Guy O'Donnell

Hi I am Guy the project coordinator for Get The Chance. I am a trained secondary teacher of Art and Design and have taught at all Key Stages in England and Wales. I am also an experienced theatre designer and have designed for many of the theatre companies in Wales.

Meet the Young Critics !

With the TCWA coming up we thought now would be a good opportunity to add some information on this site on our Young Critics who form part of the panel for the TCWA.

The Scheme is open for young people from 5-25 and is free.

Rachel Morgan

Morgan YC headshot



Ar hyn o bryd dwi’n astudio ar gyfer MPhil yn yr Adran Gymraeg yn Aberystwyth, ond dwi’n dod o Aberdâr yn wreiddiol. Dwi newydd ymuno â’r Beirniad Ifainc ac wrth fy modd yn adolygu digwyddiadau llenyddol, cerddorol a’r theatr yng Nghymru.

I’m from Aberdare but currently studying for an Mphil in the Welsh department in Aberystwyth. I’ve recently joined Young Critics and enjoy reviewing literature, music and theatre events in Wales.


Sarah Finch

sarah finch

I am currently studying my first year of a degree for Theatre And Drama at Glamorgan University.
My eventual goal is to become a theatre/performance critic enabling me to write for magazines and websites.
You’ll always find me with a notepad and pen while attending productions at Chapter, WMC, The New Theatre and other localised events.
I enjoy writing about others’ work and I find it encourages and influences my methods when I take to the stage to deliver a performance

Harriet Hopkins

Harriet photo

I run a not-for-profit Writing Group, ‘Scribblers’ – we meet once a month to share all types of writing, give and gain feedback, and generally have a jolly nice time 🙂

I LOVE editing others’ writing, and am always open to submissions from budding screen or prose writers.

I’ve completed a BA(hons) in Creative Writing with Film Studies, and an MA in Creative and Critical Writing, which have given me the ability to critique creative work, as well as create it.

Most recently, I’ve been working behind the scenes on short and feature and films, which we hope will premiere in 2013.

TCWA Admin Officer.

Elin Williams

photo-Elin Williams

  • English Literature graduate of Cardiff University.
  • Love writing, directing and producing my own theatre.
  • Young critic, reviewing in English and Welsh, writing for a personal blog and Wales Arts Review
  • Theatre marketing assistant at a local theatre in the valleys

Rachel Williams


Stage Editor, Buzz | Young Critc | Part Time Civil Servant (to feed my theatrical and literary habits 😉 )

I have completed a BA in Media and Modern Literature and an MA Creative and Media writing.

Currently the Stage Editor for Buzz Magazine and juggling a job to pay the bills.

Always on the look out for new shows or new idea’s, let me know!

Fern Coslett


I am currently an A Level student at Stanwell School in the Vale of Glamorgan. I study media along with psychology and Product design. I hope to be going on to study media communications this September. I have my own personal blog in which I write about my favourite artists or songs in the music Industry. I enjoy deconstructing and analysing media texts; and being a part of young critics has allowed me to pursue this further. .
Bethan James

Bethan pic 2 for biog

“Bethan is a writer and Young Critic currently focusing on scriptwriting projects. She works in the marketing team at a theatre.

Bethan is interested in theatre that incorporates innovative, participatory, and multi-media elements.”

Chelsey Gillard

biog image chelsey gillard


Chelsey has been part of the Young Critic’s Scheme since it began in 2010 and is currently studying English and Drama at Cardiff Metropolitan University . She is one of the founding members of Hinge Productions – the university’s drama society and is directing their current production.

As well as writing for the Young Critics Chelsey also regularly contributes to Buzz Magazine and Wales Arts Review. She is passionate about all aspects of theatre and really enjoys innovative and original work, especially physical or circus theatre.

After her degree she hopes to pursue a career in theatre either in a practical sense or as an arts journalist.


Theatre Critics of Wales Awards,Sherman Cymru, Jan 26th


The Young Critics are very proud to be helping support the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards.

For anyone who didn’t see the nomination shortlist for the inaugural Theatre Critics of Wales Awards in yesterdays Western Mail, the nominations are as follows:

*Please note an adjustment due to an error in the ‘Best Production in the English’ Language category.


Best production in the Welsh language:

Mae Bilin Bwrw’r Bronco – Theatr na n’Og/Wales Millennium Centre

Y Storm – Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

Llwyth – Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedaethol Cymru

Llanast! – Theatr Bara Caws

Sgint – Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru in association with Galeri, Caernarfon


Best male performance in the Welsh language:

Danny Grehan – Llwyth (Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedaethol Cymru)

Sion Ifan – Mae Bilin Bwrw’r Bronco

Llion Williams – Y Storm (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)

Simon Watts – Llwyth

Joshua Price – Llwyth


Best female performance in the Welsh language:

Rebecca Harries – Llanast! (Theatr Bara Caws)

Mofudd Hughes – Sgint (Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru in association with Galeri, Caernarfon)

Lisa Marged – Y Storm (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)

Manon Wilkinson – Sgint

Sara Harris-Davies – Sgint


Best production in the English language:

Before It Rains – Sherman Cymru/Bristol Old Vic

The Radicalisation Of Bradley Manning – National Theatre Wales

Last Christmas – Dirty Protest/Clwyd Theatr Cymru

The Wizard, The Goat and The Man Who Won The War – Taliesin Arts Centre

Coriolan/us – National Theatre Wales


Best male performance in the English language:

Craig Gazey – Before It Rains (Sherman Cymru/Bristol Old Vic)

Richard Elfyn – The Wizard, The Goat And The Man Who Won The War (Taliesin Arts Centre)

David O’Toole – In Water I’m Weightless (National Theatre Wales)

Richard Lynch – Coriolan/us (National Theatre Wales)

Simon Nehan – Bruised (Clwyd Theatr Cymru)


Best female performance in the English language:

Sharon Morgan – The Utah Bride (1.618 Theatre)

Lisa Palfrey – Before It Rains (Sherman Cymru/Bristol Old Vic)

Helen Griffin – Who’s Afraid Of Rachel Roberts? (Torch Theatre)

Mari Phillips – A Clockwork Orange (Volcano)

Teifi Emerald – Wild


Best ensemble:

The Radicalisation Of Bradley Manning – National Theatre Wales

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Mappa Mundi/Torch Theatre/Theatr Mwldan

Coriolan/us – National Theatre Wales

Llwyth – Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol

Little Dogs (National Theatre Wales)


Best director:

Terry Hands – As You Like It (Clwyd Theatr Cymru)

Mike Pearson/Mike Brookes – Coriolan/us (National Theatre Wales)

Arwel Gruffydd – Llwyth (Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)

John McGrath – The Radicalisation Of Bradley Manning (National Theatre Wales)

Erica Eirian – The Maids (Theatr Pena)


Best design:

Paul Clay – In Water I’m Weightless National Theatre Wales)

Mike Brookes/Simon Banham – Coriolan/us (National Theatre Wales)

Tim Dickel – Little Dogs (National Theatre Wales)

Mark Bailey – God Of Carnage (Clwyd Theatr Cymru)

Tom Rogers – Llwyth (Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)


Best music and sound:

Simon Thorne – Clytemnestra (Sherman Cymru)

John Hardy/Mike Beer – Coriolan/us (National Theatre Wales)

Stitching (Company Of Sirens)

Simon Thorne – A Clockwork Orange (Volcano)

James Clarke – Llwyth (Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)


Best use of digital/online content:

Branches – National Theatre Wales

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Mappa Mundi/Torch Theatre/Theatr Mwldan

The Radicalisation Of Bradley Manning – National Theatre Wales

Coriolan/us – National Theatre Wales

In Water I’m Weightless – National Theatre Wales


Best production for children/young people:

Sexting – Arad Goch

Mae Bilin Bwrw’r Bronco – Theatr na n’Og/Wales Millennium Centre

Yesterday – Clwyd Theatr Cymru

Click – Mess Up The Mess

Grimm Tales – Theatr Iolo



Best dance production:

The Grammar Of Silence – National Dance Company Wales

The Tempest – Ballet Cymru

Gaza Blaenannerch – De Oscuro/Wales Millennium Centre

Dream National Dance Company Wales

Tir – Ballet Cymru/Cerys Matthews


The Writer’s Guild playwright award:

Tim Price – The Radicalisation Of Bradley Manning (National Theatre Wales)

Matthew Trevannion – Bruised (Clwyd Theatr Cymru)

D J Britton – The Wizard, The Goat And The Man Who Won The War (Taliesin Arts Centre)

Dafydd James – Llwyth (Sherman Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru)

Katherine Chandler – Before It Rains (Sherman Cymru/Bristol Old Vic)


Young critics award:

Re Live – Abandoned Brothers

Incubator – Wales Millennium Centre

Cwtch Cabaret – Pontardawe Arts Centre/Citrus Arts

My Life In CIA – Give It A Name Theatre Company

A Clockwork Orange – Volcano


Best opera production:

Don Giovanni – Welsh National Opera

In The Locked Room/Ghost Patrol – Scottish Opera/Music Theatre Wales

La boheme – Welsh National Opera

Macbeth – OpraCOR Cymru

La traviata – Welsh National Opera



Best male opera singer:

David Kempster – Don Giovanni (Welsh National Opera)

Gary Griffiths – La boheme (Welsh National Opera)

Philip Joll – Tristan And Isolde (Welsh National Opera)

Jason Howard – La traviata (Welsh National Opera)

Phil Gault – Macbeth (OpraCOR Cymru)


Best female opera singer:

Rebecca Evans – The Marriage Of Figaro (Welsh National Opera)

Fflur Wyn – Jephtha (Welsh National Opera)

Camilla Roberts – Cosi Fan Tutte (Welsh National Opera)

Eldrydd Cynan – Macbeth (OpraCOR Cymru)

Catrin Aur – Don Giovanni (Mid Wales Opera)

Mumford and Sons, Cardiff Motor Point Arena by YC Meghan Bryant



Mumford and Sons, Cardiff Motor Point Arena.
The mumbling conversations of eager, enthusiastic fans were silenced.  The rumbles of each member of the audience’s applaud and their high pitched screams and cheers took their place.  Mumford and Sons were about to begin, and the anticipated night ahead could now fulfil its prophecy.
Leaving no time for the audience to catch their breath, Mumford and Sons burst onto the stage, beginning with their newest single ‘I Will Wait.’  The energy that Marcus Mumford created with the incredible lyrics and his beautifully intoxicating voice is something that, in my opinion, could only be completely understood when heard live.  The four breathtakingly talented men, played a passionate set of old and new songs, from Babel, their newest album, and Sigh No More, their first album released in 2009, which portrayed not only their dedication for their profession, but their consistency in their music, and their hard-working ethics.
During their performance, Marcus Mumford produced pitch perfect vocals, whilst flawlessly playing various instruments, like the acoustic guitar, mandolin and drums.  Winston Marshall provided incredible harmonies, as well as playing the acoustic guitar and banjo immaculately throughout the night…  Ben Lovett played mostly keyboard instruments, which complemented the set beautifully.  Finally, Ted Dwane played a variety of instruments throughout the night, such as string bass, guitar, as well as backing vocals, giving each song the ‘western folk’ feel that Mumford and Sons are known for.   Each song in the set was finished and immaculate, but thanks to the string instruments used and Marcus Mumford’s naturally rugged voice, they still maintained the rough, folk-like feel that everyone loves.
They performed a range of upbeat, country-like songs, as well as slower, more meaningful songs.  Personally, the highlight of the evening for me; was their emotional performance of ‘Timshel.’  Each member of the band; stood in a line, with their hands behind their backs, facing the audience.  All four members sang the lyrics ‘you are not alone in this.’  Everyone in the audience was silent, staring up to them in awe.  The majority of the song was performed softly and full of emotion, inspiring to me, and I’m sure many other members of the audience.
Their incredible performance seemed to put a smile on everybody’s face, so as their set began to draw to a close, I think everyone felt slightly deflated.  However, Mumford and Sons brought it back during their final song, ‘The Cave.’  After only about three seconds into the song, the audience came back to life, and sang each word back to the band.  The upbeat and lively song was a perfect way to end a perfect night.  The band accepted a powerful applaud for the final time, and walked off the stage.  The lights turned on, and each person I saw leaving the arena, was smiling uncontrollably.  After seeing Mumford and Sons, any doubts that they couldn’t perform as well live have completely vanished, and they have proven to be an extremely talented, unique band that deserve to be in everyone’s top 10 playlist!

Review of Mumford and Sons,Motorpoint Arena Cardiff by YC Abigail Coles



Review of Mumford and Sons Live!

On the night of the 13th December, it was cold but that didn’t seem to bother the masses of fans who were queuing to see Mumford and Sons. As you got into the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff a wave of excitement hit you. The atmosphere was incredible. Behind the flags that were hung up on stage rows and rows of light bulbs could be seen and as you looked up above the crowd lights were hung, not yet lit but it seemed to get the crowd more excited.

After a little bit of waiting the first support act appeared on stage, ‘The Post War Years’. Their electronic beats got the crowd excited and moving. Many of the people were dancing and enjoying the ecstatic indie sound soaked in a deep love of forward-thinking electronic. The four piece brought smiles to the faces of almost everyone in the packed room.

The second support act ‘Dawes’, who are an American rock band from Los Angeles, composed of brothers Taylor and Griffin Goldsmith, along with Wylie Gelber and Tay Strathairn, were more lively and energetic than the previous band. Dawes’ sound was more similar to Mumford’s and the crowd interacted more with them. Their set consisted of lively songs but also two slow songs which were near the end of the set. Having never heard of them before, Dawes are now definitely a band I would listen too. As Dawes exited the stage a big red flag was dropped in front of the stage and screams echoed around the room.

After nearly three hours of waiting the moment had arrived, everyone could finally get what we were waiting for. The excitement was building as shadows danced behind the flag, as the flag was dropped a silence washed over the room, only to be shattered a second later as cheers of elation were passed around the audience.Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, “Country” Winston Marshall, and Ted Dwane were standing before us, and started to play the breath taking music that would stay with us the rest of the evening.

Mumford and Sons were joined on stage by a three piece brass arrangement, who accompanied the band beautifully throughout the night. The band played songs from both their new album ‘Babel’ and their first release ‘Sigh No More’. One song that really stood out was ‘Timshel’ from the album ‘Sigh No More’, where Marcus, Ted, Ben and Winston all put their instruments aside and stood at the front of the stage and acoustically sang. The sound was so pure, as they sung the words ‘And you are not alone in this, as brothers we will stand and we’ll hold your hand’, many hearts were touched.

I think it is safe to say as people left the arena after Mumford had finished their two encore pieces that no one left disappointed. Everyone that I saw left with a smile on their face, and a happy heart as they had just heard the inspiring lyrics and sound that is Mumford and Sons.

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 review by YC Elin Strachan



Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2

Before I say anything about this film, I’ll hold my hands up – I’m biased. I can’t stand the Twilight Saga. I read the books, and saw the previous films, and in my opinion they don’t deserve their wild success. I nevertheless decided, since it was the last one, to try and judge this film on its own merits, despite my low expectations from its predecessors. I’ll let you be the judge of how well that went.

Firstly – the positives. The animation on the werewolves is pretty good, and has been consistently throughout the series. (The CGI baby however, was the most frightening thing in the film). I enjoyed Michael Sheen’s performance, and that of the other Volturi members, as the delightfully creepy members of the vampire ruling class (I for one prefer my vampires bloodthirsty). I thought the battle scene was well choreographed and had just the right amount of senseless violence.

Now the easier part. Instead of listing flaws which countless others have thoroughly explored, I’ll just tell you about the main chip in my own shoulder. I genuinely believe they couldn’t have done better with their source material. Because my main problem is the story.

There are no consequences, or really any threat, to Bella getting everything that she wants; Alice’s battle vision was my favourite part of the film – (And not, as you may cynically suggest, because I wanted the cast to be brutally murdered) -because Bella actually loses something, and would have had to struggle to overcome the aftermath of her decisions, making the audience care about the resolution, and empathise with the character. Despite being portrayed as the “girl next door”, Bella Swan just isn’t convincing as a real person. She mopes, gets stared at for long periods of time, gets bitten and becomes superhuman and immortal. Happily ever after. The end. She even gets a loophole written in to overcome the whole “undead can’t have children” thing – she never works towards anything, so she loses nothing. And if Stephenie Meyer isn’t invested in Bella Swan, why should I be?



Mumford and Sons ‘The Tour of Two Halves’ Review by YC Samantha Tiernan;



Mumford and Sons ‘The Tour of Two Halves’ 

The folk-rock band made their way to The Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on the 13th of December as one of their 16 UK dates for their sell out tour ‘The Tour Of Two Halves’.
The night begun with ‘Piff The Magic Dragon’ which was a very unique stand up act that had the crowd in howls of laughter with his peculiar sense of humour. Next up was the band of four from London, ‘Post War Years’ who wowed the crowd with exclusive tracks from their new EP. Following was Californian band ‘Dawes’ who also privileged the crowd with sounds from their brand new un-released album.
Eventually, the extreme madness started, as the iconic logo appeared on the oversized curtain right in front of our eyes across the stage. As the Bass of their latest single ‘Babel’ started echoing throughout the CIA the crowd went into uproar. However, due to the absence of the band, each and every audience member was waiting in suspense and finally, the curtain dropped as the song proceeded, allowing the audience to witness the delights of frontman Marcus Mumford, Ben Lovett, Winston Marshall and Ted Dwayne.
The night progressed with a mix of their debut album ‘Sigh No More’ and most recent album ‘Babel’. Including the sorts of ‘Holland Road’, ‘I Will Wait’, ‘Little Lion Man’ and ‘Below My Feet’, just to name a few. This was clearly to the audience’s delight as almost every person had their hands in the air while singing along to the meaningful, well-thought out lyrics, establishing the rather breath-taking atmosphere. Furthermore, the emotions of Marcus throughout the whole performance proved his passion for his music and lyrics, touching each audience member with his deep feelings.

The show ended with a rendition of their hit number 1 single ‘The Cave’, leaving the crowd muttering the words of ‘perfection’ and ‘world class’.

Review of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey by YC Danielle John


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The first film in this three part film adaption of Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ had everything you would want from a fantasy adventure film; suspense, comedy and danger. The film follows the unexpected adventure that the Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins undertook earlier in his life. I thoroughly enjoyed the film as the acting from all the cast was brilliant. Also the scenery and costumes were spectacular transporting the audience to the fantasy place of Middle-Earth. I watched the film in 2D but I think certain scenes would have been amazing to watch in 3D, particularly the fight scenes.

However there were parts of the film which seemed to go quite slowly particularly the beginning, which is to be expected as a lot of the backstory was played out. But once the action starts the pace is quicker and although it is a long film it does not feel that long.

I would definitely recommend this film even if you have not seen the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. I myself have not watched them nor read the book. I strongly recommend joining Bilbo on this epic adventure.

Review of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 by YC Danielle John.



The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn

The last ever Twilight film lived up to its high expectations. Bella’s transformation into a vampire was now complete and the audience followed her unusual journey with delight. Any Twilight fan would be thrilled at the happy ending for Bella and Edward. Although perhaps quite flat compared to the cliff-hangers of the other films the ending was a well-deserved one for the couple who had a very turbulent relationship. The acting and special effects were brilliant. For me the best part of the film was the addition of the scene with the Volturi, the atmosphere in the cinema could have been cut with a knife. There were many whispers that this was not in the book and at one point the whole cinema gasped. I like many sat dumbfounded as the film quickly steered away from the book, a very exciting twist to the tale.

The film was an amazing finale to a great series and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although I think mainly Twilight fans would enjoy this film.


Shortlisting Process

A selection of Wales theater critics met at Media Wales last week to begin the short listing process for the TCWA’s 12 which will be held at Sherman Cymru on Saturday 26th January, 2013. The shortlisted nominees in each category will be announced mid December 2012.

We have aspired to truly reflect the range of work created this year and have endeavored to see as much work as possible, critics on the panel include,

Lowri Haf Cooke

Victor Hallet

Michael Kelligan

Dylan Moore

Jenny Longhurst

Karen Price

Gary Raymond

Mike Smith

Othniel Smith

Adam Somerset

Elin Williams

Rachel Williams

Nigel Jarret

Chelsey Gillard

Bethan James