Wales to the World: Welsh Theatre you Can Access and Engage with Now

During these testing times, it is no secret to those of us who follow theatre avidly that many production companies have made theatre available online to watch at home. From the National Theatre’s multiple streams including Jane Eyre and One Man Two Guvnors, to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Shows Must Go On” with hits such as The Phantom of the Opera being streamed for 48 hours, theatre continues to thrive.

And Wales certainly has delivered its share of great theatre that’s available online, now, for all ages.

Here is a roundup of what I have found from Welsh theatre’s that is available now. Please do note that I am based in Cardiff, so this round-up may be more Cardiff-based, but I am welcoming suggestions to include from what I might have missed in Cardiff or elsewhere in Wales.

Image taken from @urddgobaithcymru Instagram page

Theatres, Theatre Companies and Art Centres

Theatr Iolo

Platfform New Writing Call Out is a new writing call out by Theatr Iolo that invites Welsh and Wales based writers to surprise and inspire them with new work for the stage, written especially for young people. Writers have three months to come up with ideas, before submitting at the end of July – a perfect activity to keep young minds busy!

Llygoden yr Eira was produced by Theatr Iolo with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and is now available to watch on YouTube. Come and keep warm in the winter freeze and join us on an adventure in a magical forest. Filled with play, puppetry and music, this is an enchanting winter’s tale for the very young. This 40-minute show is perfect for little ones and their grown ups!

#GeorgeAtHome is another piece of content that Theatr Iolo has produced, where George Williams reads the illustrated book Owl At Home by Arnold Lobel for young ones to enjoy.

Finally, Theatr Iolo has a dedicated page of Resources to specifically help parents at this time, where they link to other useful content.

The Other Room

The Other Room has launched Blue Sky Online, which is their season of creativity and wellbeing in response to the current situation. For the months of April and May – and perhaps beyond – The Other Room will be delivering three initiatives which will hopefully enrich the lives of our artists, audiences and anyone wanting to connect and participate.

TOR Toolbox is a weekly downloadable resource offering you useful tools to help withstand these difficult times of isolation. Each download is free and will contain some content providing insight into an artistic process, examples of creative activities to keep you stimulated and some tools for wellbeing and staying connected.

#YourRoom celebrates the ambition and artistry within Cardiff and beyond. Once a week THe Other Room wil host #yourroom; a community art club you can take part in in your very own room by creating a piece of artwork in any form and sharing it.

OpenRoom are one-on-one meeting for creatives from across all theatre disciplines to chat through creative ideas, guidance on career development or to discuss projects on the horizon.

Sherman Theatre

Interval is a season launched by Sherman Theatre that offers audiences a huge range of theatre from home. This series is designed to support the artistic and freelance community as well as continuing to give audiences exceptional writing while the theatre is closed.

Your Platform is where Sherman Theatre are championing a different person every two days on our social media to ensure that artists and freelancers get as much work as possible as soon as this situation abates. To take part, email marketing@shermantheatre.co.uk.

Time With offers Welsh and Wales-based artists and freelancers creative conversations on a one to one basis with members of the Sherman creative team via skype or phone.

Sherman Theatre has had a longstanding relationship with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, whereby Sherman Theatre presents the RWCMD’s end of year Showcase. This year, Showcase instead has committed to their Artistic Director Joe Murphy watching the showcase piece of any students who send their videos in. Students who participate will be able to join Joe Murphy in an online get together at the end of the process.

TEN is a collection of short monologues written by Welsh and Wales-based writers. Each monologue will be performed and self-filmed by a different actor. Already released TEN productions include TEN: The Love (and Loss) in the Time of Corona by Katie Elin-Salt and TEN: No Sleep ‘Til Filton Abbey Wood by Rick Allden.

Play Readings will also be taking place, whereby in partnership with National Theatre Wales, 12 Plays in digital spaces will be produced, showcasing the talent of playwrights, companies and creatives across Wales.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru have announced a new programme of work with three key areas of focus to allow audiences to have access to theatre from home and create work themselves.

Theatr Gen Eto (translating into Theatr Gen Again) is an opportunity for audiences to enjoy past productions on screen. In partnership with the aforementioned Theatr Iolo, Llygoden yr Eira is available to watch online.

On their YouTube channel, show Nos Sadwrn o Hyd is also available to watch, which does have both Welsh and English captions.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru have said to continually check their website and social media for future online shows to be announced.

Their second focus is Creu Ar-Lein (translating into Create online), which commissions and creates original digital dramatic works during social distancing, and developing new stage work for the future via digital platforms.

How do you make theatre in a lockdown? Just like you always did, except different in every possible way.

Third and finally, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru has Pawb Ar-lein (Everyone On-line) which offers educational resources and participatory activities on digital platforms for everyone.

National Theatre Wales

National Theatre Wales have launched their programme Network which is their new digital programme of work, designed to connect audiences, communities and theatre makers with opportunities to create and experience live, innovative theatre delivered via a digital stage. 

Dream A Little Dream For Me is part of Network. Through a tiny puppet booth, simple and beautiful paint, card and improvised live music and sound, Emily Laurens brings your dreams to life. Audiences are encouraged to submit the dreams they have had and tune in every Saturday from 9am to see if yours has been magically brought to life.

In partnership with Sherman Theatre, National Theatre Wales’ production of Ripples is available to watch online as part of their Network Play Readings. Eight strangers join an online rehab group to confront, revisit and replay the traumas of their past. How can they re-connect with themselves and each other in a world so disconnected? Ripples compassionately explores what leads us to seek help.

Constellation Street is part of the Network Play Readings, and through four separate instalments, these inter-connected monologues by Matthew Bulgo and The Other Room, they can be enjoyed in one sitting or individually to fit into your schedule. Unflinching, funny and humane – Constellation Street is somewhere you will want to spend time.

Wild Scenes at Cardiff is a digital project that National Theatre Wales are currently working on so it can go ahead as planned. They ask audiences to check their website for updates.

Wales Millennium Centre

With a cast of Welsh actors including Caroline Sheen and David Thaxton, in 2016 Wales Millennium Centre produced the show Only The Brave with Daniel Sparrow Productions and Birdsong Productions, and now this musical telling the story of brave soldiers embarking on a dangerous mission that holds the key to the success of the D-Day Landings is available to watch online for free.

Broadcasting from Home is something that Wales Millennium Centre’s youth-led radio station has been doing since the venue closed in the middle of March. Radio Platfform talk about their experiences in broadcasting from their bedrooms here.

The Gate

From their archive, the production of The Unknown Island is available to watch online. The Unknown Island is a beautiful, inventive and rebellious adventure story about dreaming of the impossible and trying to cross the vast distances between ourselves and each other.

Not quite theatre, but The Gate theatre in Roath has shared content on Twitter using the hashtag #CreateForTheGate and has step-by-step instructions and a tutorial video on how to make an origami butterfly. I hope these become a series!

National Dance Company Wales

Kin Connected is a digitally-adapted version of NDCW’s scheduled tour of the show Kin. Kin was set to help tell the stories of communities and to bring friends, families, groups and tribes together, and KIN Connected does just that in a digital space, consisting of four areas in their Digital Hub.

Watch Together invites audiences to watch some of their most popular pieces, as well as some specially created dance films, and learn about how they were made, including Rygbi: Annwyl i mi / Dear to me, Reflections and BBC Culture in Quarantine.

Create Together reminds us that dance is about creation, innovation and inspiration. On their page, you will find videos and challenges you can creatively respond to, digital projects and digital commissions for the Welsh dance sector. 

Dance Together is a series of online dance classes, with a focus on creative classes for children and classes for adults seeking to improve mobility. 

Learn Together is where audiences can find Education Packs and CPD resources for dancers, as well as online classes to do in the home, community settings, and classroom.

Chapter Arts Centre

Although Chapter don’t have any theatre available for streaming at the moment, as an arts centre, they are still making some of their films and gallery works available online.

Galleries include ART IN THE BAR by Francisco Rodriguez and Mel Brimfield: Ungeziefer preview and for no cost on either, you can explore the artwork on Chapter’s website.

Films that Chapter has made available for a small cost are Cunningham, System Crasher and The Perfect Candidate.

Swansea Grand Theatre

Not theatre you can access, but theatre and creativity you can get involved with, Swansea Grand Theatre has been encouraging its audiences to share their talents by using the hashtag #SwanseaGrandTalent on Twitter.

Theatr Clwyd

On their Get Involved Page, Theatre Clwyd are encouraging audiences to take part in their weekly challenges from sharing memories to writing songs, join a community of people creating art.

Using the hashtag #TCTogether, the theatre is encouraging people to share their work on social media, such as writing a play in the next two weeks.

Theatre Clwyd are also showing some of their theatre work. From clips of productions past, present and future, to live performance made for this very moment and live screenings –add a dollop of creativity and theatre to your everyday. For example, the musical short Struggling is available to watch now here.

Venue Cymru

#YsCŴL is a hashtag thread on Twitter created by Venye Cymru, where they are sharing weekly videos on various subjects with supporting resources including dance and movement videos and creating your own paper dolls.

From storytelling to graffiti art, performance and more, Venue Cymru has a wide range of activities for children digitally available.

Jane’s Calamity at Porter’s

Jane’s Calamity is a monthly event held at Porter’s Bar in Cardiff. Pre-COVID-19, on the first Thursday of every month the bar hosted a Musicals Singalong Night. Not much has changed as through Facebook Live and Zoom the pub is hosting a virtual singalon, still on the first Thursday of each month.

FYI…when Lin-Manuel Miranda was filming in Cardiff, he popped along to Porter’s one or two times, and yes he has also appeared on their virtual event at least once…

Artists and Performers

Connie Orff

Bilingual drag performer Connie Orff has previously performed in her own online performances for free. For as little as £1, audineces could send in questions and get a cheeky shoutout too. Here’s hoping for more, Connie!

Welsh West End Stars

Curated by Steffan Rhys-Hughes and starring Welsh talent such as Sophie Evans, Jade Davies, Samantha Thomas, Tom Hier and more, the Welsh of the West End got together to perform a superb rendition of Seasons of Love from Rent.

After the video blew up on social media, including being spotted by ITV Wales and WhatsOnStage, the Welsh West End crew has only grown and the group has now performed From Now On from The Greatest Showman and You Will Be Found from musical Dear Evan Hansen, starring some even more very special stars.

Wyburn and Wayne

Nathan Wyburn and Wayne Courtney (known as Wyburn & Wayne around Cardiff), are the life, spirit and culture of the city. Promoting all kinds of events from theatre to charity bakeoffs, if it’s happening in Cardiff, Wyburn and Wayne are drumming up the noise.

They also host their weekly karaoke nights at The Golden Cross pub. Much like Jane’s Calamity, they haven’t let lockdown stop them. On their Facebook page, the pair have hosted a number of Facebook Lives from a range of different artists, as well as sharing posts and videos sent in by artists.

Through a series of songs for charity by different artists, they are promoting online, they are raising money for the NHS on their GoFundMe Page.

As I mentioned before, please do let me know if you think any companies, artists or theatres are missing from this list and I will do my best to add them.

Enjoy, stay home, stay safe.

OneWomanWestEndShow

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