Gagglebabble & National Theatre Wales

with Wales Millennium Centre and British Council Wales present

 WONDERMAN

A play with music adapted from Roald Dahl’s Stories for adults

Script and lyrics by Daf James

Music by Lucy Rivers

From a story by Daf James, Hannah McPake and Lucy Rivers

Director: Amy Leach, Designer: Hayley Grindle, Lighting Designer: Joshua Carr, Sound Designer: Dan Lawrence
Cast: James Clarke, Peter Komor, Hannah McPake, Mark O’Connor, Adam Redmore & Lucy Rivers

Dates: 3rd-28thAugust 2016 (except Mondays)

Time: 6.05pm (1hr15min)

Venue: Underbelly Potterrow (Topside)

Recommended for ages 14+

GAGGLEBABBLE & NATIONAL THEATRE WALES BRING ROALD DAHL TO THE EDINBURGH FRINGE IN HIS CENTENARY YEAR 

WONDERMAN WILL FUSE SOME OF DAHL’S TWISTED TALES FOR ADULTS WITH GAGGLEBABBLE’S REPUTATION FOR TRAIL-BLAZING GIG-THEATRE

Two of Wales’ most innovative theatre companies will combine forces with one of its leading writers at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, for a night that celebrates some of the darker, adult stories written by Roald Dahl, who was born in Cardiff in September 1916.

Gagglebabble are renowned in Wales for making roof-raising shows that combine sizzling hot live music, unforgettable original songs and a gleeful love of all things wicked and unexpected. They return to Edinburgh following the success of their multi-award-winning 2013 Fringe hit The Bloody Ballad (winner of Best New Musical and best Music MTN, Emerging Talent award Brighton Fringe, Best Music and Best Ensemble Theatre Critics Wales 2014 and Argus Angel Winner for Artistic Excellence 2014). “Gruesome good fun” The Times; “Unmissable new theatre” The Stage; “Cult classic of the future” The Public Reviews.

National Theatre Wales – the country’s English-language national theatre company – returns for the third time. In 2011 they teamed up with Told by an Idiot to stage The Dark Philosophers; a twisted, grisly staging of some of Gwyn Thomas’ short stories. Two years later, they staged Tim Price’s The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning (which won that year’s inaugural James Tait Black Prize for Drama 2013) just as Manning – now known as Chelsea – was being sentenced (“★★★★★ terrific… [a] fierce 100 minutes of theatre”; The Scotsman).

This August, the two companies will join forces with regular collaborator Daf James, writer (and performer) of some of the Edinburgh Fringe’s most talked-about productions in recent years (Llwyth – Theatr Genedlaethol/Sherman Cymru, Total Theatre Award winner My Name is Sue – Dafydd James & Company), to present Wonderman; a unique take on Roald Dahl’s early short stories for adults, combining original music performed by a cracking live band, grisly plots, soaring imaginings and thrilling twists and turns, all injected with a wicked sense of dark humour.

Wonderman tells the story of a WWII RAF pilot who finds himself in a hospital bed, badly injured. He slips in and out of a world of dreams, hallucinations and nightmares, down the strange and unexpected corridors and rabbit holes of Dahl’s mind.

It promises to be a thrilling evening of spectacular storytelling and heart-pounding, evocative live music, in which some of Wales’ best living artists celebrate its most famous writer, a century since his birth.

Lucy Rivers & Hannah McPake of Gagglebabble said: “We are very excited to be working on Dahl’s brilliant short stories, and feel that they’re a perfect match for our own anarchic, dark and playful style of theatre. It’s also great to be collaborating with National Theatre Wales on this show during his centenary year.”

Kully Thiarai, Artistic Director of National Theatre Wales, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating on this new work with Gagglebabble. It promises to be great fun, witty and anarchic and with a spirit of adventure that both companies are renowned for.”

Artists’ Biographies

Daf James is an award-winning writer, composer and performer, working in theatre, radio and television in both English and Welsh. His work has been performed across the UK and internationally in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan and the USA. He trained in the Lecoq pedagogy at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) and has a PhD in Theatre Studies from Warwick University. Credits include: All That I Am (RWCM&D/Sherman Cymru/The Gate); Crackanory (Tiger Aspect/Dave); Psychobitches (Tiger Aspect/Sky Arts, winner of Rose D’or Award); Mother Courage & Her Children (National Theatre Wales); Terrace (BBC Radio 3); Gwaith/Cartref (10 Episodes For Fiction Factory, Celtic Media Award); Heritage (National Theatre Connections); The Village Social (National Theatre Wales/National Theatre Studio); Llwyth (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru/Sherman Cymru, Wales Theatre Critics Award); My Name Is Sue (Total Theatre Award) & Sue: The Second Coming (Dafydd James & Company). He currently has work in development with Fiction Factory, Scott Free Productions, Sherman Cymru, BBC Radio 4, and WMC/Cape Town Opera.

Amy Leach is an award-winning director. She trained on the National Theatre Directors Course and is an Associate Artist of The Egg in Bath, The Dukes Theatre, Lancaster and Shakespeare Schools Festival. Her directing credits include Kes, The Night Before Christmas and Little Sure Shot for the West Yorkshire Playhouse; The Caucasian Chalk Circle for the Unicorn, London; Wanted! Robin Hood and Arabian Nights for the Library Theatre at The Lowry (winner of Best Ensemble at the Manchester Theatre Awards 2012); The Life and Times of Mitchell and Kenyon, The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, Peter Pan, My Mother Said I Never Shouldand Sabbat for The Dukes; Dracula, Peter Pan, Wilde Tales, Oliver Twist, The Animated Tales of Shakespeareand The Grimm Brothers’ Circus for Theatre Royal Bath/the egg, and Dr Korczak’s Example for the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester (MEN Award Winner for Best Studio Production 2008). From 2003 to 2011, Amy co-founded and ran en masse theatre, with whom she created nine productions for young people which toured nationally and internationally, winning two Fringe Firsts at the EdFringe. Later in 2016, Amy will direct The Borrowers for Sherman Cymru at Christmas, and she has recently been developing work with the National Theatre Studio and National Theatre of Scotland.

Lucy Rivers is a writer, composer, actor, and musician, and is co-founder of the multi-award-winning company Gagglebabble. Writing, performing and composing credits include; The Bloody Ballad (Edinburgh, Soho and UK tour) and The Forsythe Sisters for Gagglebabble; The Devil’s Violin for BBC Radio 4 and Little Sure Shot for the Egg, Bath And West Yorkshire Playhouse. Composer Credits; The Bear (Polka and The Albany), Father Christmas (Lyric Hammersmith and West Yorkshire Playhouse), Sleeping BeautiesThe Happy PrinceThe Selfish Giant and The Devoted Friend (Sherman Cymru), Y Storm (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), Grimm Tales(Theatr Iolo), Finding Mr Average (Channel 4), and eight large-scale puppet shows for RWCM&D. Other performing credits include; The Village Social (National Theatre Wales), My Name Is Sue by Dafydd James and Ben Lewis, Journey To The Riversea UnicornGrapes Of Wrath and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Clwyd Theatre Cymru), Not I (Chapter), The Blood Of Others (Arcola Theatre), Missing (Theatr Iolo), The BorrowersBabe, and James And The Giant Peach (Sherman Cymru). She is also one half of the Welsh folk duo Olion Byw. Lucy has just finished an international tour performing in Kneehigh’s acclaimed production of Dead Dog In A Suitcase (and Other Love Songs) and is currently developing a new show for Gagglebabble and The Other Room called The Sinners’ Club.

Hannah McPake is an actor and theatre maker. She graduated from RWCM&D in 2003. Theatre includes: I Am Thomas (Told By An Idiot/NTS), Rapunzel (Citizens’ Theatre), The Tempest (Improbable/Northern Stage/Oxford Playhouse), The Gamblers (Greyscale/Dundee Rep/Northern Stage), The Knight Of The Burning Pestle and Romeo And Juliet (Shakespeare’s Globe), Silly Kings and Red Woman/Green Man (National Theatre Wales), The Ghosts Of Scrooge (Manchester Library Theatre), Maudie’s RoomsPlumAnd Me Will and Cinders (Sherman Cymru), The First Time I Saw Snow (The Belgrade Coventry), The Bloody Ballad and The Forsythe Sisters (Gagglebabble) and Don Quixote (Theatre Modo). Television credits include: Comedy Trollied (Sky 1) and Skins (E4). Radio credits include Modesty Blaise (BBC Radio 4. Film includes: Dead End Job(Cyfle/RWCM&D). Writing credits include: The Forsythe Sisters and Balloon Girl (Gagglebabble).

August 012 & Chapter Arts Centre

with National Theatre Wales, Wales Millennium Centre & British Council Wales present

YURI

Written by Fabrice Melquiot

Adapted by Daf James

Directed by Mathilde Lopez

Cast: Carys Eleri, Ceri Murphy and Guto Wynne Davies

Dates: 4th-28th August 2016

Time: 10.10pm (1hr)

Venue: Underbelly Cowgate (Big Belly)

Ticket prices: £6-£11

Recommended for ages 16+

One of Wales’ leading theatre companies, August 012, will be making its Edinburgh Fringe Festival debut in 2016 with Yuri; a high-pitched, absurd yet sobering farce by French playwright Fabrice Melquiot that examines the conflict between an infertile couple desperately struggling to make sense of the world around them.

Patrick and Adele can’t have children and then Yuri appears. But who is Yuri? Why is he here? Is he dangerous? Is he Russian? Should we love him? A play about infertility, Scrabble, supermarkets, sex, the state of the planet, national identity, racism, the stranger in your living room and the absurdity of wanting to bring children into our deranged world. It’s also about love.

Melquiot published the original play, Youri, in 2011. In 2015, it was adapted into Welsh and English by award-winning Welsh writer Daf James, and presented by August 012 at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff. It will be performed at Chapter Arts Centre again as part of its Edinburgh Preview Festival, 26th-30th July.

Yuri will make its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August, thanks to a Wales in Edinburgh grant (which supports taking the best of Welsh theatre to Edinburgh Fringe Festival) from the Arts Council of Wales. It will be performed in English (with flashes of Welsh) by the same cast.

Writer Daf James, who adapted the play, said: “I love the boldness and audacity of Melquiot’s writing: how it constantly pushes against the boundaries of what is permissible to articulate. He totally gets away with it though, in my view; because he writes with such wit, and his social observations are so acute, the play manages to be both politically prescient and highly entertaining at the same time.

“As someone going through the adoption process myself at the moment, the themes of the play have suddenly become particularly resonant. It is also fascinating how translating the play reflects its exploration of difference: working in French, English and Welsh means I get to negotiate the similarities, differences and gaps between cultures.

“I was delighted that audiences in Cardiff responded so enthusiastically to the beautifully constructed pandemonium of Mathilde’s production and the sophistication of Melquiot’s text. I believe that August 012’s production of Yuri is perfect Festival entertainment: hysterical, twisted, anarchic and boundary-pushing.”

Artists’ Biographies

Fabrice Melquiot – Writer

Fabrice Melquiot is a playwright, songwriter, performance artist and director. He started his career acting alongside Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota and the Millefontaines theatre company, while at the same time he began to write. In 1998 his first children’s stories, Les Petits Mélancoliques and Le Jardin de Beamon, were published by l’Ecole des loisirs, and broadcast on the French public radio channel, France Culture. He later received the Grand Prix Paul-Gilson award from the Community of French-Language Public Broadcasters (CRPLF), and the European prize for best radio work for adolescents in Bratislava. In 2008, Melquiot received the Académie Française’s Prix Théâtre in recognition of his work. In 2012-2013 Youri was staged in Brussels under the direction of Georges Lini; and Laurent Rossini produced Eileen Shakespeare in Nouméa, New Caledonia. Melquiot’s texts have been translated into a dozen languages and are available in several countries, including Germany, Greece, Mexico, the United States of America, Chile, Spain, Italy, Japan, Canada and Russia.

Daf James – Adapter

Daf James is an award-winning writer, composer and performer, working in theatre, radio and television in both English and Welsh. His work has been performed across the UK and internationally in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Sweden, Taiwan and the USA. He trained in the Lecoq pedagogy at the London International School of Performing Arts (LISPA) and has a PhD in Theatre Studies from Warwick University. Credits include: All That I Am (RWCM&D/Sherman Cymru/The Gate); Crackanory (Tiger Aspect/Dave); Psychobitches (Tiger Aspect/Sky Arts, winner of Rose D’or Award); Mother Courage & Her Children (National Theatre Wales); Terrace (BBC Radio 3); Gwaith/Cartref (10 Episodes For Fiction Factory, Celtic Media Award); Heritage (National Theatre Connections); The Village Social (National Theatre Wales/National Theatre Studio); Llwyth (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru/Sherman Cymru, Wales Theatre Critics Award); My Name Is Sue (Total Theatre Award) & Sue: The Second Coming (Dafydd James & Company). He currently has work in development with Fiction Factory, Scott Free Productions, Sherman Cymru, BBC Radio 4, and WMC/Cape Town Opera.

Mathilde López – Director

Mathilde is August 012’s Artistic Director. She trained at Central Saint Martin’s in Performance Design, has a Master in Theatre Directing from Birkbeck College and was a founding member of National Theatre Wales. She also teaches at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. Directing credits include: Wise (August 012/Cardiff University), Cyrano Development (August 012), Roberto Zucco (August 012/Chapter), Tonypandemonium(National Theatre Wales), Caligula (August 012/Chapter), Who Killed The Elephant? (August 012/James Tyson), Pornography (Waking Exploits/Chapter and touring), Man On The Moon (George Orange/Wales Millennium Centre and touring), De Gabay development week I And II (National Theatre Wales/Gulbenkian Foundation), Serious Money (Waking Exploits/Chapter), Crosswired (East London Dance/Barbican Centre), Cien Años De Soledad (London/Prague), Yvonne, Princess Of Burgundy (Hoxton Hall), Hotel Europa and Prometheus Bound (Cochrane Theatre/Hoxton Hall). She previously worked as an assistant director and literary manager for Theatre Royal Stratford East, freelanced for ITV, BBC and BBC Wales as a production designer and with Carl Fillion on La Celestina and 1984, both projects directed by Robert Lepage and produced by Ex Machina.

Carys Eleri – Actor
Carys was most recently seen on S4C drama Parch, in which she played the leading role as vicar Myfanwy. She played Lily Smalls in Kevin Allen’s Under Milk Wood due to screen in cinemas this year and appeared in the most recent series of Gwaith Cartref also for S4C. In 2013, she won the BBC Norman Beaton Fellowship; a BBC radio drama award which earned her a five-month contact on the radio rep in London where she acted in most radio plays produced at that time for BBC Radio 4. Carys has a long history of theatre work having frequently worked with companies such as National Theatre Wales, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Cwmni Frân Wen.

Ceri Murphy – Actor

Ceri Murphy’s television acting work includes Hotel BabylonCrashThe Indian Doctor and Hinterland for BBC, as well as leading roles for S4C including Apollo Boomerang’s award-winning 35 Diwrnod. Ceri is an associate cast member with the Welsh-language national theatre of Wales, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, and has performed at the Almeida Theatre with Dirty Protest. He has been nominated twice for best actor in the Welsh language at the Wales Theatre Awards. Most recently, he was seen playing the part of Corbin Thomas in the critically acclaimed BBCThree drama 13. He recently completed filming on the new series of Ordinary Lies for BBC1. Ceri has also been awarded funding by the Arts Council of Wales to research and develop his own show.

Guto Wynne Davies – Actor
Guto is originally from Penparc, a small village next to Cardigan. From a very young age, he’s had a passion for acting and theatre, and in 2010 during his GCSEs, he moved from Cardigan Secondary School to Ysgol y Preseli to further his interest and education in Drama. In 2014, Guto was fortunate to be a part of the National Youth Theatre of Wales’ production of How Do You Eat an Elephant?, directed by Jude Christian. Since then, he has been in two pantomimes with Cwmni Mega, in Patagonia and Melltith Brenin Lludd directed by Dafydd Hywel. Guto has recently finished performing in Arad Goch’s production of Cysgu’n Brysur, directed by Jeremy Turner.

A Neontopia and Wales Millennium Centre co-production, in association with The Other Room and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru present with National Theatre Wales & British Council Wales

A GOOD CLEAN HEART

Writer: Alun Saunders

Director: Mared Swain

Set and Costume Designer: Carl Davies, Video Designer: Zakk Hein, Lighting Designer: Elanor Higgins, Sound Designer: Dyfan Jones

Cast: to be announced

Dates: 4th-28th August 2016

Time: 6.40pm (1hr)

Venue: Underbelly Cowgate (Belly Button)

Recommended for ages 14+.

AWARD-WINNING WELSH PLAYWRIGHT BRINGS A GOOD CLEAN HEART TO EDINBURGH FRINGE

Fresh from winning the Wales Theatre Award 2016 for best Playwright in the English Language, Alun Saunders, Neontopia and Wales Millennium Centre bring his funny and moving play A Good Clean Heart to Edinburgh for its Fringe debut.

A Good Clean Heart, originally produced by and premiered at Cardiff’s pub theatre The Other Room, is a moving coming-of-age story about two brothers raised by different families, and who speak different languages.

Having suppressed any desire to know more about his early life, before he was adopted, on his 18th birthday Hefin discovers not only that has a sibling, but that he wasn’t – as he’d always believed – born in Wales. On a defiant whim, Hefin takes a trip to meet his long-lost big brother, and crash-lands in a totally alien universe, just two hours down the M4. A Good Clean Heart asks whether the love between two siblings raised in different cultures can overcome their differences.

With animated surtitles in both English and Welsh, and directed by Mared Swain, this production brings exciting new Welsh writing to the heart of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Neontopia said: “Sharing this award-winning, bilingual play with an international audience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival marks the beginning of our journey as a company – albeit an incredibly ambitious one! We’re truly proud to be co-producing this newly developed and re-envisaged production of A Good Clean Heart with Wales Millennium Centre, in association with The Other Room and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.”

Artists’ Biographies

Writer Alun Saunders‘ first full-length play; A Good Clean Heart, was The Other Room’s first piece of new writing, completing their inaugural season alongside work by Sarah Kane and Howard Barker, and winning Alun the Wales Theatre Award for Best Playwright in the English Language. Having trained as an actor at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama, Alun began writing during a very quiet temping assignment, going on to win Sherman Cymru’s ScriptSlam competition in 2008 with his short play To Be Frank. He was recently selected to become a Writer on Attachment with Clwyd Theatr Cymru, and has previously written for Sherman Cymru and Theatr na n’Og, in addition to an array of short plays for Dirty Protest Theatre. Alun’s play, 6:37, was produced by Dirty Protest Theatre and performed at the Royal Court, Latitude Festival and at National Theatre Wales & Dirty Protest’s Dirty, Gifted & Welsh festival of new writing. Alun is currently a member of the writing team on Fiction Factory’s highly successful drama series for S4C, Gwaith/Cartref, and is also developing a number of exciting, original theatre and tv projects.

Director Mared Swain is Artistic Director of Neontopia and has, in recent years, been Associate Director of The Other Room and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru. She is also a founder member of Dirty Protest Theatre and has directed many of their shorts including plays performed at the London Roundhouse, The Almeida Theatre, Royal Court and Latitude Festival. She was Associate Director at Sherman Cymru for three years, and during her time there developed new work with Welsh language writers and directed Fe Ddaw’r Byd i BenTrwy’r Ddinas HonCynnau TânThe Snow Tiger/Teigr yr Eira and Corina Pavlova and The Lion’s Roar. For Dirty Protest, credits include After the End. Mared was shortlisted as Best Director at the Wales Theatre Awards for the original production of A Good Clean Heart at The Other Room in 2015. Mared is also currently working for Fiction Factory as Story Producer for the next series of Gwaith Cartref for S4C.