Bradley Manning play scoops three awards

First published in News

A play based on a fictional account of accused Wiki-Leaks whistleblower Bradley Manning’s early years in Pembrokeshire, and how he came to be where he is today, has scooped three Welsh critics’ awards.

National Theatre Wales’ production The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning won best director, best ensemble and best use of digital/online content at the Theatre Critics of Wales Awards last month.

The touring play, seen by members of Bradley’s family last April when it opened at Tasker Milward School in Haverfordwest, where Bradley was once a pupil, was a hit with critics for its innovative use of sound, lighting, staging, and technology and its aim to give audiences a taste of his experiences.

Playwright Tim Price interviewed a number of people who had known the soldier during his schooldays here in Pembrokeshire to get a feel for the boy behind the headlines.

At the time Price said in a blog: “This young soldier knows bus timetables around Haverfordwest. He knows the trials of schoolboy rugby and speaks rudimentary Welsh. Once I realised this, Bradley became more than a news story. We had things in common. So reading accounts of his torture in the Quantico Brig haunted me.

“While his treatment shocked me, his alleged actions thrilled me. If Bradley is guilty of uploading the information to WikiLeaks, then he has courageously reminded us that not only is finance, religion, media, manufacturing and politics transnational, but so is our morality.”

During the play all six members of the ensemble (Matthew Aubrey, Harry Ferrier, Gwawr Loader, Kyle Rees, Anjana Vasan and Sion Daniel Young) took on the role of Bradley, who still has family in the county, at various points.

Director John McGrath was honoured in the director category and National Theatre Wales, Native HQ and Tom Beardshaw took the digital award for the production.

The play also picked up nominations in the categories for best production in the English language and the Writers’ Guild Playwright Award, for Tim Price.

❏ The Torch Theatre in Milford Haven had two productions recognised with nominations at the awards.

Actress Helen Griffin was nominated for best female performance in the English language, for her leading role in the critically acclaimed Who’s Afraid of Rachel Roberts?, which performed to sell-out audiences last spring. And a co-production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream by the Torch, Theatr Mwldan and Mappa Mundi, directed by the Torch’s artistic director Peter Doran, received two nominations: best ensemble and best use of digital online.

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