About the project
National Theatre Wales’ The Storm Cycle unfolds across a series of events conceived, designed and directed by our long-standing collaborator and current Associate Artist Mike Brookes.
These multimedia works are being developed and performed at different locations across Wales 2018-2020, in a variety of forms and scales, and explore two key themes; truth and testimony. They will culminate with the creation of a major, new, large-scale production for NTW’s 10th anniversary programme in 2020.
The Storm Cycle builds on the approaches and techniques that Brookes has brought to his trilogy of groundbreaking productions with NTW and Mike Pearson: The Persians (2010), Coriolan/us (2012) and Iliad (2015). Across this new journey we hope to further expand those approaches, and to open up some new possibilities – drawing on the experiences and expertise that have gathered around Brookes’ three decades of collaborative theatre-making in Wales, and also inviting and opening conversations with new collaborators and audiences.
After launching the cycle with an initial pair of works in Pontrhydfendigaid and Cardiff, both created and performed with his 20-year collaborator Mike Pearson, Brookes is now moving on to shape the cycle’s next steps – which already promise to take us into both surprising and spectacular territory…
There is a storm coming…
We find ourselves in a period of environmental and social uncertainty.
Perhaps it was always so.
But this is our time.
What new forms might our theatre adopt to engage or reflect the temper of our times?
What spaces or perspectives might it open up for us?
What might those spaces allow us to meet, consider, and do?
Drawing on daily events, literary, mythological, cinematic and artistic sources – historical and contemporary, local and international, fictional and documentary – The Storm Cycle will include original texts, specially-created sounds, innovative forms and novel physical acts.
There is a storm coming…
We live in tempestuous times: an era of climatic and environmental
uncertainty and of
social and political upheaval. Perhaps it was always so.
But what new forms can theatre develop and adopt: to engage with and to reflect the
temper of our times?
An urgent theatre: fit for purpose, addressing and expressing our present realities
Of living in the eye of the storm
THE STORM CYCLE: An overview
For me, the work usually starts with a commitment to make something imagined happen. And with questions about what that something might really be and do, both artistically and socially.
The works that Mike Pearson and I have made together with NTW, since the company’s inception a decade ago, have tried to find forms for a range of intentions and questions, that arose from our on-going conversations with NTW specifically – The Persians staged in a replica village, on the otherwise publicly inaccessible an unmapped landscape of an MOD range; Coriolan/us acted out across a vast interior yet open public space, both for and with the public of its audience; Iliad staged as a verbatim rendering of the whole of an extraordinary epic British poem, realised as an overnight marathon… These are works that, perhaps most importantly, were only possible for us within the wider ambitions and developing questions of NTW itself.
When invited to reconsider and build on the possibilities of these past works, to create a new large-scale theatre production for the company’s 10th anniversary in 2020, the initial questions again seemed to revolve around what that future work might actually hope or aspire to do. And amongst those questions were concerns about how such future work, and indeed its process, might at least attempt to root itself within the current social and environmental mood of its time. A moment where truth and empirical facts themselves often seem to be put under pressure, in perhaps increasingly accepted and unchallenged ways.
My response was to propose an open process, developed across a periodic series of performed and public ‘storms’, where each of these progressive events along the way might offer and test some potential aspect or possibility of the final work to come. A process, importantly, that would again only be possible within the context and history of my long-term collaboration with NTW. A process that might draw on the achievements of our shared past, challenge them, and hopefully open up some further options and possibilities for the future.
There will be theatrical storms that pull the familiar components of performance – image, sound, text, site and the elements – into perhaps unexpected shapes. There will be dramatic storms that draw on mythological, historical, literary and filmic moments of turmoil and unrest. There will be things said, and there will be things done…
Where The Storm Cycle will ultimately carry us, into a very different decade than that of my first collaboration with NTW, only time and coming events will tell.