A fanfare for National Theatre Wales

National Theatre Wales has taken another huge step forward with its official launch today, as reported here:

National Theatre Wales to launch with global webcast

After years of waiting, Wales will finally get its own National Theatre today.

... Although exact details of the programme will not be unveiled until the launch, McGrath has revealed that NTW won’t be shying away from any challenges. There will be 12 productions during the launch year, which runs from March 2010 to spring 2011. And they will be staged throughout Wales.

Like the National Theatre of Scotland, NTW does not have its own performing house so the company will take productions to existing theatres as well as work at site specific locations.

... After years of talk, detailed plans were finally announced in 2007 for NTW and the Welsh Assembly Government invested £750,000 in preparatory work. Now the company is receiving £3m from WAG during the first three years. NTW will run alongside the Welsh language company Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

Western Mail, 5 November 2009

It will be another few months before the first performances, but to get a taste of what's to come why not take a look at their website.

A good question to ask would be why it has taken so long to set up an English-medium National Theatre, when we have had the Welsh-medium Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru since 2004. The answer is in a post I wrote on the WalesOnline forum a couple of years ago:

The (English-medium) National Theatre of Wales

I'm pleased to see that the first steps have been taken to set up an English-medium National Theatre of Wales.

     Western Mail, 9 October 2007

If we really are committed to achieving a fully bilingual Wales, this means being committed to English just as much as Welsh. We have a fine tradition of English language literature and drama here in Wales, and it would be quite unfair to sideline that at the expense of Welsh. We have our Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru ... an English equivalent is long overdue.

There has been talk about such a project for a long time, but no political commitment to make it a reality. But it is part of the One Wales Agreement, and Heritage Minister Rhodri Glyn Thomas is mandated to make it a reality.


Now, just in case you are wondering why we get it only now (though I daresay it will take another year or so to become a reality) when the Welsh version has been up and running since 2004, you just have to look at the manifestos for the May election.

Plaid wanted it, Labour didn't. That's why we didn't get it before now. But we managed to negotiate it into the One Wales Agreement.

Plaid Cymru supporting English isn't the sort of picture our opponents want to paint of us ... but the reality is somewhat different, isn't it?

We are just as committed to supporting English as we are to supporting Welsh.

WalesOnline Forum, 9 October 2009

Well, why shouldn't we do some trumpet blowing?

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Unknown said...

We've drawn attention to this, thanks, it is a political victory that needs to be more publicised.

Anonymous said...

Just read Betsan Powys's blog too about the so call intellectual 'Front Row' programme on Radio 4 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/betsanpowys/

Amazing Welsh National Theatre ... in English and Welsh speakers aren't picketing?! Wow .. erm, how boring for the BBC.

As you said, what's more 'amazing' is that the English language theatre is there because those nasty English-hating Welsh nats in Plaid Cymru, people like Rhodri Glyn Thomas and Alun Ffred insisted it was as part of the One Wales Pact. That's it, there'd be no English language national theatre for Wales if Labour had got their way - this is what Huw Lewis et al mean by 'more socialist' lest 'nationalist' Labour government.

Good on Plaid. Good on Rhodri Glyn and Alun Ffred. And good on Wales. BBC London - grow up and get out more.

Pads said...

"Is your ambition to perform at the National Theatre of Great Britain? [at the South Bank]"

Jeez. Talk about parochial.

If that's their attitude to Wales, you have to wonder about discussion of other, more distant countries.

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