In recent months Sherman Theatre has further established itself as a vital creator of new Welsh theatre that resonates with audiences in Wales and increasingly, beyond. In the last three months alone Killology written by Gary Owen and directed by Sherman’s Artistic Director Rachel O’Riordan was a hit in Cardiff and had a subsequent sold-out run at London’s Royal Court, Sherman’s co-production partner. How My Light Is Spent by Alan Harris played to rave reviews in Cardiff and on tour at collaborating theatres in Manchester and Keswick. And Gary Owen’s Iphigenia in Splott also directed by Rachel O’Riordan was exceptionally well received by audiences in Berlin and New York.
Now, that powerful creative partnership of Rachel O’Riordan and Gary Owen are collaborating once more to create a radical reimagining of Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard that will feature actor Richard Mylan, fresh from his role in Killology. In this new version Gary Owen places the action in another time on the cusp of huge social change. It is set in early 80s Britain at the outset of Margaret Thatcher’s regime.
Rachel O’Riordan said “We have continued to make work which chimes with Cardiff audiences and developed the work of Welsh playwrights. Gary Owen’s version of The Cherry Orchard is an opportunity for a Welsh writer to contribute in a new way to the canon of Welsh plays – to reimagine a classical play from a Welsh perspective. This is a main stage production of new work, and we know our audiences are excited by that, having been on this journey with us.”
The Cherry Orchard has been specially selected as a cornerstone of Cardiff’s Russia 17 season that marks the centenary of the Russian revolution with a range of events which capture the social and cultural revolutions of the era, and Wales’ historic connections with the Russia of the time. It plays Sherman Theatre from 13 – 28 October 2017, after which time preparations commence for the festive season.
Sherman Theatre has firmly established its Christmas productions as some of Cardiff’s essential seasonal treats. Thousands of school children and families have been spell-bound with the delightful mix of engaging story-telling, live music, brilliant performances, fabulous sets and costumes (all created at Sherman Theatre by the talented team backstage), and the warm welcome from the staff who are dedicated to making every visit enjoyable.
In the main house this year, Sherman Theatre will present Kenneth Grahame’s classic book The Wind in The Willows in an adaptation by Mike Kenny. Mike is a prolific and popular writer for young people and, with shows like The Railway Children at London’s King’s Cross Station, his work has been seen by tens-of-thousands of people from across the world. It will be directed by Lee Lyford whose recent work includes The Snow Queen for Bristol Old Vic. In the studio, The Magic Porridge Pot / Hud y Crochan Uwd is especially created for those aged 3-6 and their families and will be performed at separate shows in either English or Welsh. Originally written by The Brothers Grimm, this adaptation is by Alun Saunders (whose adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes / Dillad Newydd yr Ymerawdwr was widely praised in 2016).
A Play, A Pie and A Pint the Sherman’s new writing collaboration with Òran Mór returns. You can sample a brand new piece of theatre, alongside a top quality pie and drink. No wonder it’s popular. A perfect all-in-one, early evening theatre package, and great way to unwind after work.
Alongside Sherman Theatre’s own created work, there is also a curated season of impressive productions from around the UK that reflects our current times. It’s a diverse programme of work that gives a voice to often marginalised people and importantly, questions the society we are creating:
Gods & Kings challenges long-held views of what it is to live with mental illness in a bracingly honest and often hugely funny real-life story by Cardiff-based writer and director Paul Whittaker.
Theatr Clwyd and High Tide present Heroine where young soldier Grace faces a daunting return to the UK following a medical discharge from the army. Struggling to settle she volunteers at a community centre where she finds the friendship she’s been searching for. Having not laughed so much for as long as she can remember she almost forgets she has a secret to keep. As the group starts taking action it becomes harder to hide and the trust she has built begins to fray and Grace finds herself back on the front line, but who is she fighting?
Music Theatre Wales returns with The Golden Dragon by Peter Eötvös. Set in a Chinese restaurant it’s a story of a kitchen boy found a long way from home with no papers. He’s looking for his sister who’s been forced into a very different kind of service just next door. It’s both a funny and shocking new opera that poignantly captures the exploitation faced by too many people who exist on the edge of our society.
This Evil Thing is set just before the Great War and tells the forgotten story of the swathes of society who, faced with conscription, said no to war. Written and performed by Michael Mears, it’s a dramatic and thought-provoking play that asks whether pacifism can ever be seen as a patriotic or legitimate response in the face of aggression.
Theatre Centre brings us Twist – a take on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist by Chino Odimba and is specially written for young people. It follows the journey of a migrant boy in search for sanctuary and compassion and who has the temerity to ask for more.
In All The Things I Lied About Katie Bonna takes us on a comic exploration of her past mistakes and future disasters, unpicking how everyday lies lead to a world of Trump and Brexit. Part TED talk, part confession, it’s a fearlessly honest show for the post-truth era.
Bin Laden: The One Man Show sensitively asks us to re-examine our views on the Osama Bin Laden myth and to look again at the causes and possible solutions to the complex situation in the Middle East.
How To Win Against History is the sell-out Edinburgh Festival hit from 2016. It’s a sassy, colourful musical drama about Henry Cyril Paget, the cross-dressing 5th Marquis of Anglesey. Born in 1875 and poised to inherit the Empire, he instead burned briefly, brightly and transvestitely, blowing his wealth putting on glittering, diamond-studded plays starring himself.
The season is punctuated with a visit by the incredibly engaging poet John Hegley; a hilarious and heartfelt performance from John Watterson with a celebration of Jake Thackray, one of our greatest singer/songwriters – and one of the first ever performers at Sherman Theatre playing at our inauguration in 1973 – with a celebration of his life and songs; and RuPaul's Drag Race winner Jinkx Monsoon visits with The Vaudevillians, a bawdy, rowdy musical comedy co-starring composer and musician Major Scales.
Moving, vibrant, relevant – and all here at Sherman Theatre this autumn.