Celebrating Sherman 5: Two years on from Sherman 5 stories

21 Jul 2020

Celebrating Sherman 5:  Two years on from Sherman 5 stories, July 20/21 2018

As the five years of funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation which made the first phase of Sherman 5 possible came to an end in July 2018, we celebrated the impact of this extraordinary project with 10 specially commissioned films, a photography exhibition and a weekend of events. We are sharing these 10 films again, with updates on individual contributors as a celebration of our amazing members and volunteers.

Much has happened since then, both at Sherman Theatre and Sherman 5, so we’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on the last two years from July 2018 to July 2020.

Starting with Sherman Theatre, we announced in September 2018 that Artistic Director, Rachel O’Riordan would be leaving to become Artistic Director at Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London. The final production Rachel directed as Artistic Director was our Main House Christmas production of Alice in Wonderland in 2018. Our Spring 2019 was the final season to be programmed by Rachel.

We appointed Joe Murphy as our new Artistic Director in March 2019, and Joe started in the role last July.

In November 2019 Sherman Theatre was also awarded Theatre of Sanctuary status, recognising our ongoing warm and inclusive welcome for asylum seekers and refugees in the city. We are the first (and currently only) theatre in Wales to have this award.

We’ve produced an amazing and broad range of performances over the last two years, including world premieres, new writing, evergreen classics and our popular family Christmas shows. The new plays we have premiered include Milwr yn y Meddwl by Heiddwen Tomos in a co-production with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Woof by Elgan Rhys, The Taming of the Shrew by Jo Clifford in a co-production with The Tron Theatre, Lose Yourself by Katherine Chandler and Tylwyth by Daf James in a co-production with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. We have performed new versions of two classics in the Main House: Lord of the Flies in a co-production with Theatr Clwyd and Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. Alice in Wonderland and The Snow Queen were our Main House Christmas productions for ages 7 plus. In the Studio, our bilingual Christmas productions for ages 3-6 were Little Red Riding Hood / Yr Hugan Fach Goch and The Ugly Duckling / Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll. In October 2018 we presented a major new production of Fel Anifail by Meic Povey in the Studio. Last year we worked in partnership with Papertrail to stage A Night in the Clink at The Clink restaurant, HMP Cardiff.

Our former Company in Residence, Cwmni Pluen premiered their show Mags in September 2018. Sherman Theatre’s current company in residence, Powderhouse toured Shooting Rabbits / Saethu Cwningod last year, as well as contributing a Zoom performance of Antigone to the Network Play Readings series, a partnership between Sherman Theatre and National Theatre Wales.
Since mid-March we have needed to be fleet of foot and adapt our artistic programme, and so far we’ve completed the TEN festival and presented Network Play Readings, two new plays by Gary Owen : MUM and DAD, as well as offering workshops and “Time with..” our Artistic Director. We are looking forward to our autumn 2020 season, which is completely different to the one that we had planned pre-Covid 19 and reflects our place as the theatre at the Heart of Cardiff.

Earlier this month the Sherman won the Arts category at the Cardiff Life Awards.

It’s been a hugely eventful two years for Sherman 5 too. In January 2019 we were awarded new “More and Better” funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, to run to 2022.  The new funding is supporting diverse communities to access and engage with many more elements of Sherman Theatre’s work. This access continues to include opportunities to see performances as well as the introduction of training and career opportunities in an effort to enable more people from diverse backgrounds to successfully pursue careers in the arts. The programme also supports and provide opportunities for three specific groups: older audience members, Deaf Theatre Club and blind/partially sighted members and Refugees and Asylum Seekers.

In June 2019 Claire Bottomley became the Sherman 5 Coordinator.

From July 2018 – June 2019 we maintained contact with all of our members and we ran a photography course and exhibition in partnership with CCHA. Recent activities have included further increasing our membership, running “Behind the Scenes” theatre tours for Sanctuary Seekers, a Sherman 5 exclusive “Splendiferous Science” day in partnership with Techniquest and widening our volunteering opportunities.

During lockdown Sherman 5 has been active on Social Media, hosting two playwriting workshops, planning more activities and reaching out to members who may not have access to digital communications. We are looking forward to the next two years and beyond!

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