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Cult horror story PONTYPOOL to be staged by Wales Millennium Centre

Don’t. Breathe. A word. A stage adaptation of an iconic horror story is Wales Millennium Centre’s newest production – arriving just in time for Halloween.

PONTYPOOL is based on the cult horror story by Tony Burgess that turned the zombie genre on its head. Set originally in the Pontypool of Ontario, Canada, this new adaptation by Welsh writer Hefin Robinson sees terror unfold through the eyes and ears of radio broadcasters in the eponymous Torfaen town. 

The announcement comes on St Dwynwen’s Day – celebrating the Welsh patron saint of lovers – which is also when PONTYPOOL is set, with Wales Millennium Centre posting a teaser on social media.

Radio DJ Grant Mazzy was once king of the airwaves, but his big mouth and even bigger ego have reduced him to a washed-up star. Forced to leave the national stations behind, he finds himself at Beacon Radio, Pontypool’s little-known station in the South Wales valleys.  

On a snowy St Dwynwen’s Day, Mazzy and his team settle in for another breakfast show of news, weather, traffic and call-ins. But things take a disturbing turn when muddled reports come in of an outbreak of riots and babbling crowds in the town.

Panic spreads. Terror closes in. Can Mazzy remain on air to make sense of it all, or will Pontypool fall silent?

Join Grant Mazzy and his team at Beacon Radio for a strictly limited run at Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio on 30 October – 9 November 2024. Tickets are available now at www.wmc.org.uk/pontypool.  

Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre, said: “The prospect of transposing a cult horror story called Pontypool both to Wales and to a modern age was irresistible. Doing so with a team led by Welsh talent in the form of Hefin Robinson and Dan Phillips is even better.

“We’ll explore how we use language, sensationalism, and the search for truth amid a climate of fake news and conspiracy theories. It’s more than a little terrifying but great fun at the same time.”

Tony Burgess’ best-selling 1995 horror novel Pontypool Changes Everything was later released as the 2008 cult horror film and radio play Pontypool, with the latter serving as the basis for Hefin Robinon’s new stage adaptation.

Hefin Robinson said: “To reimagine Tony Burgess’ wholly original and startlingly vivid Pontypool for the stage has been a treat. Not only has it allowed us to translate the tension and scares to a live theatre experience, but the new Welsh setting has brought with it the heart and humour of this particular small-town community.

“The opportunity to write a horror thriller that explores language, bilingualism and culture from a Welsh perspective has been especially exciting. I can’t wait to start terrifying audiences this autumn.”

PONTYPOOL is directed by Dan Phillips with immersive sound design by Ben Samuels, and produced for Wales Millennium Centre by Pádraig Cusack. The company also includes set and costume designer Cory Shipp, lighting designer Simisola Majekodunmi, composer Nicola T Chang, movement and intimacy director Lucy Glassbrook, and casting director Hannah Miller CDG. Cast and further company to be announced.