To mark the centenary year of WWI, this spring, Theatr Brycheiniog will host The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh on the eve of a performance of a new play, which tells the story of the 38th Welsh Division.
The Wood, written specially to commemorate the centenary of World War I, is a tale of friendship, love and sacrifice set against the backdrop of a world in flames. The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh will display artefacts from their collection, and representatives will be on hand to discuss the exhibits and collect donations for the museum.
Based on an idea by the actor Ifan Huw Dafyddand inspired by a true story, The Wood charts an old man’s journey back to Mametz Wood to fulfil a promise he made to his best friend who lost his life alongside him during the infamous Battle of the Somme. The play is written by award winning Owen Thomas, whose last collaborative piece with Torch Theatre, Grav a one man show about the life of Ray Gravell, toured extensively and is about to embark on a stint on New York’s Broadway.
Peter Doran, Artistic Director of Torch Theatre, commented: ‘I commissioned Owen to write The Wood for the centenary of the end of the First World War, and I never imagined that we would end up with such a powerful, moving piece of theatre. It has a wonderful poetic feel to it and set to a fabulous original underscore by James Williams, it really is one to look out for.”
Writer Owen Thomas has a rich history with Brecon and Theatr Brycheiniog: ‘Having worked as a Technician at the Theatre 20 years ago while dreaming of becoming a playwright, I am thrilled that not only is The Wood visiting Theatr Brycheiniog as part of its tour, but also the poster is the cover of the brochure. As an ex-Gwernyfed student from Bronllys, I am thrilled that my latest play will be visiting Brecon as part of its National Tour.’
The Wood is a key piece in Theatr Brycheiniog’s Spring Season, and the theatre team was delighted to be approached by The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh to work together on the evening of the show to make it a true commemoration of those who fought in the 38th Welsh Division. Richard Davies, Curator of The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh, commented:
‘The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh felt it was very important to support The Wood, as the Regiments we are proud to represent fought in Mametz Wood. We must never forget the bravery of the men who saw action there, and it is entirely appropriate for the Museum to be represented at the Theatr on the night of the production.’
The 38th Welsh Division suffered heavy losses while driving German forces out of Mametz Wood – the first major offensive of World War I for many Welsh soldiers. The 38th Welsh Division paved the way for control of the woodland in northern France, and its capture was of key importance in the Battle of the Somme, where Allied forces would fight the Germans on a 15-mile front for five months. During a bloody five-day battle, 3,993 Welsh soldiers were killed, missing or injured, putting their division out of action for almost a year.
The Wood, a powerful yet poetic piece, will focus on the events during and after the attack on Mametz Wood and how it affected the lives of not only those who fought but also the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Set to an original underscore, The Wood is sure to be a very moving and emotional piece of theatre, and the presence of The Regimental Museum of The Royal Welsh will make the evening an occasion truly fit to remember the bravery and sacrifice of those who have inspired this new play.
- The Wood is at Theatr Brycheiniog on Thursday 8 March, 7.30pm. For further details or to book tickets, please visit brycheiniog.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01874 611622.