Bilingualism - The ruination of Welsh theatre

Tim Price, 15 September 2012

A slightly tongue in cheek provocation sparked plenty of debate.

The current runaway success of Llwyth was discussed at length and held up as an example of the best of Welsh language theatre. Discussion centred on the writer being encouraged to write the story in Welsh rather than English.

Discussion centred on Theatre Gen's tradition of translating English classics and if there should be a place for that in Welsh language theatre. Welsh language audiences tend to be older and therefore more conservative.

Attending Welsh language theatre has a political element - it is an act that helps preserve the language. There is a sense of obligation within the Welsh speaking community to attend all shows in Welsh, rather than the shows that spark an interest.

The question of being one small nation with two National theatres was raised. The point was made that, ideas of nation are fluid and ever changing and national theatres and institutions will always reflect that. Wales is a united country divided by language.

The group discussed why so much welsh language theatre is so bad, which meant that when Llwyth was produced the community was so starved of good work it fuelled a 2 year run of the show.

Theatr Gen takes nearly all of its plays out of Wales. Perhaps NTW could follow suit.


language, Welsh, Theatr, Llwyth, divide, NTW, Gen