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National Theatre Wales commemorates World War 1 with Mametz

MametzNational Theatre Wales will stage a site-specific production in a field and nearby forest near Usk, as part of the World War I commemorations in June. Mametz will give audiences a vivid glimpse into life – and death – in the trenches and battlefields of the Somme.

Inspired by Welsh writer Owen Sheers’ poem Mametz Wood, it will draw on written material by some of the poets who fought in or witnessed one of the bloodiest conflicts of the Somme – The Battle of Mametz Wood, in which 4,000 of the 38th (Welsh) Division were killed or wounded. Among the soldiers who took part were several key Welsh and English war poets, including Robert Graves, David Jones, Siegfried Sassoon and Llewelyn Wyn Griffith, and Sheers’ own great, great uncle, William Cross.

Writer Owen Sheers is a Welsh poet, author and scriptwriter. He has published two poetry collections, The Blue Book and Skirrid Hill, which won a Somerset Maugham Award. His debut prose work The Dust Diaries, a non-fiction narrative set in Zimbabwe, won the Welsh Book of the Year 2005. Owen’s first novel, Resistance, has been translated into 10 languages. Owen recently adapted it to a screenplay of the same name which starred Andrea Riseborough and Michael Sheen. In 2009, he published the novella White Ravens. His latest book Pink Mist (poetry based on stories from Iraq War) was released in June 2013 by Faber. In 2009, he wrote and presented A Poet’s Guide to Britain, a six-part series for BBCFour about poetry and landscape. The accompanying anthology is published by Penguin. His professional positions have included being Writer in Residence at The Wordsworth Trust and a 2007/8 Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library. He was also Writer In Residence for the Welsh Rugby Team at Millennium Stadium for 2012. In Easter 2011, Owen wrote the script and novelisation (The Gospel of Us) for The Passion, National Theatre Wales and WildWorks’ production in Port Talbot starring and directed by Michael Sheen, and co-directed by Bill Mitchell.

Director Matthew Dunster has directed, written and acted for many theatres in the UK and internationally; twice being nominated for an Olivier award. Recent work includes directing: Before the Party (Almeida Theatre), The Love-Girl And The Innocent (Southwark Playhouse), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Open Air Theatre, Regents Park), Mogadishu (Royal Exchange, Manchester and Lyric Hammersmith) and Love the Sinner (National Theatre). He is currently under commission to The Royal Exchange in Manchester and The Sheffield Crucible. He is developing a dance work for Headspace Dance and The Royal Opera House and is writing his first feature film.

Creative Associate Christopher Morris is a documentary filmmaker. Recurring themes include the changing nature of childhood, faith and marginalised communities. He is currently working on Fog of Sex, a feature drama/doc about students who are engaging with sex work whilst at University. He has won three BAFTA awards, a Royal Television Society award, the Premios Ondas and prizes at the Celtic, Berlin and Chicago film festivals. In 2009, he won a gold award at the Association for International Broadcasters, for Children of God, a BBC radio documentary about child evangelism. In 2003, he joined Newport Film School, to run the documentary film course. He is currently Professor of Documentary Film Practice at the University of South Wales.

Designer Jon Bausor studied at Oxford University before training at Motley. He designed the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, and most recently the sculpture to light the Paralympic flame in Stoke Mandeville, unveiled live on Channel 4, in March 2014. As an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company, he has designed numerous productions including Hamlet, King Lear, The Winter’s Tale and the entire 2012 ‘What Country Friends is this?’ season. Jon has designed for the Royal Opera House, National Theatre, Royal Court, Abbey Theatre, Dublin and Young Vic Theatres including Ghost Stories (West End), KURSK (Young Vic), Lord of the Flies (Regents Park Open Air Theatre) and Hansel and Gretel (ROH). Forthcoming designs include the James trilogy (NT/ NTS), Carmen (Oslo National Ballet) and the Great North Run millionth runner event on the Tyne river in Newcastle.

Cast to be announced.

National Theatre Wales presents
MAMETZ – co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, WW1 Centenary Art Commissions, supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund, By Owen Sheers

Director: Matthew Dunster, Designer: Jon Bausor, Creative Associate: Christopher Morris, Lighting Designer: Lee Curran, Sound Designer: George Dennis

Location: Great Llancayo Upper Wood, near Usk, Monmouthshire, NP15 1HS
Dates: Tuesday 24th June – Saturday 5thJuly (except Sundays)
Full performance schedule to be confirmed.

Tickets will be available from 4th April 2014
Box Office: www.wmc.org.uk
029 2063 6464
Ticket Prices: £20 / £15
Recommended for ages 14+
For more information about Mametz, go to: nationaltheatrewales.org/

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  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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