Saturday night saw Peter Doran, Artistic Director of the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven being awarded the Best Director Award at the Wales Theatre Awards 2017 held at the Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University. These awards recognise excellence in theatre, dance and opera created and presented in Wales.
Peter was awarded Best Director for directing of Belonging/Perthyn from Re:Live, which deals with the very human issue of dementia and as a bilingual work explored how language changes in a person with this condition. In the play, the actor Llion Williams, slowly lost the ability to speak English and returned to his native first language Welsh.
Peter said: “It’s fantastic to win an award like this but especially with a play like ‘Belonging’. Dementia is such a massive subject to deal with and if we have been able to help people understand more or even cope better, then that is the real success of this production.”
And it was a hugely successful night for Belonging, with actor Llion Williams winning the Best Male Performance (English Language) for his role in the bilingual play in association with Chapter and the Torch Theatre.
Wales Theatre Awards director Mike Smith said: “These three awards demonstrate the growth in bilingual theatre in Wales, reflecting the very special relationship between the two languages in the nation. More and more shows are bilingual and there is also much imaginative work being carried out in the Welsh language theatre to make work accessible for English only speakers.”
The nominations were made by 40 critics throughout Wales, working in English and in Welsh and for print, broadcast and online platforms. Between them they have made 830 nominations. These nominations were for 281 separate artists, 157 shows from 89 companies.
Mike Smith added: “The Awards are made possible thanks to the work of the judges who painstakingly assess all of the nominations to choose the shortlists and then overall winners, and the generous sponsorship from arts organisations, venues and individuals. This sponsorship also enables the Wales Critics Fund to give financial support to freelance and young critics to attend performances across the nation. In its first two years, the Fund has supported more than 500 reviews across Wales.”