Page last updated at 11:36 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Bridgend to premiere suicide play

Gary Owen
Playwright Gary Owen grew up in Bridgend

A play based around teenage suicide in the Welsh county of Bridgend is to be staged in the area next year by the newly formed National Theatre Wales.

It is being written by playwright Gary Owen, who said he suffered "suicidal thoughts" as a teen in Bridgend.

"This will be from someone who has been through that and can say, 'just hold on a bit longer,'" he said.

Since January 2007, more than 20 young people have apparently taken their own lives in the area.

Police said there was no evidence of a "suicide pact," nor anything to suggest the deaths were linked.

Owen said his drama, Love Steals Us From Loneliness, was "not a social or political analysis looking for a reason or a set of reasons."

"It will be fiction. It's not going to explain to anyone what happened," he added.

"What's important is that this work will happen in Bridgend with and for the people of Bridgend," he added.

The production was announced at the launch of the National Theatre Wales' inaugural programme.

The company has planned 13 plays over 13 months in 13 locations across Wales.

Other productions will include a Passion play staged by Frost / Nixon star Michael Sheen, a previously undiscovered drama by John Osborne and an ancient Greek play performed in an active army training facility.

The company's first production will be will A Good Night Out in the Valleys, a new work recounting stories from local people in the South Wales Valleys.

The tales will be performed in five Miners' Institutes in the South Wales Valleys over three weeks in March 2010.

Love Steals Us From Loneliness will premiere in Bridgend next October.

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