Sherman Cymru celebrates with a Spring Season of new writing from Wales

17 Dec 2014

Artistic Director, Rachel O’Riordan has announced Sherman Cymru’s Spring 2015 season, which is focused on celebrating new writing from Wales as well as quality theatre from across the UK. 

At the heart of the season are two world premieres of two plays commissioned and produced by Sherman Cymru, Welsh playwright Matthew Trevannion’s Leviathan in a co-production with Òran Mór, and Gary Owen’s, Iphigenia in Splott. The Sherman Theatre is also delighted to support major new work from Welsh companies; National Theatre Wales’s Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage; Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s Y Fenyw Ddaeth o’r Môr and Pan Oedd Y Byd Yn Fach; Torch Theatre’s new play Grav; and emerging Swansea-based comedy sketch company, Double Dipp. As Sherman Cymru’s Christmas 2014 show Arabian Nights opens, the 2015 main house Christmas title is announced as the magical tale, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Sherman Cymru’s Artistic Director, Rachel O’Riordan said, “This season is all about the new: we are generating, producing and presenting varied, fresh new work for the citizens of Cardiff and beyond.”

“I am proud to say that at the centre of our season are the world premieres of two Sherman productions by two of Wales’ finest writers; Matthew Trevannion’s Leviathan (in co-production with Òran Mór and their legendary A Play, A Pie and A Pint) and Gary Owen’s Iphigenia in Splott. These moving plays look at modern Welsh women; they explore the fallout of social deprivation, and speak in an authentic- and funny-voice.”

In the first Welsh co-production with Òran Mór’s A Play, A Pie and A Pint, Sherman Cymru will be producing the world premiere of Matthew Trevannion’s play, Leviathan (24 – 28 March) directed by Rachel O’Riordan. In this tale of familial ties, Matthew Trevannion casts a darkly humorous eye over the changing fortunes of people trying to detach themselves from their past.

Òran Mór’s groundbreaking lunchtime theatre programme, A Play, A Pie and A Pint began in 2004 and now commissions and produces 38 new plays a year. Plays from PPP have been seen at the Edinburgh Festival, the Belfast Festival, the Brighton Festival, the Adelaide Festival, the Island Festival in Tasmania, the Golden Mask Festival in Moscow and the Last Frontier Theatre Festival in Alaska and now, Cardiff.

Later in the season, Rachel will be directing Sherman Cymru’s second new play for 2015, a powerful new adaptation of the enduring Greek myth by award-winning Welsh playwright Gary Owen, Iphigenia in Splott (8 – 16 May). Stumbling down a high street at 11:30am drunk, Effie is the kind of girl you’d avoid eye contact with, silently passing judgement. Effie’s life spirals through a mess of drink, drugs and drama every night, and a hangover worse than death the next day - until one night gives her the chance to be something more.

Sherman Cymru will be curating the work of some of Wales’s finest theatre companies this Spring. In time for the Rugby Six Nations, there will be two productions at the Sherman Theatre with a rugby theme. National Theatre Wales, Out of Joint and the Arcola Theatre with Sherman Cymru have produced a new play based on the story of Welsh Rugby legend Gareth ‘Alfie’ Thomas. Working with Alfie himself, and young people in Bridgend, two of the UK’s most exciting theatre companies - National Theatre Wales and Out of Joint - have teamed up to tell a great Welsh story about sport, politics, secrets, life, and learning to be yourself in the world premiere of Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage (19 February – 7 March).

As part of its Welsh tour, Torch Theatre will be bringing another Welsh rugby legend’s story to the Sherman Theatre, Grav (9 – 11 March). Known to millions for his legendary exploits on the rugby field, Grav was and is so much more than that. An actor, a cultural icon, a father, a husband, a man with a life packed full of stories that deserve to be heard once more. Written by the award-winning Welsh playwright Owen Thomas, directed by Peter Doran and performed by Gareth Bale, Grav will remind the world once more of a unique life well lived and of a man who did so much more than eat soft centres.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru will be bringing two new plays to the Sherman. Henrik Ibsen’s most captivating and mysterious love story, The Lady From the Sea, has been translated into Welsh for the first time by Menna Elfyn. Directed by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru’s Arwel Gruffydd, Y Fenyw Ddaeth o’r Môr will be at the Sherman Theatre on 12 and 13 March. Their second production of the season, Pan Oedd Y Byd Yn Fach opens 19 – 21 May. Written by Wales’s Sian Summers, Pan Oedd Y Byd Yn Fach is the world premiere centred around the 1984 Miner’s Strike.

As well as supporting and developing work by established Welsh playwrights, Sherman Cymru is also working with some of the freshest, emerging new talent, including Swansea based sketch company Double Dipp (28 January), who will be bringing their hilarious stand up characters to the Sherman to wipe away the January blues in Pick ‘N’ Mixx.

Paines Plough, in association with Sherman Cymru, bring their new writing interactive Come To Where I’m From exhibition to the Sherman Theatre from 18 February – 12 March. Discover candid, hilarious and insightful podcasts dotted along an interactive map of the UK. Choose a location, pop on some headphones, sit back and listen to short plays by the nation’s top playwrights about the place they call home. Listen through headphones in the Sherman Theatre foyer to various stories from James Graham’s paean to the lost mining industry in his native Mansfield; wander into Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s garrulous family home in Watford or let Tim Price share tales of Cardiff. This is a free event that will be available to all Sherman Theatre visitors during theatre opening hours.

Sherman Cymru’s playwright-in-residence, Katherine Chandler (Sherman Cymru’s The Ugly Duckling / Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll, Bristol Old Vic and Sherman Cymru’s Before It Rains) has written a new play, Hood, as part of the National Theatre Connections Festival which will be performed by Sherman Youth Theatre (25 – 28 February) before Sherman becomes the regional venue for the National Theatre Connections Festival on 11 and 12 April. During the NT Connections Festival local young groups will perform one of the 10 plays written by the 10 commissioned by the National Theatre for this year’s Connections Festival.

The Sherman is delighted to announce its first resident company, Pluen. A bi-lingual emerging company, run by Cardiff-based artists Elgan Rhys and Gethin Evans.

Elgan Rhys from Pluen said, “We’re honoured and extremely excited to begin developing our devised work here at the Sherman. This support is invaluable to us, as a new theatre company in Wales.”

Alongside the programme of new work from Wales, Sherman Cymru is thrilled to welcome back to Cardiff Shared Experience, with their bold reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s, Mermaid (21 – 25 April), a tale of love, loss and desire. Using a chorus of local young women to create an unearthly musical landscape Shared Experience conjures the magical world of the mermaids.

Theatr Iolo will be presenting a new show by breadandcircuses; written and directed by Danny Braverman, Wot? No Fish!! (27-30 May). Wot? No Fish!! first appeared at the Sherman Theatre in 2013 as part of the Unity Festival. The show mesmerised and captivated audiences with its funny, moving journey of a Jewish family living in 20th century London and audiences have a second chance to see this beautiful production.

Sherman Theatre also welcomes the return of Ruby Wax on 28 May following her sell out performance in 2014, as well as British TV reality stars G4 on 17 April, who wowed X Factor audiences with their classical interpretations of Bohemian Rhapsody, on 17 April.

For the first time the Sherman will be presenting work at the Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre. The incredible Ultima Vez will be perform What the Body Does Not Remember on 20 and 21 February.

Continuing its reputation as a family friendly theatre producing and showcasing theatre for the very young, the Sherman Theatre is excited to have Scamp Theatre’s adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s hugely popular children’s book Stick Man (14 and 15 April). The Sherman Theatre will also be running Easter workshop activities to keep little ones occupied from 30 March until 2 April for £30 per day.

As the Sherman Theatre welcomes schools and families through its doors for Christmas, Sherman Cymru is thrilled to announce its 2015 Christmas title, C.S Lewis’s captivating children’s story, The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.

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