You have to feel for the entire team at the Wales Millennium Centre production of ANTHEM. Unfortunately, due to Covid within the company, all performances of the show back in March had to be postponed. The good news is, everything is now back on track with dates in the diary and it’s on right now through till Saturday 30th July.
After a fantastic 2021 (despite the restrictions) the Wales Millennium Centre turned out some incredible productions (The Boy With Two Hearts and XXXMas Carol). Their first production of 2022, ANTHEM, is an original comedy musical that follows the nation’s largest television singing competition.
Four regions. Four songs. One prize. With the land of song judging from their sofas, who will come out on top?
A top creative team has assembled to create this brand new production – Llinos Mai is the author, who has co-composed the songs and music with Dan Lawrence; Alice Eklund is directing and Roger Williams as a dramatist.
Performed in Welsh at the Centre’s Weston Studio, Anthem is a love letter to the land of song, but with a tongue tight in its cheek. Anthem will be suitable for Welsh learners and fluent Welsh speakers alike, with subtitles running throughout each performance.
The cast include GWYDION RHYS as the host of the show Tudur. Leon (LESTYN ARWEL) represents the South region in the competition. Esyllt (LILY BEAU CONWAY) is one half of Anthem’s brother-sister duo who represent the West region in the final with Eifion (GARETH ELIS), the other half of the brother-sister duo from West Wales. Teleri (RHIAN MORGAN), is the Anthem finalist representing the East region in the competition. And Gerard (RHYS AP TREFOR), the Anthem finalist representing the North region.
Finally there’s Megs (LEILAH HUGHES), an inexperienced production assistant who gets pulled in last-minute to work on Anthem.
The show marks 10 years since the Wales Millennium Centre staged their own first show – Ma’ Bili’n Bwrw’r Bronco, a Welsh adaption of Decky Does a Bronco; which was first performed at the Centre in July 2012.
Watch the drama and hilarity unfold – both on and off air – as the finalists from every corner of Wales get ready to compete to bring the title home. Are they longing for fame? Acceptance? Or just another trophy for Mam’s dresser?
With the new production, we actually get to be in the studio for the live final of ANTHEM, the nation’s biggest TV singing competition. There will be wind machines. There will be key changes. There will be plenty of arguments on Twitter.
Anthem author Llinos Mai told us…….
“Anthem is a show full of comedy, songs and a love of Welsh culture and music. Quite simply, I’ve created the kind of show we’d love to see in the theatre!
I am delighted to work with Wales Millennium Centre to create Anthem, which is such an ambitious Welsh show. It’s going to be a fun evening and we all deserve that at the moment.”
Llinos is a comedy writer, who’s work you may already know. She’s a songwriter and performer and is best known as the creator of The Harri-Parris shows. She has written and performed in two stage shows (The Leaving Do and The Big Day) as well as three series of The Harri-Parris Radio Show for BBC Radio Wales.
The show Director Alice Eklund is a multi-disciplinary artist based in Cardiff who predominantly works as a theatre director and dramaturg on women-led new writing for plays and musicals. She is currently the Literary Associate at the Sherman Theatre. She is also the founder of BolSHE, a women-led creative collective, platforming and celebrating the voices of creative Welsh women.
Alice told us……
“I’m really excited to be staging Anthem – there will be many elements coming together to create this show; original songs and script, film and digital work, together with the traditional elements of theatre with a shiny and flashy twist!
It’s been a privilege to work with Llinos on this piece, it’s a great opportunity to show how important Welsh voices are and not to underestimate the caliber of the Welsh scene. It’s ambitious and fresh, and it promises to be a night to remember.”
As with previous shows, Anthem will make us feel part of the whole experience.
Producer Branwen Jones told us…….
“This is an example of Wales Millennium Centre’s commitment to creating contemporary work, rooted in the specific culture of Wales. And at a time when we’re longing to celebrate the Welsh community and spirit, this is the perfect production for us to stage.
I’m sure audiences will be thrilled with the talents of the creative team, the catchy songs and the characteristics of the over-the-top characters familiar to us all. It’s such a privilege to announce Anthem; the first of our own productions in 2022.”
The cast are right on the thick of rehearsals for the show, and clearly are having a fantastic time putting it all together for us, as you can see from the images below.
ANTHEM is at the the Wales Millennium Centre in the Weston Studio right now, running through to Saturday 30th July. Evening performances are at 8pm, with a 2:30pm show on both Saturdays and this Sunday. For more information and tickets go HERE.