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New year, new theatre season; ENTERTAINMENT II.

NATIONAL Theatre Wales has announced its 2018 season of productions, including a month-long festival to celebrate the 70th birthday of the NHS, two productions reflecting on the migrant experience in and beyond Wales, the first two productions in a three-year cycle of experimental works, and a work-in-progress.

Making the season announcement, Kully Thiarai, National Theatre Wales' artistic director, said: "Our 2018 season is all about people and places. We're inviting audiences to join us in locations across Wales and take a moment to walk in others' shoes, be they south Asian women or migrants from all over the world, NHS staff or patients past and present.

"These productions will be experimental, political, diverse and provocative. All of them will explore the human condition, what effect places have on our identities and our impressions of others' identities. Join us next year for this exciting new season of work and see Wales, the world and its people through fresh eyes."

Here's what we can look forward to.

THE STORM CYCLE Created by Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes, 2018-20 Locations across Wales Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes, who have created some of National Theatre Wales' most critically-acclaimed work to date, will join the company as associate artists and begin a threeyear collaboration with NTW in 2018.

The Storm Cycle will be a series of six productions conceived, designed and directed by Pearson and Brookes. These multimedia works will be performed at different locations across Wales, in a variety of scales and sizes, and will explore two key themes, truth and testimony. They will culminate in 2020 with the creation of a major new large-scale production for NTW's 10th-anniversary programme.

The Storm Cycle will build on the approaches and techniques that Pearson and Brookes have brought to their trilogy of groundbreaking NTW productions, The Persians (2010), Coriolan/us (2012) and Iliad (2015), while also drawing on their own histories and experiences as theatremakers in Wales over the past 40 years.

The works will draw on dramatic, literary, mythological, cinematic and artistic sources, historical and contemporary, local and international, fictional and documentary. They will include original texts, specially-created soundtracks, innovative scenic designs and novel physical activities.

SISTERS Created by Kully Thiarai, Sameera Iyengar and other female artists from the Indian diaspora April 20, 2018 Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, CardiffSisters is a conversation across continents about the richness, complexity and diversity of being a south Asian woman today. Stories recalled and half-remembered, embedded in objects left behind on trains and in airport lounges, journeys and conversations between women in India and Wales.

This all-female work-in-progress by leading British-Asian and Indian artists holds a mirror up to life as a south Asian woman today, wherever she lives, the echoes and the contradictions, the (in)visibility and the comradeship, all told with playfulness, honesty and humour.

Sisters is part of India Wales, a major season of artistic collaboration between the two countries to mark the UK-India Year of Culture, and is supported by British Council Wales, the Arts Council of Wales and Wales Arts International.

ENGLISH National Theatre Wales & Quarantine presents with Wales Millennium Centre Part of Festival of Voice 2018 June 2018 Dance House, Cardiff English is spoken by 1.75 billion people worldwide - that's one in every four. Non-native speakers far outnumber first-language English speakers.

What happens to your sense of self when you move someplace where you don't really know how to say who you are? It's said that by the end of this century, we'll have lost more than half the world's languages. In June, National Theatre Wales - which itself operates in a bilingual country - will collaborate with Quarantine to create a brand-new production exploring language, migration and identity, how we learn to speak and how we learn to listen.

NHS70: A FESTIVAL July 2018 Locations across Wales On July 5, 1948, one of the biggest ideas ever to come out of Wales was born. The brainchild of Ebbw Vale MP and the UK's Health Minister Aneurin "Nye" Bevan, the National Health Service was a revolutionary idea, formed along with the welfare state during Britain's austere post-war period, under the principle of collective responsibility.

National Theatre Wales will celebrate the NHS' 70th birthday in July 2018 with a month-long festival, inspired by some of the founders, staff and patients of this unique institution. This countrywide tribute to the NHS will feature seven multi-platform productions and events, made and performed live across the country and online.

These will include theatre company Oily Cart's Splish Splash, a multi-sensory, underwater touring production for young people aged three to 19, performed in schools and hospitals.

In addition there is Love Letters to the NHS, a series of five new solo shows written by five writers and performed in community spaces the length and breadth of Wales.

These extended monologues will be intimate, heartfelt love letters to an institution with which all of us have had - or will have - a relationship at some stage of our lives.

Plus, Gruff Rhys will write, record and release a new song paying tribute to the NHS on its 70th birthday, while Laughter is the Best Medicine will be a night of comedy, compered by actor and comedian Elis James at the Lyric Theatre in his hometown of Carmarthen.

THE TIDE WHISPERER Written by Louise Wallwein Directed by Kully Thiarai Designed by Camilla Clark September 2018 Tenby, Pembrokeshire An immersive experience written by poet and playwright Louise Wallwein, The Tide Whisperer will tackle the global phenomenon of displacement and mass movement.

| Follow National Theatre Wales' 2018 season on Twitter using hashtag #NTW2018 or at @ ntwtweets


Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes and, below, Gruff Rhys
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 25, 2017
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