Christmas at Sherman Theatre is always a very special time of year. As live performances couldn’t take place in 2020, Christmas 2021 at the Sherman promises to be truly memorable. In keeping with Sherman Theatre tradition, the theatre will stage two new actor musician led productions, re-scheduled from last year, to enchant and entertain audiences across Cardiff and South Wales and provide many children with a treasurable first experience of live theatre. As with every Made at Sherman production, the two shows are entirely rehearsed, made and built under the roof of the Sherman in the heart of Cardiff. The two productions bring to life adaptations of much-loved stories by two of Wales’s greatest writers for the stage, both whose work is synonymous with Sherman Theatre: Gary Owen (Iphigenia in Splott, Killology and The Cherry Orchard) and Katherine Chandler (Lose Yourself and Bird).
In the Main House, audiences aged 7+ will be transported to Victorian Cardiff through Joe Murphy’s spectacular and atmospheric production of a new version of Gary Owen’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. This major new staging will be Joe Murphy’s first Main House production as Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director.
Following the hugely successful bilingual production of The Ugly Duckling / Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll in 2019, writer Katherine Chandler and director Sara Lloyd (Anfamol Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru) have teamed up again to create a delightful new production of Katherine’s adaptation of The Elves and the Shoemaker / Y Coblynnod a’r Crydd. This production is performed in Welsh and English at separate performances and is specially created to provide children aged 3-6 with the perfect introduction to theatre. The Welsh translation is by Mererid Hopwood.
Sherman Theatre has announced the casts and creative teams for both productions which are centred around Welsh and Wales-based artists. Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director Joe Murphy has said “We are delighted to be once again able to offer our audiences joyous experiences at the theatre at Christmas. One of the things that makes the festive season so special, and this will be more important than ever this year, is the opportunity to come together and spend time with friends and family and there is no better place to do that than at the theatre. We have two wonderful adaptations from two of Wales’s greatest writers for the stage to share with our audiences and I am excited to welcome such brilliant casts and creative teams to the Sherman to bring these classic stories to life.”
A superb cast of actor musicians, including several names familiar to Sherman Theatre audiences, has been assembled for A Christmas Carol. Hannah McPake, known to Sherman Christmas audiences for her performances as Chief Weasel in The Wind in the Willows and the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, is the miserly and miserable Ebenezer Scrooge. Another Sherman favourite, Keiron Self who has performed in many past Christmas shows including Alice in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows, The Borrowers and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, returns to the Main House stage as Jacob Marley. James Ifan known to Sherman Christmas audiences as the Mad Hatter in the 2018 production of Alice in Wonderland also joins the cast. The cast for A Christmas Carol also includes an exciting line-up of actor musicians performing in their first Sherman Christmas show: musician and actor Kizzy Crawford (Keeping Faith BBC/S4C), Seiriol Davies (The Messenger Sherman Theatre; How To Win Against History), Feliks Mathur (The Cherry Orchard Union Theatre), Emmy Stonelake (Dick Whittington Theatr Clwyd) and Nadia Wyn Abouayen who is making her stage debut in A Christmas Carol. For each Main House Christmas production Sherman Theatre offers a paid entry level opportunity through its Apprentice Actor scheme. This year’s Apprentice Actor is Enfys Clara.
Alongside Joe Murphy, the exceptional creative team for A Christmas Carol includes: Designer Hayley Grindle (Alice in Wonderland, The Borrowers, Iphigenia in Splott Sherman Theatre), Lighting Designer Andy Pike (Radical Reinventions, The Merthyr Stigmatist Sherman Theatre), Composer Lucy Rivers (Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauties Sherman Theatre), Musical Director Gareth Wyn Griffiths (The Wind in the Willows, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe Sherman Theatre), Sound Designer Ian Barnard (The Merthyr Stigmatist, Alice in Wonderland Sherman Theatre), Puppetry Designer and Director Rachael Canning (Sleeping Beauties, The Snow Tiger Sherman Theatre), Associate Director Matthew Holmquist (Ripples RWCMD/Sherman Theatre/National Theatre Wales) and Costume Supervisor Clara Lockyer. Mehdi Razi is Trainee Assistant Director, which is a paid entry level opportunity created in collaboration between Sherman Theatre and Red Oak Theatre company.
The talented cast for The Elves and the Shoemaker / Y Coblynnod a’r Crydd is Karin Diamond (Belonging/Perthyn Re-Live) and Jed O’Reilly, who many will remember in the title role in Sherman Theatre’s previous Studio Christmas show, 2019’s The Ugly Duckling / Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll. The expert creative team working alongside Sara Lloyd are: Designer Tomás Palmer, Lighting Designer Ceri James (Tylwyth Sherman Theatre/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, The Ugly Duckling / Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll Sherman Theatre), Composer and Musical Director Dyfan Jones (The Ugly Duckling / Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll, The Magic Porridge Pot / Hud y Crochan Uwd Sherman Theatre) and Associate Sound Designer Ian Barnard. Tafsila Khan is Trainee Production Assistant. This is a paid entry level opportunity.