National Theatre Wales and Royal Court Theatre have announced that a site-specific installation will be created in the upper Swansea Valley bringing to life the world of their new play, On Bear Ridge. Audiences at the Sherman Theatre Cardiff and the Royal Court London will also be able to experience this through a VR film that will be available to watch at both theatres making the landscape of the play accessible in the centre of these busy cities.
Written by Ed Thomas On Bear Ridge is a semi-autobiographical story about the places we leave behind, the indelible marks they make on us, and the unreliable memories we hold onto. It will be co-directed by Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone and Ed Thomas. The cast is Rakie Ayola, Jason Hughes, Rhys Ifans and Sion Daniel Young.
National Theatre Wales and the Royal Court Theatre are working with Ed Thomas and the On Bear Ridge creative team to create the outdoor, site-specific installations that will coincide with the opening of the play in Cardiff. The installations will be constructed on Penwyllt in the upper Swansea Valley, close to Thomas’ childhood home. They can be experienced in person by visiting the site in Wales or through a VR experience created in collaboration with Film and VR production company Cuckoo Nest.
The installations will temporarily exist in the landscape as fragmented remains of what was once there – a collection of lost things, half-forgotten sounds and memories, slowly sinking back into earth and rock. They will offer visitors glimpses of a vanished world, allowing them to digitally listen at a door and hear whispered voices, half-truths and unfinished stories from a way of life grown silent. A story that was never told. An act of remembering the forgotten.
On Bear Ridge will run at the Sherman Theatre in Cardiff (20 September – 5 October) followed by the Royal Court in London (24 October – 23 November).