WORLD PREMIERES OF NEW WELSH PLAYS
Romeo and Julie
The Sherman run of the world premiere performances of Gary Owen’s Cardiff love story were a massive success. Following performances in London, our critically acclaimed co-production with the National Theatre played to 7,575 people and sold out performances in our Main House representing a huge audience for a piece of new writing.
In May we staged the second world premiere of our 50th birthday year with Imrie, the major new Welsh language play by Nia Morais who is one of the most exciting voices in Welsh theatre and is our Writer in Residence. Having first worked with Nia in lockdown we were delighted to co-produce her first full-length debut with our friends at Frân Wen. Imrie received acclaim during its performances at the Sherman before heading off on tour around Wales. Elan Davies has been nominated for The Stage Debut Awards in the Best Performer In A Play for her performance as Laura, this is the first Welsh language nomination in the awards’ history.
Audiences for new writing
We are delighted to have welcomed over 31,000 people between September 2022 and September 2023 to Sherman productions of new writing by Welsh and Wales-based writers here at the Sherman.
Developing Welsh and Wales-based writers
Our Literary Department have been busy working to help develop and nurture Welsh and Wales-based writers. This second phase of activity for the department which opened in 2021 thanks to funding from Arts Council of Wales consists of three programmes designed to support writers at all stages of their careers: Explore (for new playwrights), Expand (developing playwrights’ skills) and Explode (allowing experienced playwrights space to grow). The department has interacted with over 250 writers in the past year, from reading unsolicited scripts, all the way to commissioning for our stages). The team also launched the Shout / Bloedd series of events showcasing new writing and amplifying the work of under-represented communities.
Celebrating the contribution Cardiff’s communities make to the city
This August, communities from across Cardiff took over the Sherman Main House stage to tell their own stories in a pivotal moment in our 50th birthday year – Love, Cardiff: 50 Years of Your Stories. The Main House was filled with compassion, love and positivity as members of the Welsh Ballroom community, Cathays Day Provision, the Deaf community and Kurdish All Wales Association told their stories in a spectacular production. Alongside these stories, the story of the Sherman brothers whose generous donation made Sherman Theatre possible was told through new writing by Paul Jenkins in consultation with the Jewish History Association of South Wales. This community production was the culmination of a project made possible by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The performances were complemented by a vibrant Community Celebration Day filled with workshops, screenings and special events including a performance from the Waulah Cymru community.
Supporting emerging Welsh companies to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
For a second year we worked with The Pleasance to support an emerging Welsh or Wales-based company to present their work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe as part of their Edinburgh National Partnerships programme. This year’s recipients, inclusive theatre company StammerMouth, won two major awards for their show about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, CHOO CHOO! – a highly coveted Fringe First Award and the 2023 Mental Health Foundation Fringe Award. This year’s success follows last year’s Sherman & Pleasance Edinburgh National Partnership recipient difficult|stage’s win of a David Johnson Emerging Talent Award for An Audience with Milly-Liu.
Communities together for Refugee Week
Sherman Theatre is a Theatre of Sanctuary and is a place of welcome and safety. In June, our annual Festival of Sanctuary during Refugee Week was a joyous celebration of the creativity of the sanctuary seeking community. Throughout the year our Sanctuary Sessions have given the community the opportunity to meet and express their own creativity.
Tackling social isolation with Tales and Tea
Our Tales and Tea strand offers older people the opportunity to meet others, watch and chat about a rehearsed reading of a play over a cuppa. This year so far we have presented two editions of this hugely popular activity, reaching 160 people.
Sherman Youth Theatre and Sherman Players
Our celebrated Youth Theatre and non-professional ensembles have made an important contribution to the 50th birthday year. In March our Youth Theatre revisited a classic Cardiff play by Gary Owen with Ghost Cities and staged a new show Stolen Stories in July. In April Sherman Youth Theatre played host to youth theatre ensembles from across the country in a festival which was an extravaganza of young creativity. In June Sherman Players staged a riotous Elizabethan comedy The London Merchant.
Our longstanding partnership with Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama continued with our eighth successive production for their annual NEW festival. This year’s Sherman commission was Rebecca Jade Hammond’s searing tragedy Mad Margot performed by the College’s Richard Burton Company, directed by Jac Ifan Moore with Branwen Davies as Welsh Language Dramaturg.