Page last updated at 13:53 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

National theatre company launches

John McGrath
John McGrath is the National Theatre Wales artistic director

A theatre company showcasing Welsh writing and performing has been launched live on the web, including a link-up to the top of Snowdon.

The new National Theatre Wales was marked with a multimedia event in Cardiff and parties across Wales.

The launch was also broadcast live at www.nationaltheatrewales.org, which included an online chatroom.

National Theatre Wales was founded by the Arts Council of Wales and is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government.

During its first year, the theatre said it would attempt to theatrically "map" Wales with one show each month in a different part of the country, plus an additional end-of-year finale.

At the launch in Cardiff it was revealed that these would start in March 2010 with A Good Night Out in the Valleys, a mini-tour of south Wales miners' institutes and working men's clubs.

Dai Smith, chair of the Arts Council of Wales, on the new theatre

Other shows will include the premiere of a John Osborne play, "reality theatre" staging events outdoors, and an interactive event on the beaches of north Wales for the "Play Station generation".

Actor Michael Sheen will also return to his home town of Port Talbot with poet Owen Sheers to stage an contemporary revival of the town's community Passion Play.

Arts Council of Wales chair Dai Smith said the launch marked a "fantastic day" both for National Theatre Wales and for the nation.

"National Theatre Wales, I know, will be a forum for the new Wales," he said.

"It will be a catalyst and not parochial, but it is rooted in Wales.

"National Theatre Wales will be a viewfinder. It will be all over Wales for all Welsh people."

'World class'

The company, which will not have a specific home, will bring the best of Welsh writing, performing and directing together with world class artists and ideas.

It was founded after the assembly and the Arts Council for Wales identified a need for an English language national theatre, in the same mould as the Welsh language Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru.

The launch included live links to venues across Wales and a weather forecast from the theatre's creative associate, Mathilde Lopez, from the top of Snowdon.

National Theatre Wales' artistic director John McGrath said: "It is very exciting and it's important to do the launch online as people all over Wales can be part of it."

As part of its inclusion policy, National Theatre Wales welcomes response to its work at on its website.



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