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Looking for Welsh Playwrights for Scratch Night in London.

Started by Chippy Lane Productions Aug 8, 2016.

Collaborators Needed! 2 Replies

Started by Camille Naylor. Last reply by sean donovan Dec 1, 2015.

Looking for a writer to collaborate on an idea. 2 Replies

Started by Caley Powell. Last reply by Catrin Fflur Huws Mar 4, 2015.

NTW Dramaturgy Project - Beginnings

Started by Richard Hurford Oct 21, 2014.

ONiiiT: The Power of Words

Started by Sophie Chei Hickson Aug 21, 2014.

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Comment by alun howell on November 2, 2011 at 23:37

A good commentary on the difficulties of defining a 'National Theatre'.

Why not just encourage imaginative local/national drama and let the Guardian or Londoners worry about if its Welsh or not? Is that perhaps  a bit too easy?

Comment by National Theatre Wales on November 2, 2011 at 23:08
Comment by Rebecca Gould on November 2, 2011 at 12:21

the more specific a play is, the more universal it always feels to me....

when I was reading plays for the usual host of new writing venues in London and Cardiff, I thought a lot about language structure and expression in Welsh plays, or more specifically in plays written by Welsh writers. Dialogue most obviously places a play in a Welsh place, however for me it was the character’s world view (maybe?), or their way of expressing their thoughts and especially emotions.... The way they physically and verbally interacted with others - or the way they used images and metaphors to illuminate things- that when you thought about realising theatrically, brought to mind something original, certainly outside of the English literary tradition (and playwrighting tradition) something other? Partly I guess this is because many of our great playwrights are bilingual

Anyway it is partly why I have come to believe that developing a way of creating plays which mirrored exactly the English stage tradition (largely Royal Court) was a daft idea... and why I think NTW’s current plans for working with individual writers are great...

Comment by Simon Harris on November 2, 2011 at 12:14
Thanks, Carmen. Yes, this Saturday's Open Space event will be picking up the thread of discussion from the March event which was focussed on theatre writing. This Open Space is more broadly based and aimed at the whole creative community of theatre makers in Cardiff - actors, writers directors, designers etc. Interest has been good so far and if you want more details then check out this link:
Comment by National Theatre Wales on October 30, 2011 at 23:40

Oh, i wouldn't be so down on Welsh habits Tim. Having spent a bunch of time in Scotland and a bit of time in Ireland recently, the one thing folk do more than talk about national characteristics is criticise themselves for talking about national characteristics...

Now, don't you have a play to write..... (the Welsh one)

Comment by meredydd barker on October 30, 2011 at 23:39

I don't think I was talking myself out of answering the question; and I'm not embarrassed to even consider the question. Why embarrassed? I don't think there's been enough response for it to be an exercise in the absurd unless it's absurd how little response there's been. I think this is interesting-

“The issue is a fundamental one. For a long time there has been a lot of arguing, a lot of partisan behaviour. We all know it is not healthy. It might be entertaining, but it hasn’t helped. So maybe this series is about trying to move on from there."

Has there been a lot of arguing and partisan behaviour in Wales? That's a genuine question. Has there?

My problem is I'm finishing off a lot of work this week so the question of what makes a play Welsh is just adding to the exhaustion. I'd like to be interested, but what makes a play Welsh isn't eating away at me. I'll give it a week so don't quote me...

Comment by Tim Price on October 30, 2011 at 23:10

Yes John I think it's something worth replicating in Wales, as part of your canvassing opinion for the future shape of year 3 and 4.


I can't help thinking all the posts in response to this might sound like people are talking themselves out answering the question. Scotland certainly isn't embarrassed to ask what makes a play Scottish. And I have sat in pubs bored to tears by Irish playwrights explaining why Irish playwriting is so different to Britains.


Yet us Welsh seem too embarrassed to even consider the question.

Cliche alert:But then come to rugby and we can all make the distinction between a Welsh style of rugby and the rest of the world, yet it's a game played within universal rules.


Does it say something about us as peer group, that when asked how we differ from neighbours we think it's an exercise in the absurd?

Comment by alun howell on October 30, 2011 at 22:37

The question of what makes a Welsh play does not have a particular answer. A play in the Welsh language may have a claim but if it doesn’t deal with Welsh issues then it could be in any language. A play in English or Welsh about Welsh issues might reasonably claim to be a Welsh play but is this theoretical concept of a ‘Welsh’ play worth worrying about?

If a play comes from the heart and from a playwright who reflects Welsh issues and emotions (however they may be defined) it will be a play worth writing and worth seeing whether it is considered ‘Welsh’ or not.

We should be more interested in building an audience of committed theatre goers.

The competition is fierce – television, films, videos etc, etc. We cannot afford to be sidetracked by is it/isn’t Welsh; or what London thinks.

Comment by National Theatre Wales on October 30, 2011 at 21:29

It's a question that is coming up in many interesting ways as we develop A Provincial Life with Peter Gill.  Chekhov again, and so not Welsh, and not helped by being overly shoehorned into relevance.  And yet, in many ways, so very Welsh, in the sense of reflecting concerns, frustrations and hopes that seem so of here and now.  The question is in part how much to gently suggest this, how much to leave unstated...  Peter's decisions not mine, but fascinating to think about.

Carmen - in answer to your question, Tim will be too modest to respond, but the answer is Tim Price for the Donmar at Trafalgar Studios this November!

Tim, it will be interesting to hear more about how 'Staging the Nation' went for NTS and the wider theatre commumnity.  From my chats with NTS bods it's been a positive experience, and an intelligent debate.  Will be good to hear more from a range of people.  It's certainly the kind of thing I'd be happy for us - or us and partners - to do more of.

Comment by meredydd barker on October 27, 2011 at 22:41

What makes a play Welsh? I'd hope the answer lies somewhere behind a fractal, between a miaow and the cat's tongue, or three feet to the left of a super nova. The question reminds me of one of those tasks that's given to the damned to keep them from the clutches of Satan; empty Lake Bala with a sieve perhaps.

I'd hope that the question is continually asked and answered as we practice the craft. Anything definitive, and anyone who presumes to answer with something definitive, would be anti the art to my mind. I saw Fluellen Theatre's production of Uncle Vanya recently. I thought it as good a Welsh play as you can get, but there was nothing Welsh about the production per se; set, costumes, actors, I don't recall anything that could be even remotely called Welsh. But I felt it. I might have brought that sensibility into the space with me. I've seen Welsh language plays set in Welsh villages with - obviously - Welsh casts and they've been completely and utterly foreign. Again, did I bring that into the space? Dunno/probably/probably/dunno. I watched Pinter's The Collection on Youtube the other night with Olivier, Macdowell, Mirren and an utterly brilliant Alan Bates. It's set in London of course; watch it if you haven't. I thought it Welsh, Swansea in fact. I have no idea why. I mean it's preposterous to think that the universe is Welsh. But there's nothing wrong with thinking that Wales can be the universe.


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