Cardiff’s award-winning Sherman Theatre has announced its autumn season which includes the new audio series Heart of Cardiff, inspired by the people and communities of the city.
The season also includes an audio version of a popular new comedy drama and two series of podcasts. The Sherman will also continue a programme to support freelance theatre makers and connect and develop young people. All of the audio and online experiences will be offered to audiences and artists for free.
Following a search across Cardiff for writers with stories to tell about their community, neighbourhood, and heritage – resulting in 100 submissions – ten pitches were selected to be developed into original audio theatre experiences for the Heart of Cardiff season.
Supported by Arts Council of Wales and The Moondance Foundation, Heart of Cardiff will showcase and celebrate the city’s diverse stories and aims to engage and entertain audiences in Wales and beyond. The audio theatre experiences will shine the spotlight on a spectrum of communities and areas, giving voice to a range of perspectives, histories, and community heroes.
Writers were encouraged to apply to Sherman Theatre through an open call out. Heart of Cardiff writers are: Claire Boot, Emma Cooney, Emily Garside, Tim Green, Kyle Lima, Hannah McPake, Nia Morais, Mali Ann Rees, Owen Thomas and Aled Wyn Thomas.
Sherman Theatre’s Artistic Director, Joe Murphy has said: “When we first conceived the Heart of Cardiff project we thought it would be exciting to try and harness the incredible creativity of this extraordinary city. And we were blown away by the reaction. We received over 100 pitches. They told stories of love. Stories of despair. Stories of great drama. But above all they told stories of hope. Hope seems to be the beating heart of Cardiff.
“Throughout its long and illustrious history, Cardiff has always embodied hope: hope that whoever you are and wherever you come from, you are welcome here. Hope that we are better together than we are apart. And that spirit runs through all the pitches we received.
“We wish we could have commissioned many more of these great ideas, but due to resource we were only able to take 10 forward. I couldn’t be more excited by the writers we are working with on this project and to share with you their brilliant scripts. We are hugely grateful to Arts Council Wales National Lottery Fund and The Moondance Foundation for making this project possible.”
Claire Boot said: “Heart of Cardiff is a wonderful opportunity to delve into the stories that make the city what it is.”
Three of the audio theatre experiences in the Sherman’s Heart of Cardiff season will be in Welsh or bilingual, and have been selected for the way in which they demonstrate the rich diversity of voices within the city’s Welsh-speaking communities, examining Welsh identity from different lenses and lived experiences.
Aled Wyn Thomas said: “I am thrilled to be a part of Heart of Cardiff and to share the unbridled passion of our city’s voices.”
Heart of Cardiff is providing a number of paid opportunities for Welsh or Wales-based freelance theatre makers including writers, directors, actors and sound designers/composers, in order to support and develop freelance artists during a downturn in industry activity as a result of lockdown.
To accompany the audio theatre experiences, Sherman Theatre is launching a series of podcasts entitled Meet the Hearts of Cardiff, which provides further insight into the communities and areas featured in the project. The podcasts will be available through Sherman Theatre’s website.
Heart of Cardiff will also be surrounded by a vibrant programme of Creative Engagement events, an audience development programme, and workshops for freelance theatre makers. Further details will be announced towards the end of September.
The audio theatre experiences will be made available on Sherman Theatre’s website on a weekly basis from 8 October.
Further announcements for the autumn season at Sherman Theatre include:
Conceived by Sherman Associate Artist Suzanne Packer to amplify Black voices, Open Platform: Black History Month will see the Sherman celebrate the work of Black artists through its digital channels throughout October. For information on how to take part please visit Sherman Theatre’s website
Nova Theatre, supported by Sherman Theatre, will be adapting their original play Winners into an audio drama format. The tale of rugby and love was initially presented as part of Sherman Theatre’s Get It While It’s Hot programme in February 2020, and will be available to stream on SoundCloud from 16 – 30 September.
In addition to the exciting programme of work being created for audiences, Sherman Theatre will also be offering further free workshops for freelance theatre makers throughout the autumn, giving them the opportunity to learn a broad range of skills. Each workshop is led by a member of the Sherman’s staff team and artistic family.
These workshops will be complemented by the Meet the Makers podcast, discussing the backstage work that goes into creating much-loved theatre productions.
For younger audience and community members, Sherman Theatre’s Creative Engagement team will run a variety of programmes. The Sherman’s highly regarded Youth Theatre scheme will take place online this autumn, with a focus on traditional acting skills as well as theatre design, directing, writing, yoga, and mask work. The Youth Theatre sessions aim to encourage and inspire the next generation of theatre makers in Wales, and welcome young people regardless of their experience level or background.
Following the success of Sherman Theatre’s Creative Engagement collaboration between students at The College Merthyr Tydfil and the Daffodils Care Home to create the audio drama Tydfil Tales, the theatre will once again partner with The College on another storytelling project throughout the autumn.
The Creative Engagement team will also be working closely with young people for Introduction to Playwriting, a fully funded first-time playwriting course aimed at 15 – 18 year olds. The programme aims to support unheard voices of young people, bringing their stories and experiences to Sherman Theatre’s stages. Introduction to Playwriting is funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and any young people interested should email [email protected].