Caerphilly Castle to be the spectacular setting for a Welsh-language Macbeth

Monday 21 November 2016

Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru are delighted to announce further details of the company’s next production — an exciting and ambitious presentation of Macbeth. Shakespeare’s brutal tragedy, in a new translation by the late Professor Gwyn Thomas, former National Poet of Wales, will be presented at Caerphilly Castle in February 2017. It will also be broadcast live to cinemas across Wales, as part of the company’s new venture, Theatr Gen Byw. The production is a key event, as Cadw celebrate 2017 Year of Legends.

It is our pleasure to announce that Richard Lynch (Pobol y Cwm, Hinterland) will play the part of Macbeth, and Ffion Dafis (Byw Celwydd, Rownd a Rownd) will play the part of Lady Macbeth. These two highly respected Welsh actors will lead a cast of professional actors in addition to a local community cast, to bring Shakespeare’s classic to life. Following a similar cooperation earlier this year with the community of the Bethesda and Bangor area in the making of Chwalfa, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru are inviting members of the local community of Caerphilly to take part, and auditions and workshops will be held in the area during November and December; for full details see theatr.cymru. This is a unique opportunity for local residents to take part in an ambitious production and to see the fabulous Caerphilly Castle as never before.

For the first time ever, audiences the length and breadth of Wales will also be able to enjoy the production and its spectacular setting, as the company will be broadcasting the play live to venues such as Chapter, Pontio, Galeri, and Aberystwyth Arts Centre on Tuesday 14 February. The live broadcast is part of Theatr Gen Byw, a new and exciting pilot venture which will seek to ensure that site-specific work presented by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, will reach wide audiences. For a full list of centres that will be screening the broadcast live on 14 February, soon to be confirmed, please see theatr.cymru.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is very proud to present this translation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, one of the last works of the late Professor Gwyn Thomas. Gwyn Thomas, who died earlier this year, was a former Head of the Welsh Department at Bangor University and National Poet of Wales 2006–2008. He was a prolific author, and amongst his invaluable contributions to Welsh cultural life, are his many volumes of poetry, plays and academic writings, and an English translation of the Mabinogi.

Arwel Gruffydd, Artistic Director of Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and the Director of Macbeth, said of the production:  

"This is the third time in our history that we are presenting Shakespeare in Welsh, following the production of Romeo and Juliet (translation by J T Jones) in 2004 and Y Storm (translation of ‘The Tempest’ by Gwyneth Lewis) in 2012. It was a pleasure to work with Gwyn, and it is very sad that he will not see the fruits of his labour realised on stage and his masterful, poetic translation performed. 

We present this production in his memory. Macbeth was the first Shakespeare play I came across, aged 12, and I was immediately captivated by its magic and darkness. This is the first time for me to direct a Shakespearean play, and I look forward to it with both excitement and apprehension, while knowing too that I’m in safe hands, as I will be working alongside two of Wales’s leading actors, Richard Lynch and Ffion Dafis, who each bring a wealth of talent and experience to the production."

For full details about the auditions held for the community cast, please see theatr.cymru. Full details of venues that will be broadcasting live on 14 February are also available, as they are confirmed, at theatr.cymru.