Welsh Writers’ Plays Selected for Royal Shakespeare Company Project

Plays by two writers from Wales have won a competition to be staged at Newport’s 400-seat Dolman Theatre – with the possibility of going on to be performed at Stratford as part of the World Shakespeare Year celebrations.

Winning Playwrights

Winning playwrights Russell Walker, Phil Mansell and Kevin Myers

‘Poor Yorick’ by Phil Mansell, who lives in Newport, and ‘Only Words Remain by Kevin Myers of Cardiff, are two of four one act plays that won a competition organised by Playgoers as their contribution to the nationwide Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project which has over 260 amateur dramatic companies from all over the UK taking part. Both plays will feature in the ‘No Holds Bard’ festival which will be staged at the Dolman Theatre from 15 – 17 March.

Phil Mansell’s play ‘Poor Yorick’ tells how Hamlet’s jester tries to pioneer stand-up comedy but fails and is forced to return to Elsinore to get his old job back, only to become embroiled in Hamlet’s plans for revenge. Complete with busty tavern wenches, domineering mothers, ghosts and the invention of the exploding whoopee cushion, it promises to be a laughter-packed production.

“I was really pleased that my play was chosen for this prestigious event,” said Phil. “The aim of the competition, which had entries from as far away as America, was to give a modern take on Shakespeare and create something that today’s audiences will enjoy and find totally accessible. I hope the people of southWaleswill come along and enjoy an evening that looks set to be full of fun and surprises.”

No Holds Bard One Act Play FestivalKevin Myer’s play ‘Only Words Remain’ is a story about love, loss and the persistence of language, exploring what happens when staff at a nursing home are faced with the puzzle of an elderly man with no name who is placed in their care.

He said, “I am thrilled to have had my play selected for the No Holds Bard festival. There are so few opportunities around for new playwrights, so all credit to Newport Playgoers for having the vision and courage to promote new work.”

Neither are strangers to having work performed at the 400-seat Dolman Theatre – Kevin’s play ‘Surviving the Century’ and Phil’s play ‘Bunkered’ were two of the four winners of a golf-themed writing competition organised to tie in with the Ryder Cup coming to Newport last October.

The other two winning plays to be performed as part of the festival are To Sleep Perchance to Die’ by Russell Walker, who lives in Bristol but works at the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport, and ‘Roman and Julia’ by Gary Dooley from Northants. Tickets for the ‘No Holds Bard festival, which is at Dolman Theatre from 15 – 17 March, can be booked by phoning the box office on 01633 263670 or visiting www.dolmantheatre.co.uk.

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