JOHN E McGRATH
“It’s Saturday night at the Stute; beer, the band, bingo, a raffle, Prior Bad Bang’s had a few too many to drink and won’t keep his hands off Sue, Dirty Sharon’s making eyes at Shwni, Kyle arrives believing he’s going to make things better and Con knows his time is up.”
Valleys lives collide in a village under threat, a community stuck in the past but yearning for a future.
In March 2010, National Theatre Wales took to the south Wales valleys with their debut production, A Good Night Out in the Valleys. The sell-out show opened in Blackwood Miners Institute on March 11, before going on tour to Blaengarw Workmen's Hall, Pontardawe Arts centre, Bedwas Workman's Hall and ending at the Coliseum in Aberdare.
A cast of six actors – all originally from the Valleys – played around six characters each ranging from 'Stute manager to children, a 115 year old woman and a polish cake factory worker. The cast included Boyd Clack, Sharon Morgan, Siwan Morris, Huw Rhys, Amy Starling and Oliver Wood. Written by Alan Harris and directed by John E McGrath the show also invited local bands to play a part in an evening filled with live music, bingo, a raffle and theatre. An active online community followed the show, ranging from blogs, to images, discussions and more. To read more, click here.
Click here to download the show programme.
Western Power Distribution
With first-rate acting from Boyd Clack and Siwan Morris, and excellent production values, this populist comedy is a fitting start for the organisation.
It offers a good night out in the valleys (there’s a band, bingo, likeably icky gags from a has-been compere)
This is a triumphant piece of work: hugely entertaining, masterfully written, and with pitch-perfect direction from John McGrath and an astounding cast. A great night out, not to be missed.
National Theatre Wales... could not have hoped for a stronger launch production.
What a debut production it proves to be... Make no mistake - a first class start to this long overdue venture has been made.
NTW proves that it can attract fine actors — and that it clearly means to take a hard look at Wales and the Welsh as well as to celebrate them.
National Theatre Wales gets off to a strong start... the show is blessed with great generosity of spirit – and some terrific jokes.
JOHN E McGRATH
Deputy Stage Manager
Assistant Stage Manager
Production Lighting Technician
Head of Stage
Polish Translator & Tutor
4th Street Traffic
Blackwood Miners Institute - Thursday 11th & Friday 12th March
Pontardawe Arts Centre - Thursday 18th & Friday 19th March
Bedwas Workman’s Hall - Thursday 23rd March
Coliseum - Friday 26th & Saturday 27th March
‘I’ve been caretaker here since around 1985. I’ve seen a lot over the years. There’s history and nostalgia attached to this place. Memorable things have gone on in this hall. Young people from all over the world have been here. I have it all in the visitor’s book. People have come from everywhere: Sardinia, Italy, Lithuania, Holland – all over the place for International Youth peace week – from Israel, Palestine, everywhere, and Wales, of course.
We’ve had Syd Lawrence on this stage and his orchestra and I believe Maria Callas sang here. Apparently they had their own orchestra; the orchestra pit is there. They had their own opera company. Paul Robeson sat there, not in these seats, but visited here and got involved with the miners. There’s been many a good night out here.’