08 February 2010>
A cast of six actors – all originally from the Valleys – have been confirmed for National Theatre Wales' first production, A Good Night Out in the Valleys have started rehearsing in Blackwood.
They include Sharon Morgan, winner of last year's BAFTA Cymru Best Actress Award for her role in Martha Jac a Sianco, who appeared in BBC Wales' Torchwood and Belonging. Boyd Clack, star of BBC Wales' High Hopes and Satellite City, as well as Twin Town, will also appear alongside Siwan Morris, star of Channel 4's Skins and who last year performed in Sherman Cymru's acclaimed Cloakroom. She has also appeared on television in Con Passionate and Caerdydd.
Three young actors from BBC Wales' Belonging will also appear; Oliver Wood who played Asbo, Huw Rhys who played Carl, and Amy Starling who played Nurse Spencer. Huw also appeared in Caerdydd.
The play will be performed in five miners' institutes across the South Wales Valleys. It is based on real, homegrown valleys stories transformed into a laugh-out-loud night at the theatre, and will feature great live music performed by bands from each institute's local area.
In their heyday, the coal mines created thriving communities and considerable wealth in the South Wales valleys. Those communities were full of a sense of pride and spirit, embodied in the creation of the miners' institutes. Taking a penny from every pound the miners earned, they built institutes which became their concert halls, theatres, meeting places and snooker halls.
A Good Night Out in the Valleys is written by Alan Harris, originally from Church Village, Pontypridd. His theatre work includes Cardboard Dad (Sherman Cymru), Miss Brown to You (Hijinx Theatre), Orange (Sgript Cymru) and Burberry (Sherman Cymru). His play The Gold Farmer was performed on BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 6th February. He is currently under commission with the WNO's Max department, and runs Sherman Cymru's new writing course.
The play is directed by National Theatre Wales Artistic Director John McGrath, previously Artistic Director of Contact, Manchester. John trained in New York, where he was also Associate Director of Mabou Mines. In 2005, he was awarded the NESTA Cultural Leadership Award.
The show is designed by Angela Davies from Rhondda, whose work includes Life Is A Dream (Donmar Warehouse). She has designed for companies including the RSC, and for several operas. Her current projects include Rigoletto for Grange Park Opera.
For further information, please visit the Blackwood Miners' Institute website.
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