Meet the cast of our epic new Welsh language musical, co-produced with our partners Frân Wen.
Branwen: Dadeni is the latest in a run of Wales Millennium Centre Productions that nurture writers and creative talent in and from Wales.
Mared Williams - Branwen
Mared is an actor and musician from Llannefydd in North Wales. Having studied music at the University of Leeds, she went on to follow her passion for theatre with an MA at The Royal Academy of Music, leading to her covering Eponine in the West End’s reworked production of 'Les Miserables' in 2019-2022.
In 2021 Mared’s debut bilingual folk/pop album, ‘Y Drefn,’ was awarded Welsh Album of The Year; and since then she has performed original her music with BBC National Orchestra of Wales, at Sony Hall in New York and to sold-out shows with her band across London and Wales.
This summer, Mared played the role of Clara in the European Premiere of Mark Blitzstein’s ‘No For An Answer’ at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston Junction and is currently in the process of developing and writing her own show. Having been part of the ‘Branwen: Dadeni' journey from early development stages in 2021, she is over the moon to be bringing the powerful story to Wales Millennium Centre and across Wales.
Efnisien - Caitlin Drake
Caitlin is a bilingual actor and singer from Rhosllannerchrugog in North East Wales. She graduated from Italia Conti in 2019, making her professional debut in the world premiere of 'Pavilion' directed by Tamara Harvey at Theatr Clwyd.
Caitlin then appeared in 'The Brief & Frightening Reign of Phil' with the National Theatre, Bret McKenzie and the New Zealand Arts Festival. After that, she performed in the musical 'Coming To England' at Birmingham Rep. Caitlin made her RSC debut recently, playing several roles in 'Miss Littlewood' - a musical written by Sam Kenyon and Helena in 'Boundless As the Sea' both directed by Owen Horsley. She has just finished 'Truth or Dare' directed by Francesca Goodridge and Daniel Lloyd and later, she went onto perform in a 'theatre workshop' at the Soho Theater down in London. Caitlin recently worked on 'Rwan / Nawr', a co-production with Theatr Clwyd and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru which was performed at the National Eisteddfod in August this year.
Caitlin has also recorded work with BBC Cymru, S4C and appeared in the short film 'Homework'. She is beyond excited to perform the role of Efnisien in this epic new Welsh language musical.
Rithvik Andugula - Matholwch
Rithvik was born in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. He was raised in London and then Cardiff, following his family’s emigration to the UK when he was 5 years old.
He started acting when he was 11 – with his first performance at Aberystwyth Art Centre’s Great Hall – and his love of musicals grew with annual productions at Cardiff High School. Rithvik trained at LAMDA, achieving a BA (Hons.) in Professional Acting (2019–22) following his training with Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama’s Young Actors’ Studio (2018–19).
He has performed many lead roles in LAMDA productions, including: Jesus in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, Duncan in the political comedy ‘New Labour’, Tom in Bijan Sheibani's ‘The Arrival’ and Bérenger in ‘Rhinoceros’.
His musical theatre roles include: Marius in ‘Les Misérables’ (Natasha Evans and Louise Ryan, LRVS), Joe in ‘Our House’ (Natasha Evans and Beth Hobbs, HACC) and Benny Southstreet in ‘Guys and Dolls’ (Natasha Evans and Louise Ryan, LRVS).
Rithvik gives his professional debut in his role as Matholwch, and has relished the chance to brush up on his Welsh, having not used it since school.
Tomos Eames - Bendigeidfran
Tomos Eames is a Welsh singer-songwriter and actor. He was born in Cardiff and is a fluent Welsh speaker.
He attended the three-year acting course at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He also received training through a summer exchange project in the MXAT Moscow. Theatre credits include: ‘Trwy'r Ddinas Hon’ (Sherman Theatre Wales), ‘Rape of The Fair Country’ (Theatre Clwyd), ‘Spirit of the Mimosa’ (Theatre Clwyd), ‘Deffro'r Gwanwyn’ (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), ‘Land Of Our Fathers’ (Tara Finney Productions), Strife (Chichester Theatre). Film and TV credits include: ‘Resistance’ Big Rich Films, ‘Gwaith Cartref’ (S4 C), ‘Say Nothing’ (Short), ‘The Best Possible Taste’ (BBC), ‘Siblings’ (BBC3), ‘Spotless’ (Netflix), Jellyfish (Bankside Films), ‘Shakespeare and Hathaway’ (BBC), ‘Lost Boys and Fairies’ (Duck Soup Productions), ‘Bad Soil’ (Short).
Gillian Elisa - Ena
Gillian has enjoyed an extensive career in both Welsh and English television and theatre. She is fondly known as Sabrina in Welsh language television’s most famous soap opera, 'Pobol y Cwm'. Other roles include Grace Evans in 'Holby City'; Nana Pat in Ruth Jones’s Sky 1 hit, 'Stella'; and Nessa’s lingerie saleswoman in 'Gavin and Stacey'. More recently she featured in the BAFTA award-winning series 'Bang', and played a memorable part as the mother in the chiller series 'Hidden'.
Gillian has performed in several musicals since her career, began in 1974, including the lead role of Branwen in 'Melltith ar y Nyth' in 1975, which was the first ever televised Welsh language rock opera on BBC Cymru/Wales. Gillian spent five years playing Grandma in London’s Victoria Palace Theatre production of 'Billy Elliot'; Widow Corney in Theatr y Werin’s 'Oliver' in Aberystwyth in 2019; and headed an all-female cast in the musical 'Tic Toc' which opened at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff and then toured Wales early in 2023.
In other theatrical roles, Gillian toured with Karen Diamond’s company, Re-live, in the highly acclaimed play 'Belonging'; she played numerous roles in 'Under Milk Wood' at the National Theatre in London in 2020, alongside Michael Sheen and Siân Phillips; and has recently played the part of Vera in the hugely successful 'Brassed Off' at Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Gillian has recorded four CDs of songs from musical theatre and other popular repertoire.
Ioan Hefin - Picell
Ioan is a Welsh actor and fluent Welsh speaker from Carmarthenshire. His many on-screen credits include the films 'Apostle' for Netflix, 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children' directed by Tim Burton and 'The Toll' for Western Edge Pictures.
Ioan's recent TV credits include the crime thriller 'Steeltown Murders', 'Hideen', 'Ordinary Lies' (Series 2) and Hinterland for the BBC, 'The Light in the Hall' and Jack Thorne drama 'The Accident' for Channel 4. His leading roles in Welsh-language television include 'Y Golau', '35 Awr', 'Gwaith Cartref' and 'Parch' (Series 2) for S4C.
His many theatre credits include the epic site-specific piece 'Tide Whisperer' and 'Joseph K and the Cost of Living' for National Theatre Wales, and his one-man show 'You Should Ask Wallace' which has toured internationally.
He is an experienced voice artist and has voiced many corporate campaigns, audio guides and educational resources.
We are extremely grateful to Peter and Janet Swinburn, Dyfrig and Heather John and Carol Bell for supporting Branwen: Dadeni.