Amidst all the lockdown woes and uncertainty within our South Wales venues last year, one of the real gems to come out of the Wales Millennium Centre was THE BOY WITH TWO HEARTS. It was a show which seemed to sneak under the radar of the pandemic and have a run in the Weston Studio prior to another period of venue closures.

It seems there couldn’t have been anything more appropriate, as the story itself is about a family who managed to sneak under the radar of the Taliban and make the arduous, and sometimes life threatening journey to Cardiff, where they settled and now call home.

The play, which began life as a best selling book, is a true-life tale of a family, their love for their country and basic human rights. But it soon becomes a fight for freedom, a race against time, and five people who are determined to stick together, no matter what obstacles and challenges they face, and believe me the Amiri family have faced more than their fair share.

You can see our original feature and interview with writer HAMED AMIRI right HERE.

The fantastic news for this year is that the Wales Millennium Centre’s acclaimed stage adaptation of The Boy with Two Hearts will return to Cardiff’s Dance House 12-17 September, before transferring to the National Theatre in London for a six-week run at the Dorfman. This will mark Wales Millennium Centre’s debut on the National Theatre’s stage.

Directed by Amit Sharma, The Boy with Two Hearts was adapted for the stage by Phil Porter from the book of the same name by brothers Hamed and Hessam Amiri. You can watch an interview with them as they talk about the process of making this incredible story come to life HERE.

It tells the incredible true story of the Amiri family’s treacherous journey from Afghanistan and across Europe to the UK as they fled the Taliban in 2000. Thrown into an unfamiliar world of fake passports and untrustworthy handlers, the Amiris had to learn to live with nothing and avoid capture at all costs. Hamed’s elder brother, Hussein, had a life-threatening heart condition which made the journey all the more critical, and the play serves as a love letter to the NHS who treated him when the Amiris settled in Cardiff.

The original cast of Afghan performers will return to their roles, including Shamail Ali, Dana Haqjoo, Farshid Rokey, Ahmad Sakhi and Géhane Strehler as well as the award-winning Afghan vocalist and composer, Elaha Soroor.

Wales Millennium Centre’s The Boy with Two Hearts was originally performed at the Centre’s Weston Studio in October 2021. It was WMC’s first production when it opened following the pandemic, to critical acclaim both locally and nationally.

Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre told us…….

“Hamed first told his family’s story to us over three years ago and wondered how, and if, Wales Millennium Centre could support his ambition to tell it on stage. We are incredibly proud that the innovative production borne of that story was not only performed to rapturous responses in sold out shows last year, but that we can share it again with more people here in Wales and in London this year.

This is a Welsh story and an Afghan story which deserves as wide an audience as possible, particularly as the number of people fleeing violence and persecution rises across the globe. We can’t wait for this next exciting stage in the journey of The Boy with Two Hearts.”

Hamed Amiri said……..

“When this production was first staged, I was very excited and emotional to not only see my family’s journey come to life on stage, but also to relive those many precious moments we had along the way. I was amazed by the reaction from audiences and critics as they experienced those moments with me. Now it’s reaching an even bigger audience, I’m over the moon and can’t wait to share my story again.”

To be able to move from one iconic setting like the Wales Millennium Centre, to another hallowed, and much loved theatre such as the National, is an incredible achievement. To be able to spend six weeks there too is something the entire team should be rightly proud of.

Rufus Norris, Director of the National Theatre said……..

“We’re delighted to be welcoming the company of The Boy with Two Hearts to the National Theatre. After last year’s acclaimed run in Cardiff, it only felt right that Wales Millennium Centre’s deeply moving production of a remarkable story was shown to a wider audience and alongside our colleagues in Cardiff we worked to make that ambition a reality. We’re honoured to be welcoming the production to our Dorfman theatre this coming October.”

Dorfman Theatre

THE BOY WITH TWO HEARTS returns to the Wales Millennium centre in the Dance Studio from the 12th to 17th September with 7:30pm performances and a 2:30pm matinee on Saturday 17th. You can find out more, and get tickets HERE.

It then moves into the National Theatre in London in the Dorfman Theatre for a really good long run from 1st October through to 12 November. Performances again are at 7:30pm with Saturday and Wednesday matinee performances at 2:30pm. All the details you need for the National are HERE.

The original stage production of The Boy with Two Hearts was made possible through the generous support of the Garfield Weston Culture Fund, Peter and Jan Swinburn and Bob and Lindsay Clark. Wales Millennium Centre are deeply grateful for the continued support of its community, which extends the reach of this important story, and especially to Peter and Jan Swinburn and Bob and Lindsay Clark who have continued their support for the run at the National Theatre.