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Renowned rugby play returns in time for Six Nations re-boot

Nova Theatre’s comedy drama Winners shines a spotlight on rugby and gender roles in Wales

Winners, Nova Theatre’s contemporary play about rugby and love, has been adapted into an audio drama and is now available to stream online free.

As the remaining Six Nations games loom and the Autumn Tournament is fast approaching, Nova Theatre’s comedy drama Winners shines a spotlight on rugby and gender roles in Wales, told through a couple who have got their priorities wrong, who want to change, but don’t know how.

Artistic Director of Nova Theatre Lowri Jenkins has written the piece, and also performs it alongside Oliver Morgan-Thomas. Winners is about a couple, Cassie and Dafydd. Cassie is from a big rugby family and Dafydd was a rugby player for a while – semi-professional – but he never quite made the push. Cassie supported Dafydd in his career, partly because she wanted him to achieve things she could never achieve. Now, she’s angry at him for giving up. Maybe he wants to try something different….he’s just not sure what. Cassie and Dafydd do love each other, but lately, rugby of all things has started to bring out the worst in them.

Lowri Jenkins, Winners writer and Nova Theatre Artistic Director, said: “Winners is about a couple who love each other and rugby. It’s about our expectations of one another and when we don’t quite meet them. In lots of ways the characters are inspired by that fan- idol dynamic, and what happens if that’s part of a personal relationship – and if we push that to an extreme? Winners is funny and charming and simple.

“We haven’t tried too hard to make it anything other than an analysis of a very normal relationship told through the theme of rugby… because we genuinely love rugby! We want audiences to have a good time, to laugh, maybe cry, and relate to our story.”

Nova Theatre presents the moving, funny play as two podcasts, available to listen to for free on SoundCloud from 16 – 30 September. Both the audio and staged version of Winners have been directed by Samantha Alice Jones and produced by Ceriann Williams. The audio drama has been edited by Katheryn Siggers.

Lowri continued: “I felt like the intimacy of an audio drama suited Daf and Cassie’s story down to the ground. They are two people who spend a lot of time looking outward, and while the stage version of Winners had plenty of moments where we played to the audience, the heart of the story is all about looking inward. I was also inspired to create an audio piece as I spent a lot of time early in lockdown walking around the Vale of Glamorgan listening to podcasts. I loved the intimacy, the way you feel like you’re listening to someone’s private thoughts. They helped me escape some of my own mental obstacles, and also made me feel connected. I thought Winners might be able to do the same, especially during a time when feeling connected is tricky, when rugby fans aren’t able to get to matches, and when talking about our feelings and mental health is extremely important.

“As a company we had a great experience partnering with the Sherman to present Winners as a stage play in February of this year. For us it was a natural progression. The theatre has
worked hard to stay connected to Cardiff audiences through lockdown, and with initiatives like Heart of Cardiff and its commitment to creating a more diverse platform of voices, we’re excited to be part of their Autumn programme. We’re proud to serve Cardiff and wider Welsh audiences and to be one of many, many different stories that work to reflect some of the huge spectrum of Welsh life.”

Winners has been crafted by new South Wales theatre company Nova. The company aims to create theatre which is funny and heartfelt with a touch of surprise. Nova comprises of Lowri Jenkins, Jennifer Fletcher and Ceriann Williams who have presented work across Wales and internationally.

The audio release of Winners is supported by Sherman Theatre who is presenting the piece as part of its audio and online autumn season. Sherman Theatre hosted the original performances of the play as part of its Get It While It’s Hot programme in February 2020.

While Nova Theatre’s audio adaptation of Winners is available to access free, donations are encouraged. Subscribers can sign up to Patreon in support of Nova Theatre here.

And one-off donations can be made here.