Sherman Theatre to stream new Welsh play The Merthyr Stigmatist

Last Updated on 8 June 2021 by Showcall Editorial Team

The Merthyr Stigmatist by Lisa Parry is to receive its digital world premiere as a fully staged production by Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre

Merthyr Stigmatist Sherman Theatre
Bethan McLean and Bethan Mary-James. Photo: Mark Douet

Lisa Parry’s new play, The Merthyr Stigmatist, at Cardiff’s Sherman Theatre is to debut as a fully staged digital production.

Filmed in the Sherman Theatre Studio, it will be available on demand from 27 May to 12 June (*now extended to the 26 June*), with tickets at £7.50 in a co-production with Theatre Uncut.

It marks the professional debut of Bethan McLean, who was born and raised in Merthyr Tydfil where the action is set. She plays Carys, a 16-year-old who claims to have received the wounds of Christ. Her teacher, Siân, played by Bethan Mary-James, is not so sure. Filled with doubt, Siân believes silencing Carys will keep her safe, but can she make sense of what is happening to her young pupil?

The show is directed by Theatre Uncut’s co-artistic director Emma Callander, working with designer Elin Steele, composer Eädyth, sound designer Ian Barnard, lighting designer Andy Pike and assistant director Carli De’La Hughes.

Parry said: “Theatre’s starting to come back but we’re coming back into a very different world. Whose stories should we now be telling? Who gets to tell them? At its heart is the voice of a girl in an overlooked town, desperately wanting to be heard and valued. And as theatre ghost lights remained switched on, I felt her voice was at risk of being muffled and yet it kept screaming relentlessly in my head.

“I’m really proud to be working with Theatre Uncut and the Sherman Theatre who’ve decided to embrace this new world with this production, which – whilst I promise some comedy and I absolutely adore both characters more than I can say – does feel at times like a gauntlet and a plea to think about whose voices we listen to and who we choose to be.”

The Merthyr Stigmatist was originally scheduled to be staged at the Sherman Theatre last year as part of artistic director Joe Murphy’s first season after it was shortlisted for the inaugural Theatre Uncut Political Playwriting Award.

Murphy said: “I am so delighted to finally be able to share Lisa’s important play with our audiences. We always intended to stage this co-production with Theatre Uncut in front of live audiences in our Studio.

“However, as the months have passed and as restrictions continue, we felt that it was essential to be able to give our audiences a fully staged production and the kind of thought-provoking, powerful experience they have come to expect from us to enjoy at home, on demand.

“This timely play about the need to listen to unheard voices encapsulates what the Sherman is all about.”

About Mark Ludmon 318 Articles
Mark Ludmon has been a journalist for over 20 years, specialising in theatre, hospitality and drinks after starting in regional daily newspapers. He has an MA in early modern literature and history, focusing on Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and a theatre studies MA from Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. He is a former panellist for the Olivier Awards. He tweets at @MarkLudmon.