Sherman Theatre is throwing its doors open again with Back In Play, a festival designed to provide a playful, fun and safe experience.
In a socially distanced cabaret setting, the festival is headlined by Radical Reinventions, four 30-minute plays that give an irreverent and contemporary twist on the classics. These new plays will be accompanied by an evening of companion pieces by Sherman’s emerging young playwrights (Re-play, 25th October), and in Young Queens (18th October) young poets and dramatists from the Welsh Somali community will be sharing their views on the world and on the complexities of friendship. Audiences can also see bite-size stand-up performance including Kiri Pritchard McLean and Noson Clwb Gymraeg (performed in Welsh).
Each of the Radical Reinventions plays is an irreverent, attitude filled and bold take on a classic by a distinctive voice in Welsh theatre. Opening the festival is Lowri Jenkins’ Hamlet is a F&£$boi, a savagely funny and excoriating contemporary play which challenges the norms and orthodoxies reinforced by great plays and in society more widely. Lowri Jenkins (Winners, Nova Theatre) writes and performs this new play, directed by Mared Swain, Also twisting Shakespeare in The Messenger, Sherman Associate Artist Seiriol Davies (How To Win Against History) uses his blend of drama, song, wit and anarchy to poke fun at the heteronormative focus of the plays. Sherman Theatre Artistic Director Joe Murphy directs Seiriol in this new mini-musical, a sideways look at Romeo and Juliet.
Playwright, actor and belly dancer Rahim El Habachi will be presenting The Love Thief, using Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound to tell a modern-day story of sexuality, race and the realities of life in Britain in 2021. Directed by Nerida Bradley, the play sees the titular character steal love rather than fire from the gods. And in Tilting at Windmills, writer and director Hannah McPake (Rodney and the Shrieking Sisterhood, Sherman Theatre) attempts to retell one of the greatest works of European literature, Don Quixote by Cervantes, in just 30 minutes. Performed by Mared Jarman, Tilting at Windmills is a warm and affectionate play about realising what our limitations are, accepting failure and overcoming obstacles.
Artistic Director Joe Murphy said, “We are so excited to be finally opening up our beautiful building again. We wanted to maximise the experience of not only live performance, but also of gathering together again in a safe and secure way. The result is Back in Play: a festival of live performance and great nights out to welcome our audiences back. You’ll see Radical Reinventions of classic titles by a thrilling cohort of Welsh artists. You’ll see comedy nights, and community voices put centre stage. All the work is in short form, so you, the audience, can decide how you interact with the building. You can see one 30 minute piece and then head home. Or you can stay, have some food and drink, and then watch another. If you’ve enjoyed yourselves, come back for more! The festival format puts the power in the audiences’ hands! We’re so excited to be throwing our doors back open, offering new perspectives on old stories, and celebrating the power of live theatre again!”
Based in the heart of Cardiff, Sherman Theatre is a leading producing house which creates and curates exceptional theatre for the people of Cardiff. Its focus on the development and production of new writing and on nurturing of Welsh and Wales-based artists makes the Sherman the engine room of Welsh theatre. Sherman Theatre tells local stories with global resonance through its productions rehearsed and built under its roof in the capital. The Sherman is a place for everyone. It generates opportunities for the citizens of Cardiff to connect with theatre through inspiring and visionary engagement.