National Theatre Wales is partnering with Welsh-language theatre company Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre on an initiative aiming to re-imagine live performance during lockdown.
Network is described as a digital programme of opportunities for theatremakers, allowing them to connect with each other and audiences, and provide “crucial employment opportunities”.
BBC Arts and BBC Cymru Wales have also joined the project as its commissioning and digital partners, agreeing to broadcast play readings and new commissions that are created in response to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Lorne Campbell, NTW artistic director, said he wanted to offer Wales’ theatremakers opportunities to “work, collaborate and create” and for audiences and communities to access moments of connection during isolation.
He said: “It’s imperative for us to continue to create employment opportunities for artists at this time of uncertainty and vulnerability. It’s also our duty to continue to provide our audiences the experience of great theatre – theatre that tells stories.
“We’re a company that can share our resources, our expertise and our networks to service audiences, communities and theatremakers of Wales alike. We are fortunate to have a great family here at National Theatre Wales and I’m proud to be leading the team to offer new and innovative ways to create and collaborate during this period of national and global crisis.”
Network comprises two key projects. NTW will work with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru on an open call for artists to make “live theatre in digital spaces” that it said would enable audiences to come together while being kept apart.
The company is also collaborating with the Sherman Theatre and a range of independent companies and artists to produce 12 play readings that will showcase Welsh theatre talent. It will fund directors, actors and designers to deliver the readings and provide a platform for new Welsh work as well as contemporary classic titles that have not yet been performed in Wales.
NTW has also revealed plans to connect industry professionals in Wales with new graduates, and will facilitate digital meetings and advice sessions between Welsh industry professionals, such as companies, casting directors and agents, and young people embarking on their careers.