We're joining forces with Frân Wen to produce a brand-new Welsh-language musical.
Branwen: Dadeni will be staged in Cardiff, Aberystwyth, and Bangor in November 2023. The epic new Welsh language musical is written by Hanna Jarman, Elgan Rhys and Seiriol Davies, with lyrics and music by Seiriol Davies.
This artistic partnership marks a major milestone for both organisations as we embark on fulfilling our shared vision of producing a landmark Welsh musical, drawing talent from across Wales for a contemporary reimagining of the legendary yet tragic tale of Branwen, from the ancient mythical tales of the Mabinogion.
“I’m extremely excited to be working with Frân Wen in this landmark undertaking for Welsh language new writing in this genre, on this scale."Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre
A production with co-creation at the heart
Led by a team of three writers, co-creation is at the heart of the production. Hanna Jarman’s previous writing credits include GALWAD (Collective Cymru), Y Teimlad (NYAW) and the S4C comedy drama Merched Parchus which she created, co-wrote and starred in. Elgan Rhys’s writing credits include Elen Benfelen/Goldilocks and Woof both for Sherman Theatre and he is the Creative Editor and Project Manager of the series Y Pump (Y Lolfa). Seiriol Davies, who is also composer and lyricist, has most recently written Betty: A Sort of Musical (Royal Exchange Manchester), Milky Peaks (Theatr Clwyd & Áine Flanagan Productions) and the acclaimed hit How to Win Against History which opened at the Edinburgh Fringe, becoming the best-reviewed show of that Festival and which then played a sell-out run at London’s Young Vic.
"This collaboration is of huge importance to us as we embark on our largest Welsh language production to date, based on a much-loved world-famous Welsh tale, re-told for our times. I can’t wait to see this brilliant adaptation of Branwen, written by Hanna, Elgan and Seiriol, being brought to life on stages across the country, by our wonderful team of Welsh creative talent.”Gethin Evans, Director + Frân Wen’s Artistic Director
The creative team
The creative team includes set and costume designer Elin Steele (The Scandal at Mayerling, Dextera and the upcoming Cinderella for Scottish Ballet; A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hero of the People, Woof for Sherman Theatre), lighting designer Bretta Gerecke (Lady in the Dark for Opera Zuid; set & lighting design on Coming to England for Birmingham Rep; set, lighting, costume & projection design on The Invisible for Catalyst Theatre), orchestrator Owain Gruffudd Roberts (leader of contemporary 9-piece Llareggub Brass Band; regular arranger for BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Welsh Pops Orchestra and S4C) and casting director Hannah Marie Williams (The Cost of Living for National Theatre Wales, live and theatre casting for GALWAD).
Nurturing writers and creative talent
Branwen: Dadeni is the latest in a run of Wales Millennium Centre Productions that nurture writers and creative talent in and from Wales. Its latest production, Es & Flo, an award-winning script written by Jennifer Lunn, premieres at Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston Studio between 28 April – 13 May 2023 before being staged at The Kiln Theatre in London in June 2023.
Previous acclaimed productions include Hamed Amiri’s The Boy with Two Hearts (2021) which recently transferred to the National Theatre in London; Connor Allen’s The Making of a Monster (2022) Llinos Mai’s Anthem (2022) and Kaite O’Reilly’s The Beauty Parade (2020).
Frân Wen’s recent work includes the national sell-out tour of Welsh language coming-of-age dramedy Croendena (2023), Ynys Alys (2022) which followed the story of a young girl as she set out in search of her independence, and Faust & Greta (2021) a co-production with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Pontio – which was a digital theatrical experience inspired by T. Gwynn Jones’ Welsh translation of Goethe’s classic ‘Faust & Greta’.