The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning

Two of the most iconic National Theatre Wales shows; The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning by Tim Price and Mametz by Owen Sheers, are featured on the WJEC A Level Drama Syllabus.

The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning is inspired by the story of Chelsea Manning (born as Bradley Manning), the former US soldier accused of releasing 250,000 secret embassy cables and military logs from the Iraq and Afghan wars. When this play was written, Manning had spent three years in prison without charge and was awaiting sentence, having been found guilty of crimes that could mean life in prison. But just a few years before this, Manning was a teenager in West Wales. How did this happen? And who was responsible for their radicalisation?

To support students studying the text (and the original production), the creative team have shared their experiences with us, with a focus on the following questions:

  1. As a director, what decisions did you make in presenting the play for performance, focusing on character interaction and movement?
  2. What are the challenges you faced as an actor playing your role, focusing on vocal and physical characterisation, motivation and interaction with others?
  3. As a designer, director or production manager, what approaches did you take to staging the piece, focusing on set, costume, lighting, sound and character positioning?

Video resources

You can watch interviews with director John E McGrath, writer Tim Price, designer Chloe Lamford, and actors Matthew Aubrey and Gwawr Loader which explore these questions.

To help study The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning, we think it’s important that teachers and students talk about Trans identity and awareness. In real life, Bradley Manning is Chelsea Manning. When we refer to Bradley Manning, we’re referring to the character in the play.

To enrich your understanding of the play and gender identity, we’ve created the following resources with the help of trans consultant, Kay R. Dennis and theatre director, facilitator and writer, Nerida Bradley.

There are also interviews with Kay and Nerida on the video resources subpage.