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NTW & Sherman Theatre Present NEW:2020’s Ripples Online

1 May 2020

Filed Under:

Production and Design


National Theatre Wales + Sherman Theatre in partnership with BBC Cymru Wales + BBC Arts

Saturday 2 May, 7pm
by Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in collaboration with Sherman Theatre

Ripples has a NEW life!

One of the four plays from NEW:2020, which was due to be performed this Spring, Ripples has been re-imagined and recorded using the original RWCMD cast, and will be available free online for two weeks from Saturday.

Ripples, originally created in partnership with Sherman Theatre, is the first play in the new National Theatre Wales + Sherman Theatre Network Play Readings initiative, in collaboration with BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Arts, to showcase the talent of playwrights, companies and creatives across Wales.


by Tracy Harris, directed by Matthew Holmquist, in collaboration with Sherman Theatre

Sometimes there are no safe spaces

Eight strangers join an online rehab group to confront, revisit and replay the traumas of their past. How can they re-connect with themselves and each other in a world so disconnected?

Tracy Harris’ intense play compassionately explores what leads us to seek help.

“I think Tracy (the writer) said to me when we started this process that she feels that we’re living in a broken world right now which I 100% agree with,” said director Matthew Holmquist on the process of creating Ripples. “The play stemmed from that because we wanted to explore how we as a society learn to live in what we perceive as a broken world.”

Ripples was due to be performed in Cardiff and London’s Gate Theatre as part of RWCMD’s ground-breaking annual New Writing festival. We talked to director Matthew during rehearsals earlier this year, and took photos of the cast who were able to perform the play, alongside their fellow actors as part of an impromptu mini-festival on one of the last days before lockdown.

Creating Ripples Online

For this new performance the play has been adapted and brought bang up-to-date, so that the characters are actually in lockdown.

“I’m so pleased that Ripples is having a performance,” said final year actor Luke Nunn who plays Joseph. “It’s very different and a challenge at times because it’s uncharted territory in some respects, but it is still a tonne of fun being with the cast and reinventing it.”

Luke in rehearsal for Ripples

“We’re all glad the setting can be adapted to go online. There are a few script moments that had to be tweaked slightly but we are treating it as though we are still all at the therapy centre and that our characters are having to stay in their rooms because of the lockdown. We thought it would make sense to acknowledge what is actually happening now rather than ignoring it.

I think the standard of NEW 2020 was unreal and I really really hope the other plays can move forward in some way and have an opportunity to be seen.”

Fellow actor Shannen McNeice, who plays Brodie, as seen in the featured image, adds, “Working on Ripples in an online setting was weird, wonderful and such a massive learning experience.
It was a challenge to try and bring our characters to life via Zoom and piece together the connections of the characters in an isolated way, but it worked and I think it is incredible.

I am so thankful to RWCMD, Sherman Theatre and everyone involved for pushing us as actors and giving us this platform. NEW season is such an important season of shows because it highlights so many new talents, from writing, directing, acting etc. I’m very proud to be a RWCMD student during all of this.”

Director Matthew adds, “For me, making a play about people dealing with addiction, it has to be treated with sensitivity and real research so we spent a lot of the process doing research.

Two members of Recovery Cymru came in to talk to us very openly about their experience of addiction and their process of recovery and it was interesting just how open they are and how comfortable they are to say really, really quite heavy things and quite intense things.

I think for the students it was an amazing experience because it puts things into perspective, you know at the end of the day, we are making a play but we’re dealing with very, very real-world things and actually to be able to see that in the room in front of them and to try and bring what they see to their characters, was really useful.”

A new soundscape for the play has been commissioned from graduate and Sound Designer Tic Ashfield. 


How to watch: Ripples will be performed and streamed live on Saturday 2 May via the AM website and the link will be clearly posted on the in advance, and across all of NTW social media platforms.

You can watch the play until 16th May, when the next NTW Network Play Reading performance will take place.

Please note that Ripples is suitable for ages 18+ and the show contains themes of an adult nature, and strong language.

The original play commission as part of NEW:2020 was supported by Sean Mathias and the Spielman Charitable Trust

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