John McGrath
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Thank You!

It’s just been officially announced that at the end of the year I’ll be leaving National Theatre Wales to become Artistic Director of the Manchester International Festival. 

My time at NTW has been a truly wonderful experience, and the community of artists and enthusiasts I have had the privilege to be part of here has had a massive impact on me.  So while there will be lots to say over the coming months, I wanted to start by saying a huge thank you to everyone in the NTW community…


Posted on May 13, 2015 at 16:36 — 8 Comments

Have Courage Karen!

Am on the train to Merthyr Tydfil, trying to keep up with my life coaching!  Our project with the brilliant Blast Theory - Karen - launched yesterday in the iTunes App Store (Android follows soon), while I'm rehearsing Mother Courage in Merthyr Tydfil.  Even for NTW with all our digital work, it's unusual to have a…


Posted on April 17, 2015 at 8:24

The Last Days of Laura K: A New Immersive Digital Mystery

Our friends at BBC Writersroom have just released an incredibly exciting and ambitious new piece of work online.  Working with leading UK writers and a top production team, The Last Hours of Laura K is a ground-breaking digital experience placing the audience at the heart of the story. Using 24 hours of footage from the fictional surveillance programme, SaturnEye, this is a disconcertingly intimate, unfiltered and impartial look into Laura’s last hours before her death. As Kate…


Posted on March 31, 2015 at 13:01

Why stop at 5 when you can have 10!

Thanks for all the fantastic responses to our Year 5 announcements last week.  We've really enjoyed launching our new programme in such a unique way, and we're glad you all seem to have enjoyed our week of video gifts!

But why stop there?  As well as the five large-scale productions we told you about last week, there are lots of other things going on at NTW, including five more projects which will be central to our work for the year. 

Here are the details:…


Posted on March 9, 2015 at 11:35

Half way through - or are we?

Great to get such wonderful feedback to the first three of our Year 5 shows over the past few days.  I have to say, even though I've known what is in each of the video gifts, I've still been delighted, and sometimes a bit surprised (I'm not very good at waking up so anything at 8am surprises me) to get the gifts on my phone each morning.

Thursday is a little different in style - I hope you enjoy it, it's one of my favourites.

And yes - at three of five we're now more than half…


Posted on March 4, 2015 at 21:30

John McGrath, Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales

My job at National Theatre Wales is to build a community of theatre makers and theatre goers who together can create performances that change the way we look at the world. That's what great theatre does, sometimes for a moment and sometimes for a lifetime. And that's what we want to do here in Wales.

I've been a theatre director since my early twenties. The first ever show I directed (excluding embarrassing bossing around of family members and friends) was Trevor Griffith's extraordinary play 'Comedians' when I was a student. I felt that it was a play that talked about a world I understood. I loved it's punky energy as well as its real life relevance. During the interval we ran bingo games for the audience and I also realised that theatre feels best when great writing and performance combine with an audience who are alive and kicking!

I went on to work back in my hometown of Liverpool during the 80s, and I feel that there were many reflections of Wales (where I was born but only lived for a few years) in that time of desolating poverty and creative anger on Merseyside. Then I escaped to New York for a year, to train properly as a theatre director, and ended up staying for almost a decade in a city that stole my heart! I worked with some extraordinary performers and companies there and New York is the place that shaped me as a theatre director.

But it was when I arrived at Contact Theatre in Manchester in 1999 that all the bits of my life came together into an epic adventure - recreating a theatre for a young urban audience, working with artists from all over the world and, it sometimes felt, reinventing theatre on a daily basis.

In Wales, I want to apply the lessons I've learned in Liverpool, New York and Manchester in a whole new environment. I hope that the people I meet here online and throughout Wales will share ideas with me, argue with me, inspire me and challenge me, and that together we will create a new national theatre that is like nothing anyone has seen before!

I'm on twitter @john_ntw

Latest Activity

Ryan M Richards joined John McGrath's group

National Theatre Wales TEAM

An Official National Theatre Wales GroupTEAM is for anyone who is interested in being part of National Theatre Wales, getting involved in theatre or meeting new people. Join the group now to hear about any forthcoming meetings and opportunities.You can find our Facebook page hereLet us know about your experience with TEAM and help us to continue improving by filling in our short survey …See More
19 hours ago
Ryan M Richards joined John McGrath's group


An Official National Theatre Wales GroupActors who want to hear about news and opportunities at National Theatre Wales, and keep in touch with each other.Curated by Mawgaine.View the National Theatre Wales Casting Policy…See More
20 hours ago
John McGrath commented on John McGrath's group Writers
"Welcome Playwrights' Studio Wales, and well done Tim and Mike on all the hard work to bring this to fruition."
23 hours ago
Conor Clarke McGrath commented on John McGrath's group Actors
"Hey Gemma that sounds great.Please send me an email at once you've figured out the details."
23 hours ago
carmen medway-stephens commented on John McGrath's group Writers
"great to hear, inspiring stuff. reading the website: '15 commissioned plays in three years'  - sound like lots of opportunities, lets hope some new exciting Welsh Voices regardless of age and background are discovered and…"
nigel streeter commented on John McGrath's group Actors
"Hello Alan, This sounds interesting. Fortunately I am neither blind or partially sighted but if circumstances dicate that you will be considering offering it out to fully sighted applicants then I would be happy to hear some more.... Regard…"
Alan Humphreys commented on John McGrath's group Actors
Christina Handke commented on John McGrath's group National Theatre Wales TEAM
"Hi TEAM. Molecule has extended their deadline to the 2nd of August. This is a great opportunity for emerging artists."
Marie Westcott commented on John McGrath's group Actors
"I would encourage any professional actor and those students wanting to pursue a career as an actor, to join Equity. It gives you a voice in the industry, and essentially protects you when it comes to working regulations and contracts. I have also…"
Mike Salmon commented on John McGrath's group Writers
"Writers! PSW a new studio set to support the development of new writing talent is bing announced today. Check out the new website for the latest media release, and join the mailing list to keep up to…"
Rosemary Anne Brown commented on John McGrath's group Actors
"thank you marie i aint a part of equity would it be worth it to sign with equity"
Nika Anuk joined John McGrath's group


An Official National Theatre Wales GroupWriters who want to be part of National Theatre Wales, share ideas, get feedback from each other, and hear about opportunitiesSee More
Marie Westcott commented on John McGrath's group Actors
"Hi Rosemary, If you're a student member of Equity, it might be worth getting in touch with Simon Curtis, as I know that there is a North Wales branch soon to be set up, and they're a great point of contact for theatre/TV related info"
Rosemary Anne Brown commented on John McGrath's group Actors
"Im in university going to my third year and during the summer holidays i fancy getting more experience in theatre tv and so on. I live in wrexham area and north wales there is t much going on up here but anyone know any theatre companies take young…"
Kelsey Richards commented on John McGrath's group Actors
"Sorry, email is (damn autocorrect!)"
Jul 24
Kelsey Richards commented on John McGrath's group Actors
"Hi all, Apologies if this isn't the right place for this kind of comment but we're looking for extras for a short film shooting this weekend (25+26 July) in Swansea. Ages 18-30. If you're interested and want more details please drop…"
Jul 24

Profile Information

What I do:
Artistic Director, National Theatre Wales
A little more about me:
Theatre Director, trained in New York, currently working with artists across Wales and beyond to create a new National Theatre in Wales.
Projects I’m working on:
The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning NTW18
In Water I'm Weightless NTW20
Personal Website/CV:
Twitter @username:

Comment Wall (43 comments)

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At 12:07 on March 14, 2014, Sam Harding said…
Hey John. I remember chatting to you about NTW casting not long ago, and following up from that I've seen the breakdown Sarah Leigh put out yesterday. Again its a case of ticking boxes, army training, Cardiff base, musical/dance ability, etc. Really hope I get a chance to audition for ou guys this time!

All the best.
At 11:40 on March 5, 2014, Phil Croskin said…

Got a lot out of the workshop last Sunday, John.

I hope you did too!

Many thanks.

Phil Croskin

At 11:38 on February 27, 2014, Nerea Martinez de Lecea said…

Hi John, Here's the link to yesterdays BBC show I was on. If you scroll to about 130mins, you'll find the BHC feature (and eventually, me) X

At 13:19 on January 15, 2014, Ailsa Richardson said…

I didn't say where I am based - in Mountain Ash, between Pontypridd and Aberdare.

At 13:17 on January 15, 2014, Ailsa Richardson said…

Have been meaning to make contact since NTW began and a conversation with Carl Lavery has pushed me into action - he said 'I must talk to you'. I do find the approaches you have been finding in NTW inspiring and imaginative so its about time I got in touch! I grew up in West Wales and have been active making work as director and performer in the South West and Wales since 1996. For various reasons in the last 6 years I have been more engaged with teaching and research. I think it is time now to make work, be a practitioner again, I have a number of ideas which are perhaps 'at the edges of theatre' that I would like to develop, and am wondering how I might weave something into the NTW net(work). Could we have a chat sometime as I am not sure how my experience and skills best fit into the different channels of development you have at NTW? You can see some information on my profile page and my website is Best, Ailsa 

At 7:41 on July 28, 2013, Leslie Herman Jones said…

Would like to know more about In Water I'm Weightless NTW20. Can you direct me to this please?


At 20:25 on February 3, 2013, Jan Miller said…

Hi John - didn't get a chance to say hello or even goodbye yesterday... we'd had a punishing journey down on the rugby train and were under pressure to shove back on to get home again - 2 carriages! can you believe it???   we survived standing for 2 hours and got seats around Ludlow... despite that, Film Team had an amazing time - thanks again to you all for a fantastic party! 

At 12:43 on December 12, 2012, Ray Thomas said…

Hello John,

Really interested in getting more involved with NTW, despite my age! Any advice about Group/s to join please? Acting and Directing work to date mainly with schools, Colleges, and some Adult groups, but keen to do more and to network! Have offered to work on a voluntary basis at NTW if appropriate and required.

At 10:35 on September 8, 2012, Wendy Hubbard said…

Many thanks John


At 18:07 on August 14, 2012, Kelly Jones said…
Hey John
Hope you are well. Have noticed people commenting about the BBC writers award, I havent received anything in the post- when should I hear by?
Kelly x

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