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National Theatre Wales and Quarantine create new show exploring multilingualism and identity

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

NATIONAL Theatre Wales and Quarantine are working together for the first time to stage a brand-new show. Entitled English, it runs at Cardiff’s Dance House from June 14 to June 24 as part of Festival of Voice 2018.

English invites its audience into a conversation with performer Jonny Cotsen (Louder Is Not Always Clearer), inspired by language lessons and conversations with migrants in Wales and across the UK who learn English, whether for business, for pleasure, to study or for survival.

Described as a joyous, intimate, provocative encounter, English asks how language shapes us all, and what happens to our sense of self when we learn a new language, and don’t really know how to say who we are.

This exuberant A to Z of language and identity – made in bilingual Wales, but with a global perspective – will pull apart pop songs, tear grammar to pieces and invite all the languages in the room to be heard.

Director Richard Gregory is an artist based in Manchester. He has been co-Artistic Director (with Renny O’Shea) of Quarantine since 1998 and has developed a distinctive practice around both intimate and epic responses to everyday life and the commonplace. For Quarantine, he has directed or co-directed 26 projects and productions.

Currently a Visiting Fellow at Northumbria University, Gregory was Associate Director at Contact, Manchester (1991-1995) and Northern Stage, Newcastle upon Tyne (1995-1998), and Associate Artist at Leicester Haymarket Theatre (2002-2003). He recently directed What Is the City but the People?, the opening event for Manchester International Festival 2017.

Performer Jonny Cotsen was born in Cardiff, a profoundly deaf man in a hearing world. Cotsen is a qualified graphic designer and teacher but has left his professional career to develop himself as a performance artist, drama facilitator and consultant for inclusion in the arts. He also runs inclusive drama workshops and training for people with and without disabilities, and is a trustee for Disability Arts Cymru.

His performing credits include: solo show Louder Is Not Always Clearer (Mr & Mrs Clark, touring), Ways Of Being Together (Jo Fong), Cardiff: City Road Stories (Sherman Theatre) and Confessions (Theatre Versus Oppression).

Tickets: £11.25 – £15. To book, call the box office on 029 2037 1689 or visit www.nationaltheatrewales.org/english.

Times: June 14 – 16 and June 20 – 24 at 7pm; June 17 and June 23 at 2pm.

The Dance House, Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Place, Cardiff Bay, CF10