Gethin Evans, Artistic Director of Frân Wen on the 2024 Summer/Autumn programme

June 8, 2024 by


I am thrilled to share Frân Wen’s 2024 Summer/Autumn programme, which is spearheaded by a unique storytelling trilogy based on the mythical Arianrhod from the Mabinogi, a fabulous new musical from Seiriol Davies alongside a variety of new commissioning and development opportunities for artists of all experiences.


Building on Wales’ reputation for site-specific practice, co-creation and innovative storytelling, I’m genuinely excited to be working with some of Wales’ most daring and experienced artists alongside the next generation of storytellers to continue to discover what Welsh theatre is and can be today.


In September the OLION trilogy will unfold in three distinct formats: a live theatre show bringing together visceral choreography by Anthony Matsena with formidable story and text by Angharad Elen, a site-specific production that includes a community open-air event across the streets of Bangor led by Marc Rees and a digital short film. Each part can be enjoyed in isolation, but if you come along for the whole ride you’ll go on one hell of a journey.


We have been developing the world of OLION over the last 18 months through a creative collaboration with GISDA, a charity supporting young people, which explored real-life experiences of underrepresented young people from North West Wales. This process has been a wild, wonderful and enlightening ride of workshops, residencies and a trip to NYC to collaborate with another group of young people with similar lived experiences.


Part one is a rich, surprising and harrowing story that reimagines the drowning of Caer Arianrhod (Arianrhod’s fortress). Alive with hedonism, sex and spirituality, Arianrhod and her tribe of runaways prepare for a solar eclipse that promises to leave the pain of war behind. But in that moment of complete darkness when the moon crosses the sun’s path, she endures unspeakable violence and betrayal which triggers a supernatural storm to protect her descendants.


Part two sees one of Bangor’s public parks transformed into a free open-air community festival. Scenes will unfold throughout the day across Bangor as dramatic confrontations and a thrilling rescue transforms the festival into a celebration of difference, the acceptance of grief and the triumph of joy.


Part Three concludes the trilogy with an epilogue short film that offers an intimate insight into the life of an ordinary family from Bangor. In a surreal journey through time they learn that their past is deeply intertwined with their present.


These artists are cooking up something very exciting that will take the fierce character of Arianrhod from the depths of the Mabinogi to the present day. I really look forward to sharing more casting and production details over the coming months!




In August we’ll welcome Seiriol Davies back to the Frân Wen fold with his latest creation, Corn Gwlad.


A co-production with Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru, this funny and fabulous Welsh language queer musical will perform at this year’s National Eisteddfod in Pontypridd.


Set in the 1924 Eisteddfod in Pontypool, it recounts the crowning of poet Prosser Rhys for his poem which details his sexual relationship… with another man! A scandal on the maes!


This all-singing, some-dancing journey re-enacts that fateful ceremony from 100 years ago… but with much more teleporting, spooky ghosts, glitter, really cute bed sheets, chunky jewellery and ferrets.


Some of you may know that we moved into our new home, Nyth, last year.


The old Grade II listed church in Bangor has been transformed into a lab for artists and communities to experiment, collaborate and create bold work that offer audiences new experiences whilst being truly rooted in the community we are proudly a part of.




The next phase of our Artist Development programmes has mentoring, network building and paid skill development and commissioning opportunities.


Take a look, get inspired and go for it!


Our door is always open as well, so if you have any questions about these opportunities please do get in touch.


The first of these opportunities is Your Radical Teenager, a commissioning opportunity for artists with 20+ years experience who want to reconnect with their radical teenager, break free from artistic constraints and embrace their truest, most radical selves.


Following our last collaboration with the Eisteddfod – which led to the sell out tour Croendena by Mared Llywelyn and our co-production with the Sherman last year of Imrie by Nia Morais – we have partnered once again for a brand new development programme. This time, we are looking to connect, develop and commission productions for festivals and outdoor work. This includes a paid commission to develop an idea that will culminate in a fringe production for the 2026 festival.


Space & Time is a scheme that offers creative spaces and one-to-one professional guidance, MICS is a new creative network for freelance artists in North Wales, and Sgratsh social events that double up as a platform for artists to share their work in progress.




Over the past year our Young Company has flourished. Following on from our three established companies for various age groups, Young Company: Tech will be launched over the coming weeks.


This new group will provide opportunities for young people to work closely with the industry’s best backstage experts to develop technical lighting, sound and stage skills.




Following similar past projects in Nefyn, Bala and Dolgellau, Fa’ma will bring the streets of Bethesda alive this summer as we invite audiences to experience the rural town through the eyes of its young people. Work is already underway as the young people of Bethesda are collaborating with artists to create their own perspective of where they live.


As we usher in this season of opportunities and creativity, we hope you’ll join us on this exciting journey where every performance is an adventure, every story a revelation, and every moment a celebration of the vibrant spirit that defines Welsh theatre.

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