I now suffer a horrible unease when I’m not sure when I’m next going to the theatre, it’s become my ‘me time’. Fortunately, now my confidence in going solo has been established I’m lucky to combine work in London with a trip to the theatre, but for some reason, it’s just not the same as an evening out in Cardiff, and after seeing Iphigenia in Splott which was so amazingly (and much deservedly) well-received at the Edinburgh Fringe, as well as the first season at The Other Room and some gut-wrenching theatre, I have to say just taking a glance around Cardiff this Autumn and there’s sooooo much to get excited about.
The Other Room is back with its second season ‘Blue Sky’. If you’ve not discovered this space yet, you really should. A short walk from Cardiff Queen Street, for me it’s the perfect evening out. ‘Pub theatre’, it’s a part of Porter’s Bar which means it naturally creates a far greater social experience than ‘just’ going to the theatre.Blud is the opening production of the season, running from Tuesday 1 to Friday 18 September, it’s a co-production between The Other Room and otherMother, a new Welsh, all female theatre company set up by playwright Kelly Jones, director Anna Poole and producer Olivia Harris. The play promises a powerful and authentic exploration of the call for war in a town defined by football.
Your Room follows Blud from Monday 5 October – Saturday 14 November, in keeping with the aspirations of ‘Blue Sky, this will be six weeks where hundreds of local artists will be invited to make work in the theatre with scratch performances, masterclasses and pop up events.
And then it will be Christmas, and from the 1st through to the 19th December, resident company difficult|stage will be presenting Alix in Wundergarten.
Following such a fantastic first season is no doubt a challenge, but even the tweets from the previews of Blud show The Other Room is ready to step up to the mark.
Across the other side of town, The Good Earth will be at Chapter from the 9th-12th September. Motherlode’s debut production, by National Theatre Wales emerging director Rachael Boulton and award-winning producer Sarah Jane Leigh, The Good Earth has been inspired by true events, and told through physical theatre, Welsh folk song and new writing. The Good Earth tells the story of a small village fighting to save their community from outside forces.
Parallel Lines is also at Chapter from the 21st-24th October, an awarding winning play by Katherine Chandler, Parallel Lines explores truth, class and power in contemporary Wales.
At the Millennium Centre I’m trying to figure out whether to sway an afternoon of school so CM can try out Birmingham Royal Ballet’s A Child’s Swan Lake (13th November). It looks like a fantastic experience, but with a Callio attendance rating to pay attention to I’ll have to keep CM healthy to make this one happen!
I’m also tempted by Land of Our Fathers, a play of six Welsh miners are trapped down a coal mine in 1979. Opening at the Centre and running from the 20th-28th October, the play will tour Wales in autumn ’15 and England in spring ’16. It’s just that after the last few weeks I’m not sure my body can cope with any more political angst (and anger) than is already coursing through.
One thing that CM is looking forward to already is the news that National Dance Company Wales will be back during half term with a family interactive matinée, aimed at ages 7+. Taking place on 27 & 28 October in the Dance House and also in Brecon on 21 November, audiences will get the opportunity to learn some of the moves from a dance piece and then the dancers perform that piece for them. This year its Tuplet and this extract provides a great overview:
Alongside the family matinees, NDC Wales have also been developing a new piece, A Mighty Wind which will join their other two pieces, Tuplet and Walking on Mad on their Autumn Tour, which opens on 3 October and tours Wales and the UK. A Mighty Wind has been scored to alternative rock fused with some classic music, and incorporates the bursts of energy of an almighty storm and performed in a rock concert setting.
Having opened up their rehearsal space again to develop the piece, it will be great to welcome the tour not only for half term but also for the Cardiff Dance Festival (16-18 November).
The New Theatre also has some shows which my children are looking forward to, although they’re beyond Autumn and into 2016, with Hetty Feather arriving on tour from the 30th March- 3rd April, I doubt CM will forgive me if we miss it again, and with Dr Seuss remaining a firm favourite for all three, The Cat in the Hat (19th-21st February) will be a must.
A little bit closer in time are other favourites, Dinosaur Zoo is at St David’s Hall on the 8th & 9th November which I know the boys will love, and just because it was my favourite I think we will have to see The Wind in the Willows (10th-12th December) which I will offer up as my Christmas treat.
And speaking of December, how could the Sherman‘s Christmas offerings be overlooked. A part of our tradition since moving to South Wales, this year Sherman Cymru and Theatre Iolo have announced the production for 3-6 year olds is a new adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Princess and the Pea. I think CM will be queuing from dawn to see as one of her favourite fairy tales and if previous years are to go by I’ll be reminded of the best bits well into the summer.
At the Sherman on the 6th and 7th November, there will be a tour across South Wales in November before returning back to the Sherman Theatre from 7th December through to the 2nd January.
For the 7+ audience, The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe will be in the main theatre from the 4th-31st December. The adaptation of such a fantastic C.S. Lewis tale is more than something to look forward to for adults and children alike. With actor-musicians, directed by Rachel O’Riordan it will no doubt weave the more wonderful Christmas magic.
And in the lead up to Christmas, the Sherman’s headline Autumn production, Ibsen’s A Doll’s House will be welcomed from the 9th-24th October. Originally produced in Norway in 1879, the play shocked audiences with its provocative challenge to the accepted view of a woman’s role within marriage. If a director’s previous piece is anything to go by, tickets for A Doll’s House are a must have as Rachel O’Riordan takes on the timeless story, exploring the dimensions of a woman’s identity.
This Autumn will definitely be a case of too much to see, too little time!