Press Release

Release date: Wednesday 20 February 2019






National Theatre Wales’ The Stick Maker Tales, an evocative one-man show about the unforgiving environment of a hill farm and the very human emotions of its ageing farmer, will be performed to audiences the length and breadth of Wales this Spring.


Written by Peter Cox and directed by the company’s Artistic Director, Kully Thiarai, it introduces audiences to a hardy and weathered mid-Wales hill farmer nearing retirement, who reflects on a lifetime’s work on the farm and his memories of life before the National Health Service came to being.


Shepherd Geth Roberts might be getting on in years, but he still lives alone, high in the Elan Valley above the market town of Rhayader. 


He is a born storyteller who has spent his whole life working his wild and windswept farm, hidden away in the timeless Cambrian Mountains beneath the awesome beauty of the Elan night skies.


But now Geth faces his greatest ever challenge: his sight is failing and if he can’t see then his life has no purpose – he can’t work the farm, look after his beloved dog or carve the exquisite Shepherd’s Crooks for which he’s famous. 


Award-winning actor Llion Williams reprises his role as Geth in this three-week tour, for which tickets are now on sale.


Director Kully Thiarai said: “We really enjoyed working on this beautiful and poetic show written by Peter Cox and performed by the wonderful Llion Williams last year, and can’t wait to share it with a wider audience across Wales. It pays tribute to, and captures the spirit of, some of the hill farmers we met. Generations have worked this land and their traditions have been passed on. The Stick Maker Tales celebrates both the people and the place and makes you consider what the future might hold for the next generation of hill farmers.”


The Stick Maker Tales was originally performed in Llandrindod Wells and Welshpool in July 2018; one of five monologues or Love Letters to the National Health Service that formed part of NTW’s NHS70 Festival, celebrating the Service’s 70th birthday.



Listings Information


National Theatre Wales present


Written by Peter Cox

Directed by Kully Thiarai

Performed by Llion Williams

Designer: Carl Davies

Lighting Designer: Joe Fletcher

Sound Designer: Ben Harrison


Dates: Tuesday 23 & Wednesday 24 April 2019

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Galeri, Caernarfon, Gwynedd

Box Office:

Tel: 01286 685 222


Date: Thursday 25 April 2019

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli, Gwynedd

Box Office:

Tel: 01758 704 088


Dates: Friday 26 & Saturday 27 April 2019

Time: 7.45pm

Venue: Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion

Box Office:

Tel: 01970 623 232


Dates: Monday 29 & Tuesday 30 April 2019

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Borough Theatre, Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

Box Office:

Tel: 01873 850 805


Dates: Wednesday 1 & Thursday 2 May 2019

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Torch Theatre, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire

Box Office:

Tel: 01646 695 267


Date: Friday 3 May 2019

Time: 7.45pm

Venue: The Hafren, Newtown, Powys

Box Office:

Tel: 01686 614 555


Date: Saturday 4 May 2019

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea

Box Office:

Tel: 01792 602 060


Date: Tuesday 7 May 2019

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon, Powys

Box Office:

Tel: 01874 611 622


Dates: Wednesday 8 & Thursday 9 May 2019

Time: 7.45pm

Venue: Theatr Clwyd, Mold, Flintshire

Box Office:

Tel: 01352 701 521


Dates: Friday 10 & Saturday 11 May 2019

Time: 7.30pm

Venue: CARAD, Rhayader, Powys

Box Office:

Tel: 01597 810 561


Age guidance: 14+



Notes for Editors


Follow The Stick Maker Tales on Twitter:




Writer Peter Cox is an award-winning playwright who was awarded an MBE in the 2010 New Year’s Honours List for services to the Arts in Wales. He began his writing career at the Royal Court Theatre, London where he won the prestigious George Devine Award. His stage plays have been performed throughout Britain – from the Royal National Theatre, Belfast Opera House and the Wales Millennium Centre – to Miner’s Welfare halls. Between 1986 and 2003, Peter wrote 227 episodes of Brookside, the acclaimed Channel 4/S4C drama serial where he was a lead member of the Writer’s Room that created multiple-strand stories for more than 2,400 episodes. In 1999 he was commissioned to write the BBC Wales millennium film, A Light On The Hill, directed by the late Michael Bogdanov. Michael further extended their collaboration when he went onto commission Peter as Story Consultant and to write the Book for Amazing Grace, the sell-out Wales Theatre Company musical starring Peter Karrie, with music and lyrics by Mal Pope. Peter’s radio plays have been broadcast on BBC Radio 3, Radio 4 and Radio Wales.


Director Kully Thiarai has worked in the performing arts for many years as a theatre maker, artistic director and arts consultant. Her early career was largely in new writing with national touring companies like Red Ladder Theatre Company and Major Road, both based in Yorkshire. She has since led a number of organisations and companies including being Artistic Director of Contact Theatre, Manchester, Leicester Haymarket Theatre, Theatre Writing Partnership and Red Ladder Theatre Company; commissioning, producing and directing work nationally and internationally. She has created a diverse range of work that spans communities, cultures and performance styles; has directed large-scale epics, new plays and made work in non-theatre spaces. Before joining National Theatre Wales as artistic director in May 2016, she was the founding Director of Cast in Doncaster – a new £22 million performance venue that is the cultural living room for the town; a place for performance, participation and provocation. Her work for National Theatre Wales includes Sisters (National Theatre Wales/Junoon), The Stick Maker Tales and Tide Whisperer. Kully is a Clore Theatre Fellow, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Trustee of the Manchester International Festival.


Performer Llion Williams is from Dyffryn Conwy and is an Associate of Theatr Clwyd. In 2017, he achieved the double at the Wales Theatre Awards; Best Actor in English for Belonging Re-Live and Best Actor in Welsh for Chwalfa (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru). He also received an Honorary Degree from Coleg Prifysgol Bangor.

Other theatre includes: Iliad (National Theatre Wales), Ghosts, A Doll’s House, Abigail’s Party, The Herbal Bed The Journey of Mary Kelly, A Christmas Carol, Rape of the Fair Country, Gaslight and A Small Family Business (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), Porth y Byddar (Clwyd Theatr Cymru/Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), Macbeth, Cariad Mr Bustl/Le Misanthrope, Y Pair/The Crucible, Y Gofalwr/The Caretaker, Iesu, Cysgod y Cryman, Bobi a Sami, and Y Storm/The Tempest (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru). Y Cylch Sialc/The Chalk Circle, Un o’r Teulu/Relatively Speaking and Y Gelli Geirios/The Cherry Orchard (Theatr Gwynedd), Antigone, The Giant’s Embrace and Minamata (Theatr Powys), C’Mon Midffild, and Llanast/Carnage (Theatr Bara Caws), A History of Falling Things (New Vic, Stoke), Jack and the Beanstalk (Scarborough). Television work includes: Hinterland, Keeping Faith, Craith, Outside Time, A Mind to Kill, The Mystery Files, Death of Liberty, C’mon Midffild, Blodeuwedd, Ac Eto Nid Myfi and Gwaith Cartref. Radio work includes: Playboy of the Western World/Congrinero’r Gorllewin, Y Ffin and Dyddiadur Dyn Dŵad (BBC). Other work includes: Pedr a’r Blaidd/Peter and The Wolf (Ensemble Cymru).

High res, colour production images are available on request.

National Theatre Wales has been making English-language productions in locations all over Wales, the UK, internationally and online since March 2010. It operates from a small base in Cardiff’s city centre, but works all over the country and beyond, using Wales’ rich and diverse landscape, its towns, cities and villages, its incredible stories and rich talent as its inspiration. National Theatre Wales is supported by the Welsh Government and the Arts Council of Wales.

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