Category Archives: Theatre

An interview with Matthew Trevannion

Get the Chance values the role Welsh or Wales based playwrights  bring to the cultural life of our nation. Here is the latest interview in this series with actor and playwright Matthew Trevannion. 

Hi Matthew great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

 Hi, my name is Matthew Trevannion I am a Welsh playwright and actor living in London. I’ve been acting professionally for 13 years (When given the opportunity) and writing for around 8. All But Gone is my third full production in a Welsh theatre, following Bruised at Theatre Clwyd and Leviathan for the Sherman.



So what got you interested in the arts?

When introduced to Shakespeare in school something shifted. I won’t embellish and say that I went straight out and devoured the whole canon but I recognized something miraculous was being offered when reading it. I wanted to understand how someone could take the same letters that you might find on the back of a cereal box and organize them in a way that offered the whole world.

Your latest play All But Gone will premier at The Other Room this month. The production information states “What use is love when the mind fractures and fades? Is it our vice, or our only remedy?” Can you tell us more about the back ground to this new production?

 I wouldn’t want to offer too much in the way of plot but I can say in retrospect that the play is for my grandparents. It’s about the madness of enduring love and the price of that. That said this play is anything but a maudlin tale of decay.

All But Gone rehearsals, credit Kieran Cudlip

You are an actor as well as a playwright. I wonder if your knowledge of both disciplines cross-pollinates when you are working in both different disciplines?

 Yes, in the sense that my three years at drama school was a great education in what it takes to structure a play. It has flowed back the other way into my acting in that I recognise the amount of work that goes into writing. It’s fostered a real respect for the craft of others. It is a long and arduous process full of joy and doubt, but one that’s always worth persevering with. You start the process in a room by yourself and wind up in an audience surrounded by others.

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists or specifically writers? 

 Living in London I can’t pretend to be a voice of authority on such things. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve received support from an early stage in my writing career. I’m afraid I just don’t have enough knowledge on that front to make comment.

There are a range of organisations supporting Welsh and Wales based writers, I wonder if you feel the current support network and career opportunities feel ‘healthy’ to you?

 Again, anything I write here would be a guess. I don’t possess an intimate understanding of the writing network in Wales. Even though I’ve worked within it. All I can say is that there should always be support for people at all stages of their career. If someone is rolling out of bed each day with their head full of ideas then there must be avenues for them. Avenues designed to support them through to the very end of the process too.

If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?

 By “area” I would think in a geographic sense. National Theatre Wales  has made inroads into communities and offered world-class theatre to people in their hometowns. That is deeply commendable but we have to be careful that we don’t know set up shop in these places only because there is media interest in the events surrounding the area or that it is home to a famous son. We should be taking theatre to communities that are starved of it because that is our responsibility.

What excites you about the arts in Wales? What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers? 

 Gary Owen is still as lively as ever. I saw his Killology at the Royal Court and thought it was a thrilling piece of writing, beautifully performed. That’s really exciting. Welsh based productions finding audiences further afield. Let’s hope it continues.

Many thanks for your time



Report: Wales for Peace – Young Peacemakers Awards in Cardiff by Roger Barrington

Recently, I attended the Wales for Peace Young Peacemakers Award held at the Temple of Peace in Cathays Park, Cardiff.

Wales for Peace a 4-year Heritage Lottery funded project, based at the Welsh Centre for International Affairs.  According to their website their vision is “To inspire a new generation of internationalists through learning from Wales’ peace heritage… the individuals, communities and movements who have championed Wales’ peacebuilding role in the world, from the First World War to today”.

This event marked the second event of this type this week, because, due to the amount of travelling involved, this year’s awards were divided between venues in North and South Wales. On the 14th March 2018, the ceremony took place at Ysgol David Hughes in Menai Bridge, Anglesey, with the Cardiff event taking place a couple of days later.

I interviewed Jane Harries, the learning co-ordinator for Wales for Peace, shortly before the event commenced.

Jane Harries Learning Co-ordinator Wales for Peace

A project that particularly interested me was that undertaken by Ysgol Dyffryn Aman from Ammanford in Carmarthenshire.  Teacher Rachel Evans and pupils Catrin Brodrick (13) and Mason McKenzie (14) tell you about it.

Teacher Rachel Edwards with Catrin Brodrick and Mason McKenzie of Ysgol Dyffryn Aman

I left this event  greatly heartened by the energy and interest on display by young Welsh people and feel that the efforts of Wales for Peace, particularly with what is going on in the world today, should be supported and encouraged, as it spotlights Wales, (in what we should all be focused on), and that is a concerted effort in maintaining a peaceful existence on this planet.

My grateful thanks to all participants who assisted me in producing this report,  andin particular, to Jane Harries who under great pressure as organiser of the event, maintained a pacific attitude suitable for the place and occasion.

Continue reading Report: Wales for Peace – Young Peacemakers Awards in Cardiff by Roger Barrington

Review Cannonballista, Sherman Theatre by Eve Limbrick

A production exploring the Inner self that tells us to just – Do it!

Betty Bruiser lives inside of Liz but is projected as a character completely outside the norms of Liz Clarke. Betty is a person of complete contradiction to Liz, who is an insider living in the comforts of motherhood and home. The show creates a sense of grief and the trauma that has engulfed her from the loss of her sister. Growing from this is Betty Bruiser, the electric blue superhero alter ego.

Betty is tough, Loud and electric . Betty captivated the entire audience with her incredible mix of live art, music and burlesque.

Cannonballista explores grief in a completely new light, losing someone who is close to you and the ways in which we escape from bereavement. For Liz, Betty is a powerhouse who brings Liz out of herself and into a complete sense of invincibility even in the moments that Liz wants her gone, Betty is there fighting for Liz and her need to cope. The audiences were given the opportunity to form a bond with Betty and understand Liz when we delve into the character.

It is show worth the watch if you are exploring yourself and your womanhood. You may find your own inner superhero such as Betty Bruiser. Cannonballista is an explosive performance that will stick with you in times of love and times of loss.

Eve Limbrick

Tango Moderno, New Theatre by Barbara Hughes-Moore

You know when you’ve been Tango’d*

Of all the countless dance shows produced by Strictly pros over the years, Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace’s are by far the finest I’ve seen (and I’ve seen quite a few). I even reviewed Natalie Lowe, Jay McGuinness and Louis Smith’s superb 50s spectacular Rip it Up for Get the Chance last year (which you can find here). However, what little the latter show lacked, Tango Moderno possessed in spades.

Vincent and Flavia’s dancefloor magic has captivated Strictly audiences for years, but where they truly shine is incorporating stories through which the dancing is rendered not only enjoyable, but also emotionally rewarding. Ultimately, it’s the evolving and varied stories of the shows – interwoven with the incomparable dancing – which make them stand out, and they never tell the same story twice. This time around, the dance spectacular is framed as a sort of Greek drama, with Tom Parsons’ charismatic narrator acting as Chorus and chanteur as he doles out gems of romantic wisdom like a Shakespearean slam poet. The Shakespearean elements don’t end there – Vincent and Flavia portray ethereal love gurus; supernatural muses who play cupid to the lonely hearts of the modern era, much as Puck meddles with the hearts of Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

As the title suggests, the tango in its literal and abstract form is brought into the modern era, juxtaposing the classic with the contemporary, the magic with the mundane. In that way, it makes dance feel accessible even to us mere mortals, even as Vincent, Flavia and co. transcend the bounds of your traditional dance show with bold staging, relatable concepts and beautifully innovative ways of conveying emotional truths through music and movement.

The modern setting started out as intriguing and grew more effective and affecting as the drama and dancing played out; not only is it  beautifully choreographed and lovingly crafted, it also has a lot to say about modern life and specifically modern love, even featuring a sequence entitled the Blah Blah Blah Cha Cha Cha in which modern lovers embrace whilst still being attached to their iPhones (other brands are available), as well as an incredibly amusing online dating number in which the crazy people you swipe left on Tinder were hilariously recreated by the dancers posing inside a massive phone screen prop.

Vincent and Flavia’s unparalleled talents have been better expressed by more eloquent and informed people than me over the years, so what can I add that hasn’t already been said? Only that I’m deeply grateful that Vincent and Flavia continue to grace us with their time, skill and generosity year after year. I was surprised to see them take somewhat of a backseat in their own show, but found it to be an innovative and welcome choice in showcasing the talents of their wonderful co-stars, as much as demonstrating their own transcendent talents.

Every single dancer was sublime, and every number was a winner, but I have to shout out specifically to George Hodson and Mary Lynn Tiep whose dancing – both individually and as a partnership – was by far my favourite in the show; their dance ability, comedic timing and chemistry shone even among an already superb cast. They led one of the outstanding numbers of the night in which Vincent and Flavia’s cupids inspired their bickering couple to get back together and reconcile in let’s say a rather energetic way. Other standouts in the ensemble include Simon Campbell as a lovelorn millennial mourning his lonely nights to the tune of Luther Vandross’ ‘A House is Not a Home’, and Bryony Whitfield and Tom Woollaston who made for a sweet couple as well as sensational solo artists.

I was consistently impressed by the fluidity and ease in which each dance number flowed into the next. Adding to this was the idea of recurring characters – the eight ensemble dancers, despite playing multiple roles, each formed four distinct recurring would-be couples in matching outfits of distinctive shades who appeared regularly in between the group numbers. The presence of a narrative through-line, and recurring characters, really helps to elevate the dancing and give it an emotional impact as well as a visual spectacle.

There are too many incredible sequences to describe, but here are a few highlights. One of the most beautiful segments of the night was an affecting number set to Lukas Graham’s ‘7 Years’, in which the male dancers really captured the melancholy journey from youth to maturity. One of the funniest group dances was a combative Spring Cleaning-off, in which the dancers fought mundane battles in the domestic setting with lawnmowers and wheelbarrows for chariots and kitchen implements for weapons; a laddish soft-shoe to Bruno Mars’ ‘Lazy Song’, and a haunting, spiky Argentine to Rag ‘n’ Bone Man’s ‘Human’. There was also a spotlight for violinist extraordinaire Oliver Lewis whose rendition of Flight of the Bumblebee was so exciting and energetic a rendition that it left the audience simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated. The live band were utterly amazing and gave a vibrant backdrop to the onstage antics.

However I have to note one of the rare troubling aspects I have with mainstream dancing culture, and that’s that it remains deeply heteronormative. Vincent and Flavia’s classy cupids kept matchmaking a veritable conveyor belt of straight couple after straight couple; however, there was an admittedly brief, but very welcome openly queer moment near the end of the show in which two women shared a romantic kiss and decided to start a relationship with each other, much to the surprise and chagrin of their respective male exes. It’s a pretty big leap for the dance community, framed as it was as a celebratory, romantic moment for the two women in question (though it was played as comedic for their shocked exes). But as the only openly queer moment in the show, and a brief one at that, I found it to be comparable to Lefou’s much-discussed ‘explicitly gay moment’ in Disney’s 2017 live-action Beauty and the Beast; a moment which ended up as all-too brief, and though it might have been a huge step for the historically conservative Disney, was not the representation the LGBT community was promised, or the much-needed representation it deserved. However, I was grateful for its inclusion, and hope that it paves the way for more queer representation in the dance community.

Tango Moderno proves once again – if proof was needed – that Vincent and Flavia are unmissable, unbeatable and unforgettable even while affording every member of their tireless yet effortless cast and crew a moment to shine. And of course, the world champions graced us with their incomparable Argentine Tango skill with a truly breath-taking, heart-stopping finale the likes of which I’d never seen. This is truly a show that everyone can enjoy, and if you can make it, I promise you’ll be tango’ing all the way home.


*Sorry I couldn’t resist. Dance puns, I’ve got ‘em.

An interview with Matt Ball, Director of The Girl with Incredibly Long Hair

Hi Matt, can you give our readers some background on this new production?

In 2012 I became a father and, it might be a bit of a cliché but, it changed the way I saw the world. It changed the kind of work I want to make and who I wanted to make it for. As our daughter grew we took her to see lots of different types of children’s theatre from Theatr Iolo’s baby show, Out of the Blue to Peppa Pig, Mr Tumble to pantomime; and it started me thinking about what kind of work I’d make for children. When we were making Light Waves Dark Skies in 2016 my partner Jacqui (production manager), Nia (producer) and me were having a conversation about the bedtime stories we read our children, and their traditional view of the world.

It surprised us that in the 21st century the majority of children’s books still have a very stereotypical view of gender roles. How many stories have a Princess waiting to be saved by Prince or a girl who likes sparkly dresses and a boy who gets muddy? There are of course great exceptions to this and a growing range of literature that tries to redress the balance.

ThanksMatt, how did this then lead into the development of this new show?

Over the course of our conversations an idea started to form, so when we began to discuss what our next project would be I had my pitch ready. “I think we should develop a show for young audiences based on Rapunzel, where she doesn’t need saving by the prince” – and from these little seeds Last autumn we spent three weeks researching and developing the show at Blackwood Miners Institute and WMC, who came on board as partners in the project. We started to play with ideas for narrative, images, songs and worked with a parenting group in Caerphilly to help us understand what works for children and what they (and their adults) want. We’re now in the exciting / nervous part, where set designs are being finalised, marketing materials agreed and I’ve just got an email confirming all the cast have accepted; so now we just have to make the show!


All rehersal photographic credits Kirsten McTernan

As a company how do you create and develop your work?

The company’s name, We Made This, tries to make explicit that making theatre is a collaborative act. So whilst I’m the director the best ideas might (and often do) come from someone else – be that a performer, stage manager or audience member. I’m in the process of distilling what we learnt in the R&D into a rehearsal script, it’ll be more fluid than if we’d commissioned a writer, and will have big gaps in it for us to fill in during rehearsals – but that’s part of the excitement.

It sounds like you embrace the risk?

For me making theatre is a live process – which should surprise me. So it might have been my idea, but if it turned out exactly as I’d imagined it I’d be disappointed – as I wouldn’t have allowed all the other brilliant ideas and minds in the room to shape the work and make it the best it can be. It’s undoubtedly riskier than a more traditional process, and each time we make a new piece we try to refine the process, and learn from our previous mistakes, but for me the end result is so much richer for it.

Family productions are often many audience members first points of access to live theatre. Is this something you ever consider when developing new work?

Yeah, absolutely. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to make a show for children and families. I want there to be people in the audience who haven’t been to the theatre before, and we’re working with our partners to make that happen.  I still remember my first experience at the theatre as a child – panto at Loughborough town hall. And I want the work we’re making to have a lasting impact on the audience – the experience will be memorable and sensory, complex not simplistic.

The marketing materials for the production reference lots of popular fairy tales. With increased competition for live performances from on demand TV like Netflix. Do you think theatre can offers something different for audiences from film and TV?

There’s a massive difference between being in a room and sharing an experience with an audience and sitting at home watching something on iPlayer. I will happily spend an evening in front of the TV, catch up on something I’ve missed or watch an old series on All4, but being in a space with a group of other people, watching the same thing is different. Theatre is an ephemeral experience. It’s about what happens there and then. You can’t see it again the same way. What I see, is a different view to you – we direct what you see but can’t control it in the same way – it’s a very much more sensory and immediate experience.

The production has BSL/Relaxed performances and a Touch Tour can you please tell us more about these and why you feel these are an important part of your offer for audiences?

I think providing these performances should be the norm, particularly in work for families and young audiences. If we want to ensure that children grow up with access to quality work we need to ensure that family work is accessible. Watching Cbeebies, you see makaton and BSL used, so why not in live performance?

It’s also important to say that these are the more visible ways in which access is supported. We’ve worked hard through the development of the project to try and make the show accessible to as wide a group as possible. So that means working with groups who might not normally consider going to the theatre and asking their opinions, it means making the ticket price accessible, and it means writing about the show in a way which is including rather than full of arts speak and buzz words.

Thanks Matt and finally can you sum up the production for anyone interested in attending?

I can try! This Easter join us with Rapunzel, her Mam, and her new friend Daf in the forest as they set off on an adventure, for which they’ll need your help. The Girl with Incredibly Long Hair is a new family show from We Made This which reimagines the story of Rapunzel for our times. You can catch the production on the dates and times below:

Blackwood Miners’ Institute

4 April, 4pm

5 April, 11am & 3pm

6 April, 11am (Relaxed Performance and Touch Tour)

Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre

10 – 15 April, 11am & 3pm

13 April, 11am & 3pm (BSL Interpreted Performances)

14 & 15 April, 11am (Relaxed Performance and Touch Tour)

Tickets and Information:

Review Up ‘N’ Under, Fingersmiths, The Lowry Theatre by Janine Hall

(5 / 5)

It’s common practise to begin a theatre review with a plot summary. This was not a normal theatre trip for me. This was more of a pilgrimage to see four of my favourite Deaf actors. So for the purposes of this review, I need to introduce my own plot first.

“A forty-six year old British Sign language student travels from North Wales to Manchester to see a play which has Deaf and hearing actors and British Sign Language. Whilst feeling very excited, she is also completely terrified as she will finally get to meet her favourite actors who also happen to be prominent members of the Deaf community. As far as she is concerned, she is off to meet royalty….will it be the stuff of dreams or the stuff of nightmares???”

Three of the actors have previously starred in Small World, which is a sitcom about Deaf people living together. Think ‘Friends’ but with the BSL march, Paddy Ladd and Doug Alker references.

There are four Deaf actors in the production. I first saw Matthew Gurney in ‘Deaf Mugger’ which is old but is still timeless to me (it’s still available on YouTube). If you are a BSL student check it out because I don’t think they will ever show you that in class.

He’s also not to be missed as Mitch the plumber in Small World, for which he quite rightly won an award. Secondly, we have Adam Bassett. I know Adam as the pedantic BSL teacher, also in Small World. There’s a scene in Small World where he tries to correct Mitch (Matthew Gurney) on the sign for Leeds.  Any BSL student will recognise this situation. Being corrected by your tutor and other Deaf people is part and parcel of learning BSL.

Third in this ensemble is Nadeem Islam, who played Omar in Small world and is also the affable, Tigger like children’s presenter on ‘Up For It’ which is also available on BSL Zone.

What all of these actors don’t know is that I’ve watched them all in Small World countless times…and regularly in 0.5 slow motion to check their incredibly fast hand movements and facial expressions out. As a BSL learner; I am completely in love with British Sign Language. I watch everything I possibly can to improve my reception skills and handshapes. So up to now I have regularly scrutinised all of the actors I’m going to see on my 48” TV in slow motion. Can you see why I’d be feeling a tad nervous! With all this creepy stalker activity in mind and as I set off from the snowy mountains of North Wales to Manchester to meet these three men, I consider the fourth.

Last but not least…the production (I will get there) also stars Stephen Collins. I know of Stephen because of his work with DH Ensemble, Graeae Theatre Company and Ramps on The Moon. I became particularly fond of Stephen when I saw him in Found (BSL Zone) talking to Emily Howlett about how she found her Deaf identity and began to learn to sign.

It really moved me and I remember thinking how amazing it must have been for Emily to have had the support of Stephen at an incredibly crucial time in her life.

Upon arrival in Salford there was a chance encounter with the cast outside the venue. I know what you’re thinking; strategically planned stalker moves. No – it literally was serendipity. On seeing Adam Bassett…and feeling little BSL student star struck – I instantly start signing Leeds to him, thinking he’ll appreciate the Small World reference. He was courteous and polite and never questioned it, but probably wondered what I was rambling on about. I did manage to briefly talk to him after the show and I think I tried to explain, but being a little giddy from the performance maybe he just still thinks I’m a massive Leeds fan.

Grabbing a photo opportunity with Matthew Gurney, I remember trying to ask him if it was okay to Facebook these photos, but I’m sure I signed hotel to him…which could have appeared slightly dubious and I’m glad I had already booked my ticket – because mixing the signs for ‘hotel’ and ‘book’ up at that crucial moment could have been disastrous!

Equally as embarrassing after the performance, having recently been shown a ‘Deaf Hope’ video about the importance of sexual health checks which Nadeem had acted in, I found myself talking to him about condoms. Probably not wise as a 46 year and him a young man. I always wondered why people say “Never meet you heroes” now I know why. We often say the wrong thing when we are nervous…. those weren’t my normal conversational signs. Lucky me…. I can now appear idiotic in two languages.

Back to the actual performance…and all joking aside. Fully accessible theatre. An impossibility. Nope – not when it comes from Jeni Draper and the Fingersmiths Theatre Company. The clever use of captioning, voice over and BSL means that this play is literally accessible to all.

Up ‘N’ Under

“Set up in a bet with his arch rival Reg, our hero Arthur discovers he has 5 weeks to train The Wheatsheaf Arms who are bottom of the amateur rugby league, have never won a game, don’t have 7 players and spend more time in the pub than on the pitch. They are up against The Cobblers Arms, trained by Reg, who are top of the league, train weekly, are physically enormous and terrify every team they play. 

Arthur is most worried however about how he is going to communicate with his new team.

They are Deaf and he doesn’t sign……!”

The three hearing actors. Wayne Pickles Norman (Arthur), Willie Elliot (Reg), and Tanya Vital (Hazel) deliver a stunning rhetoric throughout the performance. Reg disappearing often to voice over the audio description. As Hazel, Tanya delivers a powerful Yorkshire narration throughout the performance as she tries to kick the boys into shape, ready for the big game. To keep the Deaf audiences informed; the four Deaf actors take it in turn to deliver the narration in BSL. As I seem to be spending a lot of time watching terps deliver BSL to Deaf audiences at BSL interpreted theatre performances; this had an extra dimension. Knowing that both the English and the BSL had been rehearsed and this wasn’t an interpretation of the words but both languages being performed together gave me an incredible feeling. True equality. It can be done. Kudos. I can only humbly apologise that the three hearing actors don’t feature more prominently in my writing as they were superb but I literally couldn’t peel my eyes away from the BSL. I wanted to write more about the hearing actors but I literally didn’t watch them; but let it be known that it’s no reflection of their work.

Matthew Gurney plays Frank. At one point we see him leaning on an imaginary oxygen tank and acting a scene which was reminiscent of the old black and white silent films. Matthew’s ability to morph his face into what can only be described as grotesque features is a skill I believe only accessible to him and Jim Carey. Throw in Buster Keaton with some good old fashioned slapstick and visual vernacular (which I think can only be perfected by pure BSL users) and we have a character profile for his acting. He also provided plenty of sly jokes for the Deaf community directed at hearing people which the untrained eye would have missed. Being able to understand all these subtle nuances is yet another reason I love knowing BSL.

Adam Bassett (Phil) also didn’t disappoint. His dream sequence was mesmerising. Deaf storytelling is something I know I will ironically only ever be able to dream about.. Deaf storytelling is an art in itself and my companions and I lapped it up. There was no need to sign that we were gobsmacked to each other; our mouths agape, we literally were.

There were too many highlights to mention from both Stephen Collins and Nadeem Islam, who were both visually stunning. Lookout for Tony’s (Nadeem) explanation of how someone procured a broken wrist and the clever use of Reg’s sign name. At times during the production I was genuinely worried about the amount of alcohol that Stephen Collins (Steve) drank and wondered if his character’s name had been given to him as he’d taken method acting too far.

I didn’t expect all the dancing. Those boys can throw some shapes between them and I didn’t expect it; maybe the boys will pop up in Swan Lake next. My BSL tutor has often told me that he’s accused of pretending to be Deaf by hearing people when he goes clubbing and dances. Again, if you hang around with Deaf people and spend time in the Deaf community you will know this to be a ridiculous statement; it just highlights a lack of Deaf awareness.

The build up to it and the penultimate rugby match itself was a sight to behold. I go to the theatre with the hope that I can suspend my disbelief. Crafty use of acting and shrewd use of costumes during these penultimate scenes meant that I was able to do just that. I genuinely felt like I was at the match; I was terrified of the mighty Cobblers and rooting for the underdogs – The Wheatsheaf Arms.

There is unlimited scope for this kind of theatre. It should have happened years ago. Unfortunately for various political and historical reasons, it hasn’t. However, collaboration between us all is paramount to moving forwards. This play highlights not only the divide, but the endless possibilities of us all working together. I honestly can’t see any other way forwards. I especially implore BSL students to go and see this; put down put down your 2D BSL files, stop anything else you are doing and go and watch Up ‘N’ Under in glorious 3D…I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Janine Hall with  Adam Basset, Up and Under cast member.

Get the Chance to feel the Force with Dirty Protest

Get the Chance is collaborating with Dirty Protest Theatre Company to embed a new or existing Get the Chance team member into the rehearsal process of their new production Light Speed from Pembroke Dock and develop a range of critical responses to this new play. “Dirty Protest are Wales award winning theatre company leading the development, promotion and production of new writing for performance.”

Please find some information on this new production below

“1979. When Star Wars superfan Sam discovers that the Millennium Falcon is being built in his home town, his life is turned upside down. Determined to get inside the cockpit; his only obstacle is his stepdad Mike, guardian of the secret hangar where the legendary ship is being built in Pembroke Dock.

2014. Sam’s daughter Lizzie goes missing, forcing him into a desperate hunt to bring her back to safety before it’s too late.
Never mind saving the galaxy, sometimes you just have to save your own world. Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock explores what happens when Hollywood’s best-loved spaceship lands on your doorstep. This is a story of hope, courage, and how to be a family when it seems the universe is against you.”


Playwright Mark Williams

Lightspeed from Pembroke Dock is a new English language play from writer Mark Williams (Jason & the Argonauts, Horrible Histories: The Frightful First world War, Horrible Science) and critically acclaimed company, Dirty Protest.

You will be able to spend time with the company during the rehearsal process. The rehearsals will take place at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff from the 12th of March-1st April. You will also be able to interview members of Dirty Protest Theatre Company and some of the creatives involved in this production. You will also receive a ticket to the press performance of Lightspeed From Pembroke Dock.

Mentoring and additional workshop support on critical response methods will be offered by the Director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell. You will earn Spice Time Credits for this activity, up to a maximum of 20 Time Credits.

You will be invited to develop creative responses to this process. Responses can be in a variety of forms including, text, sound, and photography and film. Responses will be hosted on the Get the Chance website

If you are interested in this unique opportunity can you please email  Guy O’Donnell, Get the Chance Director at  Please state why you are interested in this project in your email.

Its likely you will attend at least half a day of rehearsals per week, as well as spending time with company members and also reviewing the press performance at Chapter Arts Centre. Exact times TBC.

You can read more about this exciting new production in our exclusive interview here

Connor Allen on Opportunity

In 1964, There was a little girl sitting on her mother’s floor in Milwaukee watching the 36th Academy Awards. She watched as Anne Bancroft opened the envelope for Best Actor and said five historic words: ‘The winner is Sidney Poitier.’

This little girl had never seen a black man being celebrated for his talent and to quote her “I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone-tired from cleaning other people’s houses

That little girl grew up to become one of the most influential people on the planet – Oprah Winfrey.

And at that moment of celebration at the 36th Academy Awards she was truly inspired by what she saw. She watched history unfold from her cheap seat, took inspiration and the rest as they say is history.

Fast forward over 50 years and Oprah has joined Sidney Poitier in becoming a recipient of the Cecil B DeMille award and when accepting the award she recounted that memory of the cheap seats and went on to add “there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award

At that moment and later on in her speech all over the world girls and boys and men and women were inspired and in awe. With that inspiration and determination those little girls and boys will become the next Oprah Winfrey or the next Viola Davis or indeed the next Denzel Washington.

After the #OscarsSoWhite movement two years ago The Academy has implemented drastic diverse change and many others have followed suit because after years of feeling unappreciated and uninspired and pretty much fed up, many people thought enough is enough.

If we don’t show diversity in our nominations and winners then how are the next generation meant to be inspired like Oprah was all those years ago.

By having more diverse nominations and shortlists you are giving the opportunity for the next generation to be inspired. And the key word here is opportunity.

Now more than ever we need the next generation of BAME talent to be inspired and its so great that the #OscarsSoWhite movement has taken effect and we are now finally seeing a hugely diverse and more equal nomination and shortlist spectrum. Closer to home in Wales its not the case. The Wales Theatre Awards for one have not embraced the diverse change needed to inspire the next generation of BAME talent.

Now Wales is quite small in comparison to the rest of the world but we’ve still managed to nurture brilliant talent in all fields and all I ask is that diversity is implemented like with the Oscars and many other global awards. That way the next generation of actors of colour can have a platform to look to and aspire to be on. That way we can inspire and empower the next generation of BAME talent. That way young actors like myself can look to the awards and be inspired to work harder and be in a position to celebrate their talent like Sidney Poitier was all those years ago.

We need to ask ourselves how do we encourage the next generation of artists and creatives to strive and aim for the stars? A big factor in encouragement is inspiration. If they never see role models they can relate to win awards how are they ever encouraged to become the next Octavia Spencer or the next Steve McQueen.

But let me take you back to that word I mentioned a few lines ago.


Because when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion, opportunity is a massive factor.

If opportunity is not given to people then how are we ever going to be in a position where we can showcase our talents?, be nominated for awards? and inspire our peers and the next generation?

Diversity has become this big hot topic over the last couple of years and its just about equality. Being treated the same regardless of your skin colour, disability, religion, gender, sexual orientation and many other labels that are handed out in our day and age. We are all equal. We are all human.

Finally in our society we have seen a positive shift in diverse action and we cant afford to get left behind whilst others continue to implement that change. We have to embrace it.

Without embracing it we risk loosing much talent to other locations. A prime example of this is the current crop of actors going overseas in search of better opportunities. Idris Elba highlighted it during his recent speech to Parliament.

John Boyega, Daniel Kaluuya, David Oyelowo, Naomie Harris and Lenora Crichlow are just a few other names who have also ventured along with Mr Elba over to the States in search of better opportunities.

A statistic recently showed that according to government data from 2013, there was a 500% increase in one year in approved visa petitions for UK actors and directors seeking to work in the US.

That number is staggering but only goes to show that this issue surrounding opportunity and representation is real.

We live in a multi-cultural world and this isn’t being represented on stage or screen. If we don’t see ourselves or our culture on stage (and screen for that matter) how are we meant to be engaged? If young people don’t see themselves represented on stage they won’t go to the theatre, if they don’t see themselves represented on TV they’ll turn the TV off. We have to show all walks of life to engage all people. Period.

That same situation is at risk of running its course here in Wales. If we don’t champion opportunity and give representation the platform others have then we run the same risk of loosing home grown talent to the likes of other more diverse locations like London, Bristol or Manchester for example. For many new and upcoming actors/performers America simply isn’t attainable yet but the likes of closer inclusive locations are very much a reality. For minority actors to be considered for awards they have to be cast in productions. To be cast in productions they have to have the opportunity to be seen for the roles.

Once again I echo the key word in all of this … Opportunity.

Seeing that I’ve mentioned him already I will bring up the case for Daniel Kaluuya. Daniel Kaluuya has got huge attention lately as he earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his role in the film Get Out. With this nomination, Daniel becomes the first black actor under 30 to garner a nomination. Only one word can be used to describe that achievement and that is phenomenal.

But many people think that this success just happened off the back of one movie. They don’t realise that Daniel put in years of hard work from his time at the Royal Court in Sucker Punch.

to Blue Orange at The Young Vic

to his time on Black Mirror to name just a few. But without opportunity would he have got to this stage in his career where he is now the first black under 30’s actor to be nominated for an academy award? Who knows?

And then we have the global box office hit that is Black Panther and the success that has followed this movie.

As I write this article the global box office of the movie stands at $704 million and its broken into the top 20 for highest grossing movies of all time. There are even rumours of it becoming the highest grossing Marvel movie so far. Not bad for a movie with a predominantly black cast featuring a black superhero in the title role.

But why is this movie such a milestone many people will ask. Well simply put 1) Its massive progress in a positive direction and 2) Its shown that you CAN invest in diverse talent and it CAN be successful.

All they needed was the opportunity.

I guess what I am trying to say and I will echo Viola Davis here when I say that “All that separates actors of colour from anyone else is opportunity

Talent is everywhere in all shapes and sizes. So we have to make an effort to go and seek this talent out. Look for it. Everywhere.

So with all this being said I’m going to challenge every person who holds a degree of power to embrace the positive shift that has begun and implement change so that we don’t get left behind. Don’t hide away because if you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.

This goes for everyone in all industries, not just people in the creative arts. Embrace and Implement. Those two factors will allow diversity and talent to flourish magnificently. The world is now beginning to show us that our possibilities are boundless. And we have to keep on striving to achieve every possibility. Striving to achieve every dream.

Keep dreaming

Keep striving

Much Love

Connor Allen

Review The Great Gatsby : A Theatre Clwyd and Guild of Misrule co-production by Karis Clarke


(5 / 5)


Transformed into the Gatsby Mansion, the Dolphin Pub, Mold was an ideal setting for the immersive production ” The Great Gatsby.”  I was fully prepared to take part ,down to my Mary Janes and headband.  I knew, I would enjoy this type of performance but I wanted to get the perspective of someone who wouldn’t. So,  I took my polar opposite friend. Her instructions to me were – “Don’t leave me on my own, don’t make me speak, sing or dance!” …… before the interval she was willingly    charlestoning, singing and chatting to the cast and loved every second!

From the second you walk up to the Dolphin you are submerged into the 1920’s prohibition era. A nice unexpected twist on entering the building instantly sets the mood. Adding to the impression of a speakeasy a community cast working as door / bar men do an excellent job of getting you ready for the drama to come.

This style of theatre is a daring concept and an element of danger lies in having the audience play a major part of your play. The reason this production worked so well is due to the skill of the cast. I cannot praise all of cast members enough. They stayed in character for the full 2 hours and somehow spoke to every audience member, making them feel like they were at an elaborate house party.They even mingled in the interval. For my performance I was engaged with the three female characters (Myrtle played  beautifully by Bethan Rose Young, Daisy, a wistful Amie Burns Walker, party girl Jordan, the engaging Zoe Hakin and George  the talented Matthew Churcher). I could not pick a standout performance as all of the cast were outstanding.

Myrtle played by Bethan Rose Young and George played by Matthew Churcher.

I Myrtle played by Bethan Rose Young and George played by Matthew Churcher. entered the spirit and attended in 1920’s dress as did many of the audience but I wouldn’t say this was compulsory. It added to the set to be surrounded by all the costumes but those in normal clothes didn’t spoil the effect and they were just as immersed in the unfolding events as those of us dressed up.  (We all learned how to Charleston and all sang along) However, this is an awesome production and I am glad we made the choice to do something different, it was certainly worth the effort! 

Clever use of curtains, lighting and subtle props made the transition from pub to mansion. Cast encouraged audience members from room to room to move the play along. I found myself up and down stairs in an small group of 5 then 2:1 with Mrytle. The script and the flawless improvisation skills meant you could respond to the intimate sessions or not. The actors were skilled enough to ask direct questions that didn’t necessarily require answers. However, everyone became engrossed playing along, I was so immersed on Gatsby’s command I found myself running up the stairs after a distraught Daisy franticly calling her name!

At times I thought about what I was missing in the other rooms and wondered if I was missing a vital part of the play. However, as the play progressed I realised this was part of the charm. Every audience member was having a unique experience. The improvisation, the random interactions all added something individual for each audience member – no one  will watch the same version of this play, ever. For that reason I anticipate audience will go back to watch again. Later chatting to my friend I discovered the things I watched upstairs were been retold downstairs, so nothing was missed. This just added to impressive nature of this production and the skills of the writer and director Alexander Wright.

If you love the theatre, the 1920’s, the Gatsby story or if you just fancy something a bit special this is a must see event. In a world of virtual reality and HD3D TV theatre has not changed – Sets have become more technical and adventurous but the idea of theatre hasn’t changed until now.  This was Theatre for a virtual age, engaging all your senses and emotions beyond HD3D. Without doubt a 5 star production and a must see.

Follow the link below to book tickets … but be quick old sport they won’t be around for long.

Adapted and Directed by : Alexander Wright

Set Design and Costumes: Heledd Rees, Lighting : Ric Mountjoy

Reviewed : By Karis Clarke




Review, Great Expectations, Tilted Wig & Malvern Theatres at Theatr Clwyd by Gareth Williams

(3 / 5)

To be familiar with a narrative can sometimes evoke the desire for a fresh perspective. Yet even as one anticipates the events of a classic literary text such as Great Expectations, another member of the audience might be encountering it for the first time. Therefore, ideally, the adaptation must stay true to the original whilst offering something unique. To this end, I would say that Tilted Wig Productions have done a fine job in breathing new life into one of Charles Dickens’ most famous stories. And they have done this particularly well through the use of music, costume and set design.

For my companion, this would be his third theatre production of Great Expectations. This, alongside the viewing of many film and TV adaptations from down the years (his particular favourite being the 1989 production, which notably starred Anthony Hopkins as Magwitch), obliged me to ask for his humble opinion after the show. One of the most striking features for him -indeed for me too – was the simplicity of the set. Compromising a three-dimensional, metal-framed box, with a wooden-slatted wall across the back, and two sloping platforms to the front and right, this was a very basic stage. One of the advantages of such a rudimentary set-up was that it enabled the fluid movement of the actors. Another advantage was the ability to transition seamlessly between scenes. It is no mean feat to take on a narrative of such scope, with its broad array of settings, and recreate such different worlds in such a limited space. With the creative use of lighting, director Sophie Boyce Couzens and her team manage to do so, and with seemingly relative ease. We were both mightily impressed by the scale of this production.

One of the shows that this production evoked for me was the National Theatre’s Jane Eyre. In some senses, Great Expectations was essentially a miniature version of this. Both the set and the use of folk music are employed in similar ways, but on a much smaller scale in Great Expectations. Yet the quality is on a similar par. In terms of folk music, there may only be one musician in the cast of Great Expectations, but composer and performer Ollie King manages to evoke such realism with his accordion that no further instrumentation is needed. With a few simple notes, he creates an atmosphere, evokes a setting, and produces an emotion. It is an incredible skill for which he deserves all recognition. Alongside King’s music, there were also some interesting sound effects produced by the other actors, using a plethora of everyday objects shelved on one side of the set. These diegetic additions wonderfully complimented the action on stage, adding to the atmosphere and setting brilliantly. Again, simplicity was a striking feature in the use of sound. And for this production, simplicity becomes a mark of its quality.

Finally, I would like to nod handsomely to the costume makers. With most of the actors playing multiple parts, the choice of a base layer of clothing for each of them, onto which one or two items can be slipped on and off at each turn, allows for maximum flexibility, contributing to the seamless transition between scenes that I have already noted. Moreover, the transformation of Pip (Sean Aydon) from a blacksmith’s apprentice to young gentleman of the city is profoundly simple. It requires only the buttoning up of his jacket, the addition of a coat, top hat and bag, to completely change the character’s social class. I couldn’t believe the effectiveness of such minimal changes. The piece de resistance however, has to be the wedding dress of Miss Havisham (Nichola McAuliffe). It is glorious in its tapestry, magical in its setting, and beautifully faded to reflect the character’s frozenness in time. It perfectly matches the commanding and slightly offbeat performance of McAuliffe. Considering the anticipation that came with this – Miss Havisham is my favourite character in Great Expectations, and one of my favourites in Dickens’ collection – it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Overall, Tilted Wig Productions, in association with Malvern Theatres, have produced an adaptation of Great Expectations that is marked by simplicity. Yet this simplicity is not akin to low quality. The set may be basic, but it allows the actors a freedom to creatively engage in storytelling. The music may be stripped back, but it evokes atmosphere and emotion incredibly well. The costumes may be simple, but the ability to transform characters by the drop of a hat or the fitting of a jacket is extraordinary. They manage to achieve so much by keeping it so simple. It makes for a beautiful adaptation that finds that wealth is not the maker of a show. Instead, with a little bit of ingenuity, it is love that creates something truly special.

Click here for more info and tickets.