Instagram-Post-Soldier-BlueBooking is now available for Nawr Yr Arwr/Now the Hero from pre-eminent Welsh interdisciplinary artist Marc Rees (P.A.R.A.D.E., {150}, Tir Sir Gâr, Raw Material: Llareggub Revisted). This site specific theatrical experience will take visitors on an extraordinary journey through three narratives of war; from the beautiful Swansea Bay beach to discovering artistic treasures in the city’s iconic Brangwyn Hall. Tickets are available for purchase here: /

The Requiem was originally commissioned from twice Oscar-nominated Jóhann Jóhannsson, who described the project as ‘inspiring, amazing and powerful’. Tragically, he passed away in February this year and the performed work  will be composed by his creative collaborator, Owen Morgan Roberts, with a libretto by Welsh writer Owen Sheers (MametzThe Passion) and sung by Polyphony, Stephen Layton’s world famous, twice Grammy-nominated choir.

Marc Rees said “The passing of my friend and collaborator Jóhann Jóhannsson has been devastating, on a personal level as well as to the cultural world as a whole. During a visit to Swansea Jóhann and Owen spent hours playing and recording the Brangwyn Hall organ, which Jóhann said was like ‘diving into a beautiful beast’ and is a memory which will stay with me.  The brilliant Owen Roberts has taken on the mantle and will complete the collaboration and compose the Requiem. We hope this piece will now also act as a poignant commemoration of  Jóhann and his great talent.

Now the Hero/Nawr Yr Arwr reflects Swansea’s rich history and sheds light on a somewhat neglected series of paintings with a tragic message in what promises to be a truly unique immersive experience. I can think of no better way to mark the final year of 14-18 NOW than to create a defining Welsh contribution.”

This ambitious project will be a highlight of Wales’ programme for the final year of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary. Nawr Yr Arwr/Now The Hero will take place within and around the Guildhall/Brangwyn Hall complex against the proactive backdrop of The British Empire Panels by Sir Frank Brangwyn RA (1867-1956), as the opening event of the 2018 Swansea International Festival, the festival’s 70th anniversary.

On 30th May, Jasper Rees will chair a discussion on Nawr Yr Arwr/Now the Hero with Marc Rees, Owen Morgan Roberts, Owen Griffiths and Owen Sheers at Hay Festival. More information on this event can be found here:

Brangwyn’s idyllic fantastical landscape conceals a historical tragedy and the panels are a WWI memorial of great significance. This has inspired Marc Rees to create an epic, large scale site-specific performance intertwining stories of conflict via a military offensive, a raucous wedding party, a protest dance and an ancient wake. Nawr Yr Arwr/Now the Hero explores stories of battle from three distinct periods of Welsh history, following a medieval warrior, a World War One Private and a contemporary soldier and counterpointing this telling with a sense of hope via a protagonist played by the formidable Welsh performer Eddie Ladd.

The contemporary soldier will be played by David Williams, a Swansea-raised Captain of 2nd Battalion The Rifles. He has served in Afghanistan, Gabon, South Sudan and Iraq and studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. In January 2018, Williams left the military and plans to retrain as a therapist and powerlifting instructor whilst becoming involved in the art community of Swansea.

The British Empire Panels, by artist Sir Frank Brangwyn, were commissioned by the House of Lords to commemorate World War One but were deemed ‘too colourful and lively’ to be appropriate. With Brangwyn’s paternal Welsh connections, the city of Swansea offered a home for these remarkable pieces of art and they have formed the focal point of The Brangwyn Hall since 1934.

‘Y Gododdin/The Gododdin’ written by Aneurin in AD 600 is one of the oldest surviving Welsh works of poetry. The epic poem tells of the battle for Catraeth, in which almost 300 Celtic Warriors were killed. The poem was a major influence on the long poem ‘In Parenthesis’ by David Jones which reflected on the carnage he witness in World War One. Owen Sheers has cited the poem as inspiration for his previous work, ‘Pink Mist’.

Nawr Yr Arwr/Now The Hero is part of the Swansea International Festival and Visit Wales’ Year of the Sea. It has been part funded via the Visit Wales Tourism Product Innovation Fund.

Nawr Yr Arwr/Now The Hero is commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, with support from the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.  The show is being produced by Taliesin Arts Centre and Swansea University  with the generous support of Swansea Council, Swansea International Festival, Arts Council of Wales, Welsh Government and the Colwinston Charitable Trust. The project is also funded via the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund which aims to encourage new innovative product ideas working in partnership which will have a greater impact and attract more visitors to Wales.

Tickets for Now The Hero can be purchased by visiting The Swansea Grand  or calling the Box Office on 01792 475 715