Sherman Theatre announces made at Sherman productions and artistic programme for 2022

Sherman Theatre has announced a bold, forward looking programme of work for audiences and artists in 2022. At the heart of the programme are four new Made at Sherman productions of plays by Welsh and Wales based writers, four of which are world premieres. The work on Sherman Theatre’s stages is complemented by a major artist development scheme to amplify and elevate a diverse range of voices in Welsh theatre.

The Made at Sherman productions for 2022 are:

· Dance to the Bone by Eleanor Yates and Oliver Hoare (Studio)

· A Hero of the People by Brad Birch (Studio)

· Tales of the Brothers Grimm by Hannah McPake (Main House)

· Elen Benfelen / Goldilocks by Elgan Rhys (Studio)

Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director, Joe Murphy has said “Our work to re-connect our audiences with live theatre began in the autumn. Now we must look to the future. Our 2022 season sees us move forward with excitement and ambition for our artists, audiences and communities. I cannot wait for us to begin working with these unique writers who will be telling extraordinary stories for the people of Cardiff and beyond. I am also looking forward to seeing what our Unheard Voices participants will create over the course of the year.”

Independent producer Ceriann Williams, Neon Candle and Sherman Theatre will co-produce the premiere of Dance to the Bone (25 Mar – 2 Apr) by Eleanor Yates and Oliver Hoare, directed by Joe Murphy and Matthew Holmquist. Strasbourg, 1518. A mysterious and occasionally deadly fever which forces those infected to dance, grips the streets of the city. 500 years later in South Wales, the fever has returned. Joanne Bevan, a lonely and frustrated call centre worker, finds herself disconnected from her family, her community and her own body. One day she is visited by St Vitus, the Patron Saint of dancing, who invites her to dance away her problems. But what happens if she’s forgotten how to dance? What happens if she can’t stop? What happens if the fever spreads? Dance to the Bone tells Joanne’s story through mix of new writing, live music and dance.

Eleanor and Oliver have said: “We are so excited to bring our debut show as a company to the Sherman Theatre. Having played music together for over ten years, there was a story inspired by one of Oliver’s songs that wouldn’t go away. The more it grew, the wilder the story became and would no longer neatly fit between the songs. We brought the first few songs and the idea for Dance to the Bone to the Sherman back in 2019. Since then we have had incredible support from the team here in developing the show. After the past two years of uncertainty and isolation we want it to be a celebration of both live theatre and music. We can’t wait to share this story with an audience”.

Sherman Theatre’s scheduled 2020 production of Brad Birch’s version of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People was postponed due to the pandemic. Following the events of the past five years, Brad Birch (Tremor Sherman Theatre; Black Mountain Paines Plough, Theatr Clwyd and Orange Tree Theatre) has revisited Ibsen’s play and reworked it as A Hero of the People (13 – 28 May). This reimagining, which is directed by Joe Murphy, pits the personal against the political, stories versus reality and emotion versus facts creating a drama which speaks to the world we now find ourselves in.

Brad has said: “I’m delighted to be reunited with him for this show back home at the brilliant Sherman Theatre. The world feels strange and fragile and unpredictable at the moment and we are using this retelling of one of our great modern myths to try and make sense of it.”

Christmas at the Sherman is always a magical time of year. 2022 will see the premiere of two new Christmas shows based on much-loved stories. In the Main House, audiences aged 7+ will enjoy a fun and irreverent new take on classic fairy tales with Tales Of The Brothers Grimm (25 Nov- 31 Dec) by Hannah McPake (Tilting at Windmills Radical Reinventions, Rodney and the Shrieking Sisterhood Heart of Cardiff audio series, Sherman Theatre) who is currently performing in A Christmas Carol as Ebenezer Scrooge.

Hannah has said “As an actor I have loved being part of the Sherman’s Christmas shows, they have a real sense of magic and wonder. So I can’t wait as a writer to create a new show for the Main House in 2022 and take audiences on a fun adventure across the Cardiff of 1913, reinventing these classic tales.”

The Sherman’s Studio show for ages 3-6 will be a new adaptation of Elen Benfelen / Goldilocks (4 & 5 Nov, 28 Nov – 31 Dec) by Elgan Rhys (Woof Sherman Theatre; Chwarae Theatr Iolo) written in Welsh and translated into English and performed in each language at separate performances.

Elgan has said “I’m so excited to be returning to the Sherman next Christmas to bring audiences a modern twist on this much-loved family tale. It’s a story, at its core, about fitting in and this version will look at what that means in our new normal. The Sherman Christmas shows hold a special place in my heart, as they do to so many people, and Elen Benfelen / Goldilocks will be just as full of magic and music as ever.”

Since the pandemic began, Sherman Youth Theatre has found innovative ways to make, perform and share its hugely creative work online. In March 2022, after a pause of two years, Sherman Youth Theatre will return to the Main House to perform in front of a live audience once again. This spring’s production is Chat Back (3-5 Mar) by David Judge, directed by Ashley Cummings which will also be performed when Sherman Theatre plays host to the NT Connections 2022 Festival from 21-23 April.

Sherman Theatre has once again curated a strong and varied programme of shows from touring companies, performers and comedians for Spring2022. The Sherman is proud to continue to be a stage for our national companies and will welcome Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and National Theatre Wales with their co-production with August012 of Petula by Fabrice Melquiot, adapted and translated by Sherman Theatre Associate Artist Daf James and directed by Mathilde Lopez. National Dance Company Wales will return to the Sherman with their One Another programme on 26 Apr.

Re-scheduled from 2020, Sherman Associate Artist Seiriol Davies’ ferocious musical comedy Milky Peaks plays at the theatre from 4-7 May. For families, Lyngo Theatre return to the Sherman with their enchanting production of Tom Thumb (23 & 24 Feb). Also returning to the Sherman are Birmingham Stage Company with their hugely popular Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors show on 13 & 14 Apr. The spring comedy line-up includes Mark Thomas (15 Feb, re-scheduled from 2020), Flo and Joan (16 Feb) and Matt Forde (14 Apr, re-scheduled from 2020). Sherman Theatre’s spring season also includes an evening with rugby legend Shane Williams (2 Feb), My Last Supper One Meal A Lifetime In The Making with Jay Rayner (17 Feb, re-scheduled from 2020) and La Voix (19 Feb).

In Spring 2020 just before the first lockdown began, Sherman Theatre announced the Unheard Voices initiative to help ensure that unheard voices in Welsh theatre became heard. The programme will now take place throughout 2022 with an expanded focus. Unheard Voices will connect, inspire and empower 20 Welsh and Wales-based writers who are Women, from Diverse Ethnic Communities, LBTQ+, or are D/deaf or disabled. Unheard Voices will enable participants to develop their skills through a series of 12 online masterclasses delivered by key figures in theatre, who identify as one or several of the above. Participants will also build their professional network and begin a long lasting relationship with Sherman Theatre. The programme is a valuable opportunity for participants to share their voice and have it supported by their peers and Sherman Theatre. Unheard Voices will be led by Sherman Theatre’s Literary team: Literary Manager Branwen Davies and Literary Associate Alice Eklund. Submissions are now open, the deadline is 31 December. For more details click here.

Branwen Davies has said “Our aim with Unheard Voices is to empower writers from different walks of life and lived experiences who might not have had the opportunity to share and develop their writing previously. We want to elevate and amplify these voices and provide a platform and support for stories that need to be heard and shared. Along with learning new skills with expert practitioners in a series of workshops the writers will also build a relationship with the Sherman and have the chance to network and engage.”

Sherman Theatre has announced that Nia Morais will become its new Writer in Residence. Nia’s first play Crafangau / Claws formed part of the Sherman’s Heart of Cardiff audio series and was performed live at outdoor shows in the Summer of 2021. Nia Morais has said ”I’m thrilled to be the new Writer in Residence at the Sherman! I can’t wait to get started on expanding my own creativity while working with the Sherman team.”

Actor and Writer Mali Ann Rees will join Seiriol Davies, Hayley Grindle, Daf James, Kyle Lima, Patricia Logue and Suzanne Packer as a Sherman Theatre Associate Artist. Sherman Theatre’s Associate Artists make a substantial contribution through their expertise and advice to help maintain the Sherman’s artistic excellence.

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