Circle of Fifths - National Theatre Wales

Circle of Fifths

18 - 26 June | Dance House, Cardiff

About Circle of Fifths

“we’re returning to stardust”

Friends and families gather on the street outside a home. Sometimes with boots and shovels. Together they share small talk and offer condolences before bidding their Butetown farewell. 

Later, stories, memories and music mingle with their grief. A song cuts through. The volume is turned up and they dance. 

Loss creates a feeling of disharmony. A fracture in life’s rhythm. In times like this, music can be the thing that makes us feel. 

Film and theatre maker Gavin Porter and a collective of artists bring us together to celebrate life in death. A live documentary performance, told through real life stories, rooted in tradition, music and memory.

Download the Circle of Fifths Digital Programme.

Capturing the experience

Production photos


‘you feel you are part of something real and stark and spiritual.’ Buzz Magazine

‘its most striking aspect lies perhaps in a simpler, deeper description: a group of talented local people getting together to work something out. Life in all its diversity; death in all its universality.’ Institute of Welsh Affairs

‘for a moment I felt on a plain where my unexpressed feelings were communicated in a way that was beyond me’ The Stage


Listen to the audio flyer
Watch the BSL introduction

Thursday 23 June, 6pm – Audio Described performance by Alastair Sill.
Friday 24 June, 8pm – BSL Performance by Sami Dunn. Live captioning by Sheryll Holley.
Saturday 25 June, 6pm – Live captioning by Sheryll Holley.

Venue info

The show will start near the Dance House, just next to Roald Dahl Plass, behind the red-brick Pierhead building. From there, we’ll take a short walk together up Pierhead Street to the Dance House. 

Circle of Fifths is a 360-degree experience – which means you’ll be right in the heart of the action. We’ll start outside with a short procession, so dress for the weather. Once we’re inside Dance House you’ll be standing for the show, sometimes on uneven ground, so wear comfortable shoes.

Content warning

During the show, there will be strong language, as well as references to death, dying and suicide. We understand that these issues may trigger memories and emotions for some people.







Maureen Blades


Francesca Dimech




Rose Beecraft Music

Creative team


Gavin Porter

Set and Costume Designer

Jacob Hughes

Lighting Designer

Jane Lalljee

Assistant Director

Bianca Ali

Associate Artist

Kyle Legall

Gavin Porter on Circle of Fifths

Gavin Porter on the Butetown experience

Let's talk about death

As a national theatre company we talk about how we can act as a mirror and a microscope for our collective understanding. To spark conversations or shift change in some way.  Gazing hard into the themes and ideas that Gavin Porter and co are looking at at the heart of Circle of Fifths has opened up a whole world of amazing, progressive change-making work happening out there, that we’ve been compelled to explore more of.  

There is a quiet but powerful, compassionate movement to end the stigma that exists around grief and dying. This feels fundamental to us all. Compelled by this area of social change, we reached out to some of the people doing this hands on work.

A deep dive and found some brilliant organisations, websites, podcasts and articles that also explore death in positive ways. 

Introducing Yen Robinson – on being a Death Doula

Maureen Blades – on being a Funeral Arranger

Naomi's story

Mary-Anne's story

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