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Contemporary musical reimagining from the Mabinogi set to air this weekend

30 Dec 2023 4 minute read
Mared Williams as Branwen

Branwen: Dadeni, the epic and hugely successful stage musical produced by Wales Millennium Centre and Frân Wen, will be broadcast on S4C this weekend.

The musical is a contemporary reimagining of the iconic and tragic story of Branwen, from the ancient mythological stories of the Mabinogi.

It toured across Wales in November 2023 and was performed in front of huge audiences; all tickets were sold out in Bangor and Aberystwyth, with more tickets going on sale in Cardiff to meet high demand.

‘New Year, New Mabinogi’

Described by the Guardian as ‘a huge endeavour with great performances,’ S4C have called it ‘Branwen 2.0 – new year, new Mabinogi’.

Branwen: Dadeni was written by Hanna Jarman, Elgan Rhys and Seiriol Davies, with lyrics and music by Seiriol Davies. Frân Wen’s Artistic Director, Gethin Evans, directed it.

Mared Williams plays the title role, and Gillian Elisa plays Ena, a figure who advises Matholwch, the King of Ireland. Among the rest of the cast of actors and musicians are Rithvik Andugula, Caitlin Drake, Lisa Angharad, Tomos Eames, Huw Euron, Ioan Hefin, Steffan Hughes, Miriam Isaac, Elan Meirion, Niamh Moulton, Cedron Sion, Adam Vaughan, Mali Grooms and Tegwen Velios.

Mared said: “It was an honour to play a role that is very familiar to us in our stories here in Wales. It was definitely a creative challenge coming up with a version that fit a reimagined show and also a more contemporary version but I got so much satisfaction by working with the cast and such a fantastic creative team.

“I’m very excited to see how the story will transfer to the screen… I’m looking forward to be able to see parts of the story that I couldn’t see because I was on stage most of the time as Branwen!”

Branwen: Dadeni

Elen Rhys, S4C’s Entertainment Commissioner said: “After a successful tour across Wales, it is a privilege to be able to broadcast this epic Welsh musical on S4C.”

Emyr Afan is the CEO & Exec Producer of Afanti Media and said: “Every decade a production comes along that hits you between the eyes for its visio, talent, production values and above all else universal appeal.

“Afanti simply had to get behind this important work and work in partnership with Wales Millennium Centre and Frân Wen to secure the largest possible audience both nationally and internationally. It is proper that the first showing and its Wales premiere is on S4C as it is a trailblazer for the Welsh language, our culture and our history in theatre.”

Landmark musical

Graeme Farrow, Artistic Director of Wales Millennium Centre, said: “It feels fitting for this brilliant landmark musical, born on the nation’s biggest stage, to get another outing on national TV – thanks to joining forces with the talents of Afanti and S4C. Whether you missed out on tickets the first time round, or you just want another chance to take in the spectacle, I hope you tune in.”

Gethin Evans, Frân Wen Artistic Director said: “It is a privilege to collaborate with Afanti and S4C to celebrate the success of Branwen: Dadeni while sharing it with a wider audience. We appreciate the opportunity to champion the incredible talents of the exciting artists involved in creating this bold production that re-defines one of our treasures as a nation.”

You can catch Branwen: Dadeni (with or without subtitles) on S4C at 9pm on Saturday 30 December, and S4C Clic and BBC iPlayer shortly afterwards.

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