five people sitting on suitcases
Seagulls, Volcano Theatre ©

Dylan Evans

We’re excited to be working with Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International to support eight Welsh performing arts companies to present their work at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival.

The Fringe - held in Edinburgh from 4 - 28 August 2017 - is a huge opportunity for Wales’ performing arts companies to present their work to new audiences and to gain international recognition for their work. 

The Wales in Edinburgh programme features eight productions from Wales that represent the very best of theatre, new writing, site-specific work and contemporary dance, reflecting the breadth and diversity of the performing arts in Wales.

The programme includes two, new, one-man shows with very different takes on contemporary Welsh life; Dirty Protest return to the Fringe with Sugar Baby, a new comedy by Alan Harris about a small-time Cardiff drug dealer, while Mr & Mrs Clark’s (F.E.A.R.) uses childhood memories and public information films to examine the fragility of men’s mental health and ask how safe – or not – the world wants us to feel.

Three other plays will transport audiences back to 20th Century Britain; The Other Room’s Seanmhair, another new work, written by Hywel John, is a brutal, beautiful tale of two children who meet by chance in 1950s Edinburgh. Pontardawe Arts Centre’s The Revlon Girl by Neil Docking, with its all-female cast, tells the true story of the grieving mothers of Aberfan, in the months after a colliery tip collapsed in 1966, killing 116 children, finding solace in the unlikely company of a beauty product sales rep. And Flying Bridge Theatre’s production of Stephen MacDonald’s classic Not About Heroes looks at the friendship between WWI poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, 100 years after they met.

The remaining three productions will also appear as part of the British Council Showcase 2017; the single biggest opportunity for UK theatre companies to introduce their work to international promoters. These include National Dance Company Wales’ Folk and Profundis; two very distinct, short dance pieces – Folk elegiac and pastoral, Profundis full of wit and postmodern winks – that show the company’s dancers at their very best. Seagulls by Volcano Theatre will be a dramatically reimagined staging of Chekhov’s The Seagull, performed in the nave of a derelict church in Leith, whose chancel will be flooded for the performances. And Caitlin by Light, Ladd & Emberton is an intimate, violent dance piece in which Dylan Thomas’ wife, Caitlin, steps out of her husband’s shadow only to find herself inexorably drawn back in. 

Full details on all eight productions can be found below.

CAITLIN. Light, Ladd & Emberton

Dates: 23-26 August 2017, 12.00 and 24 August, 18.30 (60minutes)
Venue: Zoo at Lauriston Halls

A dance production based on the life of Caitlin, wife of Dylan Thomas. The audience members seated in this circle of chairs are witness to her account of her history, re-living it as she dances with her husband, sending the rest of the chairs flying as they drink, bicker, fight and make love.

A circle of chairs. An AA meeting. Caitlin Thomas revisits her tempestuous life.

Light, Ladd & Emberton is a collective of three Wales-based dance artists - Deborah Light, Eddie Ladd and Gwyn Emberton - together with creative producer Laura Drane. They came together in 2014 to make Caitlin, which was originally commissioned for the Dylan Thomas centenary by the National Library of Wales.

Through collaborative working, Light Ladd & Emberton creates original professional performance work, with the aim of creating exciting and inspiring productions for audiences in Wales and beyond, and to represent Wales and the UK on a national and
international stage. We draw on history and identity, predominantly of Wales, to create productions with contemporary relevance and culturally engaged.

(F.E.A.R.) Mr & Mrs Clark, supported by Chapter

Dates and times: 4-20 August 2017 (except 9 and 15 August), 19.10 (60 minutes)
21-28 August 2017 (except 22 August), 11.45 (60 minutes)
Venue: Zoo

(F.E.A.R.) is a one-man show about constructed fear that asks directly if the world wants us to feel safe. (F.E.A.R.) allows the audience to witness the vulnerability of a solo male performer, Gareth Clark, in full confessional mode. Expect a rollercoaster of dark humour and powerful storytelling that becomes ever more fevered when discussing the uncertainties of Brexit, state security and dysfunctional ageing.

Mr & Mrs Clark make timely and politically charged performances. In 2015, they were nominated for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award and continue to use their
creativity to make work that challenges the way we are governed.

FOLK and PROFUNDIS, National Dance Company Wales

Venue: Zoo

20, 22, 23 and 25 August 2017, 15.30 (30minutes)

21, 24 and 26 August 2017, 15.30 (35minutes)

Inspired by 17th and 18th century European oil paintings, Folk presents a mix of surreal and familiar scenes. It was created by National Dance Company Wales’ Artistic Director Caroline Finn, who describes it as a piece about social dynamics, exploring how people behave in a group environment.

Profundis by Israeli-born Assaf, is a provocative and sensual ensemble piece, challenging how we interpret the meaning of the work that we make and see. It features whimsical wordplay, vintage bathing costumes and an exotic soundtrack by Umm Kultum, Leonard
Bernstein and Alva Noto.

National Dance Company Wales is an award-winning company presenting work by some of the most celebrated international choreographers alongside creations by exciting new Wales-based talent. Founded in 1983 as Diversions, the company took up residency in 2004 at the Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre. The Dance House is regarded as one of the best dance production and rehearsal facilities in Europe and is the home and dance hub for professional development and nurturing dance talent in Wales.

NOT ABOUT HEROES, Flying Bridge Theatre and Seabright Productions in association with Pleasance

Dates: 2-28 August 2017 (except Wednesday)
Time: 12.00 (1hour 15minutes)
Venue: Pleasance Dome

Stephen Macdonald's Fringe First-winning play about the unique friendship between celebrated WWI poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, who met at Craiglockhart Hospital in 1917 and bonded over a mutual hatred of war and love of poetry. This production won the Best Actor award at the Wales Theatre Awards 2015, and arrives in Edinburgh this August fresh from a world tour, commemorating the centenary of both the meeting depicted in the play and of the Armistice.

Flying Bridge is a Welsh theatre company based in Newport producing drama of the highest quality for everyone. We want to celebrate, entertain inspire and provoke, everywhere and anywhere. By bringing audiences together we hope to build bridges, promote social cohesion and pride in the diversity of language and culture that has made Wales what it is today.

THE REVLON GIRL, Pontardawe Arts Centre

Dates: 3-28 August 2017
Time: 13.00 (1hour 15minutes)
Venue: Assembly Roxy

Fifty years ago, in the village of Aberfan, 116 children and 28 adults were killed after a landslide slipped onto its primary school. In the aftermath, bereaved mothers would meet to talk, cry and sometimes laugh. One night, they invited a representative from Revlon to pay them a visit and give them beauty tips. This is a play about that meeting.

Pontardawe Arts Centre’s in-house productions leading to tours have included large cast Shakespeare productions (which include a strong educational focus), family friendly product and latterly new writing developing from the venue’s annual Script Slam. Whilst the primary focus is to create the best possible product, care is taken to support artists to build and grow through the provision of masterclasses and mentoring. In addition to the productions the venue leads on, Pontardawe Arts Centre are happy to work in partnership with companies via the provision of rehearsal space, small bursaries and expertise.

SEAGULLS, Volcano Theatre

Dates: 8-26 August 2017 (except Monday)
Time: 18.00 (75 minutes)
Venue: The Leith Volcano

Volcano bring their trademark physicality and invention to this design-led, physically energetic performance of Chekhov's The Seagull, which toys with the boundaries between site-specific theatre and black box production. Performed in the nave of St James’ Church in Leith – renamed The Leith Volcano during this year’s Fringe – this radical production will feature a flooded chancel, breathtaking choreography and an eclectic soundtrack including Arvo Pärt, The Clash and Frank Sinatra.

Volcano Theatre is a small, energetic, responsive arts company with an ability to move quickly and imaginatively to make things happen, and a track record in inspiring and engaging others, working in partnership and setting big ideas in motion. We create and tour high-impact theatre productions all over the world, as well as initiating and managing projects ranging from temporary building transformations to festivals, residential workshops, exhibitions, publications and public events. South Wales is the company’s home – we are outward-looking Welsh internationalists with deep Swansea roots, fascinated by the place we live and make work and its relationship to other places.

SEANMHAIR, The Other Room

Dates: 2-28 August 2017 (except Tuesday)
Time: 16.55 (1hour 10minutes)
Venue: Bedlam Theatre

Seanmhair (feminine, Scots Gaelic): grandmother. Pronunciation: shen-a-var. A chance meeting between two children on the streets of Edinburgh unleashes a terrible reckoning, leaving Jenny and Tommy forever bound together by blood and fate. Brutal and beautiful, Hywel John's remarkable new play glimmers and cuts like a jewel, fusing raw epic romance with guttural urban poetry to tell the story of a secret generational legacy of love, violence and fury.

The Other Room at Porter’s is Cardiff’s pub theatre. It was founded by Kate Wasserberg and Bizzy Day, in response to the exciting opportunity to develop an audience for drama in the heart of Cardiff. An intense, purpose-built space with 47 seats, The Other Room produces new work by Welsh and Wales-based artists and great modern plays and has fast established a reputation for quality and daring. The Other Room won Fringe Theatre of the Year at the 2016 Stage Awards and Best Production, Best Play, Best Director and Best Actor at the recent Welsh Theatre Awards for their opening season in 2015. The theatre was also shortlisted in the Arts category of the Cardiff Life Awards 2017. The Other Room is currently led by Artistic Director Dan Jones, Associate Artistic Director Ben Atterbury and Executive Director Bizzy Day.

SUGAR BABY, Dirty Protest

Dates: 4-27 Aug 2017 (except Tuesday)
Time: 18.05 (55 minutes)
Venue: Roundabout @ Summerhall

Being a small-time drug dealer in Cardiff and living up to your family’s expectations is tough. Marc avoids his mum, disguises his cannabis plants with fake tomatoes at the allotment, and now has to bail his old man out of £6,000 owed to local loan shark Oggy. When he meets Lisa for the first time in years, things get even messier. Oggy wants Lisa. Lisa wants Marc. Marc wants to survive the day.

A new, one-man comedy from critically-acclaimed writer Alan Harris (Love, Lies And Taxidermy, Paines Plough; A Good Night Out In The Valleys, The Opportunity Of Efficiency, National Theatre Wales; How My Light Is Spent, Manchester Royal Exchange) and award-winning Welsh company Dirty Protest.

Dirty Protest is Wales’ award-winning new writing theatre company. Launched in 2007, the company has produced over 300 new plays by over 200 established and emerging writers, and staged sell-out plays in theatres and alternative venues, from pubs and clubs, to music festivals, kebab shops, hairdressers and a forest.

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