Marc Rees, Owen Morgan Roberts & Owen Sheers team up for ‘Now The Hero’ as part of 14-18 NOW

Forming the headline event of the 70th Swansea International Festival, and staged as part of the final 14-18 NOW season, pre-eminent Welsh artist Marc Rees, budding Welsh composer Owen Morgan Roberts, and BAFTA Cymru-winning Welsh writer Owen Sheers will team up for ‘Now The Hero‘, an ambitious, large-scale cultural commemoration of the First World War that will transform the city of Swansea for five days from 25 to 29 September 2018.

In an immersive two and half hour production, Rees will work with a stellar creative team to bring to life the epic poem ‘Y Gododdin/The Gododdin’, through a new immersive requiem scored by Morgan Roberts (realised from his original collaboration with the late Jóhann Jóhannsson) – featuring a libretto by Sheers – and sung by Polyphony, Stephen Layton’s world famous, twice Grammy nominated choir.

This theatrical experience will take visitors on an extraordinary journey through three narratives of war; from the beautiful Swansea Bay beach to discovering artistic treasures in the city’s iconic Brangwyn HallNawr Yr Arwr/ Now The Hero will take place within and around the Guildhall/Brangwyn Hall complex against the proactive backdrop of The British Empire Panels by Sir Frank Brangwyn RA (1867-1956), as the opening event of the 2018 Swansea International Festival.

Marc Rees said:

“Over the past number of years, I’ve discovered time and again that works of culture and creativity can open up not just buildings that have been closed for years but also communities. Now the Hero/Nawr YrArwr reflects Swansea’s rich history and sheds light on a somewhat neglected series of paintings with a tragic message in what promises to be a truly unique immersive experience. I can think of no better way to mark the final year of 14-18 NOW than to create a defining Welsh production, in poignant commemoration.”

Brangwyn’s idyllic fantastical landscape conceals a historical tragedy and the panels are a WWI memorial of great significance. This has inspired Marc Rees to create an epic, large scale site specific performance intertwining stories of conflict via a military offensive, a raucous wedding party, a protest dance and an ancient wake. Nawr Yr Arwr/Now the Hero explores stories of battle from three distinct periods of Welsh history; a medieval warrior, a World War One Private and a contemporary solider and counterpoints this telling with a sense of hope via a protagonist played by the formidable Welsh performer Eddie Ladd.

The contemporary solider will be played by David Williams, a Swansea-raised Captain of 2nd Battalion The Rifles. He has served in Afghanistan, Gabon, South Sudan and Iraq and studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In January 2018, Williams left the military and plans to retrain as a therapist and powerlifting instructor whilst becoming involved in the art community of Swansea.

Y Gododdin/ The Gododdin’ written by Aneurin in AD 600 is one of the oldest surviving Welsh works of poetry. The epic poem tells of the battle for Catraeth, in which almost 300 Celtic Warriors were killed. The poem was a major influence on the long poem ‘In Parenthesis’ by David Jones which reflected on the carnage he witness in World War One. Owen Sheers has cited the poem as inspiration for his previous work, ‘Pink Mist’.

Nawr Yr Arwr / Now The Hero is part of the Swansea International Festival and Visit Wales’ Year of the Sea. It has been part funded via the Visit Wales Tourism Product Innovation Fund

For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

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