2023: New play from Illumine Theatre

August 1, 2018 by

Illumine Theatre will be premiering its new show, 2023, based on 2005 changes to sperm donor laws. 

Written by Lisa Parry and directed by Zoë Waterman, 2023 will be the company’s first production.

It will run at Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre 3 to 13, October 2018.

Illumine Theatre is a collaboration between Cardiff playwright Lisa and award-winning director Zoë, and the company makes theatre with new writing at its core.

The creative team will also include highly-regarded Lighting Designer Eleanor Higgins and Sound Designer Ed Lewis, whose recent work includes Killer Joe in the West End.

Stephanie Back, Tom Blumberg and Richard Elis will make up the cast of 2023. 

Deaf actress Stephanie Backplays Mary. She has recently worked with companies such as Taking Flight Theatre Company, Handprint Theatre, PAD (Positive about Deafness) Productions and Screenology. She is extremely passionate about access and inclusion and has recently received an #IAmEmbolden award celebrating D/deaf and disabled women in Wales.

Cardiff’s own Tom Blumberg plays John. A familiar face to viewers of S4C soap Rownd a Rownd, his recent theatre work includes Slip Stones, La ou Volent Les Fueilles and Penbobi Hapus (AradGoch), Just Jump and The Amazing Adventures of Wallace and Bates (Theatr Na’nog), Mimosa and Somewhere in England (Theatr Clwyd), Eyes Closed, Ears Covered (The Bunker Theatre) and The Big City (Cockpit Theatre).

Richard Elis, who plays Chris, trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Richard started his on-screen career with the character Huw Edwards in EastEnders for the BBC. He has since gone on to appear in many television programmes. His theatre work includes Y Fenyw Ddaeth o’r Môr (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru), Cynnau Tan (Sherman Cymru), Bedroom Farce (New Wolsey Theatre), Measure for Measure, Two Princes, Hobson’s Choice, Word For Word, Hard Times and Accidental Death of an Anarchist (Theatr Clwyd Cymru).

2023 is based in Cardiff, in the year 2023 when a law passed in Westminster in 2005 has just come into force. Children told they were born from donated eggs or sperm, upon turning 18, are now entitled to know the identity of their donor parent. 2023 has been developed with support from academics and researchers in the fields of gamete donation and D/deafness.

Playwright Lisa Parry said; “2023 is the story of what happens when an 18 year old in Cardiff meets her sperm donor dad and the impact of this meeting on her, him and his partner. 2023 is the first time such a meeting can take place in the UK, following a law change in 2005.

 “I remember reading about the change and it piquing my interest. I was sat upstairs in a pub theatre and circled a tiny news story about it. I then started following developments in the field – the ethical conundrums around donation, selection and how much, if anything, children should be told. We’ve worked with several experts and created something I really believe is exciting and relevant. I can’t wait for people see it!”

Each performance of 2023 will be captioned. There will also be a performance which includes BSL interpretation on the 11th of October.

Lisa Parry’s work has been staged by leading new writing theatre companies including: National Theatre Wales, Dirty Protest, The Miniaturists, PopUp Theatrics (NYC), The Internationalists (NYC), Sherman Cymru and Agent 160 Theatre. She is a graduate of Sherman Cymru’s advanced writing group and holds an MPhil in Playwriting Studies from The University of Birmingham. Lisa has also spoken widely on theatre, gender and the relationship between theatre and science, notably giving a talk at TEDx, Cardiff in 2017.

Director ZoëWaterman was the recipient of the New Wimbledon Theatre’s Emerging Directors Award 2007. Her recent theatre directing work includes: Table, Playhouse Creatures, The Kitchen Sink (New Vic Theatre, Stoke on Trent); The Rubenstein Kiss, Amy’s View and After Miss Julie (Nottingham Playhouse); Remarkable Invisible, The Vertical Hour, Enlightenment and Shining City (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick); The Bogus Woman (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick and UK tour); Sleeping Beauty (Theatr Clwyd); Swan Song: An Evening of Music and Song (The Swan, Royal Shakespeare Company); The Promise (New Wimbledon Theatre Studio).

2023is funded by Arts Council Wales, the Unity Theatre Trust and is generously supported by Chapter Arts.


By: Lisa Parry

Director: Zoë Waterman


Chapter Arts Centre

3 – 13 October 2018
Evening performances 7.30pm

Afternoon performances 2.30pm (6 + 13 October)

Tickets: £8 / £10 / £12

chapter.org / 029 2030 4400



BSL interpretation:11 October / Hydref

Post show talks:
5 October: Science and Ethics in ‘2023’

11 October: Talk with cast and creatives (BSL interpreted)

Leave a Reply