma City.
McGrath says the piece will look at the story of one of the world's "most under scrutiny" and "most wanted" people, from a Welsh perspective. "What," he asks, "would it mean for people who were at high school with this boy, who then went off and joined the US Military and became the guy who almost brought down the US Government. I’m also very interested in the fact that Bradley manning is a very young man and that youthful idealism, and the fact that we see that youthful idealism changing the world at the moment in Egypt or through Wikileaks."
Tim Price’s stage credits include Salt Root and Roe (Donmar at Trafalgar, to be produced November 2011), For Once (Pentabus), Teamwork (Paines Plough/Sherman Cymru), Under The Sofa (Paines Plough), Fairy Wands and Keys (Nabokov - Present: Tense), The Whole Truth (Act 1 performed at the Latitude Festival), From The Hip (Theatre503), Café Cariad (National Youth Theatre of Wales) and Sell Out Generation (Royal Court). He was awarded the prize for Best Drama at the 2009 Celtic Film and TV Festival for his S4C drama Y Pris and was nominated for Best Screenwriter at Bafta Cymru and Best Drama at Prix Europa in 2008.
One of Wales’s greatest writers and directors Peter Gill adapts and directs Chekhov’s A Provincial Life which will open at Sherman Cymru, Cardiff in March 2012. An intriguing story, the play explores how lofty ideals can decay into frustration and hatred.
Founding director of the Riverside Studios and the National Theatre Studio, Gill's recent credits include David Hare's The Breath of Life at Sheffield Theatres, The Aliens by Annie Baker at the Bush and Hens by Aila Bano as well as The Importance of Being Earnest at the Theatre Royal Bath and in the West End, Gaslight for the Old Vic and Look Back in Anger for the Theatre Royal Bath.
Frantic Assembly return to their home town of Swansea with Little Dogs, inspired by Dylan Thomas' story. Celebrated for their combination of movement, design, music and text Frantic Assembly was formed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett in 1994.
Drawing on the "furtive hours so many of us have spent searching for kindness and warmth in the shadows" of Swansea, Little Dogs will look at "the mating ritual" undertaken by "daring girls and reckless boys" as well as the "less fortunate" who observe and pretend it doesn't hurt. It will play the Patti Pavilion, Swansea from May 2012.
NTW make their first foray into musical theatre with Dafydd James and Ben Lewis' The Village Social, which will play village halls across Wales in October and November 2011. Billed as "surreal and macabre" the production will combine music and entertainment from local talent before welcoming a clairvoyant who promises to put theatregoers in touch with spirits from beyond the grave.
Winners of the 2009 Total Theatre Award, the pair created My Name is Sue for the Soho Theatre and a subsequent tour.
National Theatre Wales’ first year collaboration with theatre company Told by an Idiot, The Dark Philosophers will travel to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, playing the Traverse Theatre as part as part of the British Council Showcase.
Also announced today were three projects that NTW will embark upon as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad:
The team that created the large-scale site specific production of The Persians will reform to reinterpret Shakespeare's Coriolanus for the era 24-hour news and celebrity culture. Presented in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company it will open near Bridgend in August 2012.
John McGrath will join forces with Nigel Charnock, designer Paul Clay, and award-winning visually impared writer Kate O'Reilly and a cast of deaf and disabled performers to create a piece of work titled I am Weightless which will run at Wales Millennium Centre Cardiff from July 2012.
Finally, Argentinian choregorapher Constanza Macras (now based in Berlin), comes to Wales to create a new dance piece in the wilds of the north Wales forests titled Branches which will premiere in September 2012.