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Port Talbot theatre first in Wales to re-open with live event

Princess Royal Theatre – the first in Wales to re-open with live event - cast members are seen in rehearsal

Port Talbot’s Princess Royal Theatre will be the first theatre in Wales to re-open in 2021 with a live event later this month when it stages the World Premiere of a new play about the life of Welsh working class martyr, Aberavon born Dic Penderyn.

The play, Iniquity Camwedd, which runs from Tuesday 27th – Saturday 31st July, is a community led production which has been written, performed, designed and constructed by the people of Neath Port Talbot.

The project has been driven by the play’s director, local actor and writer Stuart Broad, who is a passionate supporter of those who want to see Dic Penderyn given a posthumous state pardon.

He said: “It fills me with immense pride and honour to learn that with the help of The Princess Royal Theatre, Iniquity Camwedd and the story of Dic Penderyn will be the first live indoor theatrical event in Wales since the pandemic struck.”

Dic Penderyn (born Richard Lewis in an Aberavon cottage called Penderyn in 1808) was a labourer and miner who was involved in the Merthyr Rising of 1831 and who was charged with the non-fatal stabbing of a soldier.

Despite a huge petition protesting his innocence, Dic Penderyn was hanged on the gallows in Cardiff’s St Mary Street in August 1831 at the age of 23.

Iniquity Camwedd will now be staged in Port Talbot almost 190 years since the execution and at each showing, there will be a petition for Richard Lewis to be granted a posthumous state pardon. After each performance the audience will be invited to add their signatures to it.

The play’s run at The Princess Royal Theatre will be a socially distanced event, the theatre having been accredited industry-wide “See it Safely” status which means government approved measures will be in place to ensure the safety of the audience, cast members and theatre staff.

A socially distanced seating plan has been created which prevents the need for audience members to move directly past a different audience group if they need to exit. E-tickets are encouraged where possible and printed tickets are being posted to customers to prevent queues. Hygiene and cleanliness will be priorities and if ticket bookers have symptoms of COVID-19 or have come into contact with someone who has received a positive test result within the last 14 days, the theatre will exchange their ticket up to 24 hours prior to the performance.

Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Culture, Cllr Peter Rees, said: “It’s fitting that a town which has produced actors of the calibre of Richard Burton, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Michael Sheen will be the first to host the first live, indoor theatre event this year in Wales.”

To book tickets: Phone the theatre Box Office on 01639 762314 (Box Office phone line is open weekdays from 10am-12pm and 1pm-4pm).