Sherman Theatre and Theatre Uncut will present the World Premiere of The Merthyr Stigmatist in a fully-staged digital production recorded in the Sherman Theatre Studio. The play, written by Wales-based playwright Lisa Parry, will be available to watch online and on demand in May.
Originally scheduled as part of Sherman Theatre’s Autumn 2020 season, The Merthyr Stigmatist is a co-production with Theatre Uncut having been shortlisted for the inaugural Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award. 2021 marks the tenth anniversary of the launch of Theatre Uncut in response to cuts to public funding. Taking place in a Merthyr Tydfil classroom, Parry’s exhilarating new play sees faith, reason and politics collide when Carys, a sixteen year-old school pupil claims to have received the wounds of Christ. Carys is convinced that her wounds are a sign from God and is crying out to be heard. Siân, Carys’s teacher is not so sure. Filled with doubt, Siân believes silencing Carys will keep her safe, but can she make sense of what is happening to her young pupil?
Sherman Theatre and Theatre Uncut have assembled a formidable creative team to bring this major new Welsh play to life under the direction of Emma Callander, Theatre Uncut’s Co-Artistic Director. The creative team includes: Designer Elin Steele (Woof, Sherman Theatre, Llyfr Glas Nebo, Cwmni Fran Wen), Composer Eädyth, who recently collaborated on Sherman Theatre’s Heart of Cardiff audio season, Sound Designer Ian Barnard (Alice in Wonderland, Sherman Theatre) and Lighting Designer Andy Pike (Lose Yourself, Sherman Theatre).
Sherman Theatre has established meaningful links with communities in Merthyr Tydfil over recent years through projects including Tydfil Tales and Tydfil Truths. Through an extensive creative engagement programme supporting the release of the play, the Sherman will build on those connections.
Lisa Parry said “This play’s been screaming at me daily from my desktop. I feel like I’ve been placating it in a way, knowing it has something relevant to say but fully aware that the theatres are closed – it’s been an odd experience. So I’m beyond happy that it’s coming to life with the unstoppable Theatre Uncut and Sherman Theatre. We need theatre more than ever right now and I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to help make it with such amazing and talented people. I’ve always loved how audience members’ heartbeats synchronise when we all share a space. Whilst we can’t do that right now, I really hope the play will send some of that communal magic down internet connections and into homes.”
Emma Callander said “I got shivers when I first read Lisa’s play, the story of a young girl in the Welsh valleys screaming to be heard felt so vital and urgent. I am over the moon that we are able to bring this play to the stage, particularly in these most challenging of times. Lisa is a fierce, uncompromising playwright who takes religion, culture and politics head on in this extraordinary, ambitious play, and she does it with a sense of humour. We created the Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award to support writers who are looking to explore the big social issues of today and The Merthyr Stigmatist does exactly that in style.”
Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director, Joe Murphy has said “I am so delighted to finally be able to share Lisa’s important play with our audiences. We always intended to stage this co-production with Theatre Uncut in front of live audiences in our Studio. However, as the months have passed and as restrictions continue we felt that it was essential to be able to give our audiences a fully staged production and the kind of thought-provoking, powerful experience they have come to expect from us to enjoy at home, on demand. This timely play about the need to listen to unheard voices encapsulates what the Sherman is all about. I can’t wait to see what this exceptional team will create.”
Notes to editors: On Sale dates for The Merthyr Stigmatist will be announced in due course.
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