The South Wales Argus is sponsoring a festival of new one act plays that combine stand-up comedy, bloody sword fights and romantic mix-ups to give a modern take on Shakespeare. The ‘No Holds Bard’ festival at the Dolman Theatre from 15th – 17th March, promises to be an evening of lively entertainment that makes Shakespeare totally accessible for today’s audiences and turns his plots into plays for today.
A tender moment between two people (Rose Bissex and Daniel Penfold) who meet in 'Roman and Julia' by Gary Dooley
The festival showcases four plays that won a competition run by Newport Playgoers as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Open Stages project. One play will go on to be staged at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre – and possibly to Stratford as part of the World Shakespeare Year celebrations.
Two of the plays – ‘Poor Yorick’ by Phil Mansell from Newport, and ‘Only Words Remain’ by Kevin Myers of Cardiff– are by writers who are no strangers to having plays staged at the Dolman. Kevin’s play ‘Surviving the Century’ and Phil’s play ‘Bunkered’ were two of the four winners of a highly successful golf-themed writing competition organised to tie in with the Ryder Cup coming to Newport.
Yorick (Will Smith-Haddon) and Hamlet (Chris Powell) plot revenge and job opportunities while Queen Gertrude (Sue Morgan) looks on in ‘Poor Yorick’ by Phil Mansell.
The other two winning plays to be performed as part of the festival are ‘To Sleep Perchance to Die’ by Russell Walker and ‘Roman and Julia’ by Gary Dooley.
“The aim of the competition was to give a new twist on Shakespeare and create plays that today’s audiences will enjoy and connect with,” said Playgoers’ President Richard Dymond, “I hope the people of south Wales will come along and enjoy an evening that looks set to be full of fun and surprises.
A mysterious elderly man (Chris Bissex) meets a woman from his past (Lillian Hynes) in ‘Only Words Remain’ by Kevin Myers.
”We are particularly pleased and proud that our local newspaper, the Argus, has kindly sponsored the three night festival of one act plays,” he added.
The Dreamer (Luke Bowkett) faces another scary moment as he lives the actor’s nightmare over and over again in ‘To Sleep Perchance to Die’ by Russell Walker.
Tickets for the ‘No Holds Bard’ festival, which is at the Dolman Theatre from 15 – 17 March, can be booked by phoning the box office on 01633 263670 or visiting dolmantheatre.co.uk.