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Ambition realised as Richard Mylan’s debut play shortlisted for prestigious award

27 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Richard Mylan in Sorter image by Kirsten McTernan

Richard Mylan, actor, writer and panel member for charity Adferiad Recovery, has been shortlisted for a coveted The Stage Debut Award for his first play, Sorter.

The Stage Debut Awards are the only UK awards dedicated to recognising breakthrough theatre talent. They celebrate emerging actors and creatives, from all backgrounds.

Late in 2021, former Waterloo Road actor Mylan teamed up with friends, actor and facilitator Michelle McTernan, actor, writer and director Christian Patterson and singer songwriter Steve Balsamo to establish Grand Ambition, a creative collective dedicated to telling Swansea stories.

Grand Ambition’s first original production was Sorter, a Swansea based play that Mylan had written during lockdown, as a way of coming to terms with his own 20-year battle with heroin addiction.

Now Mylan finds himself on a shortlist that includes company friend and Sorter producer Jennifer Lunn (for her own first play Es & Flo) as well as writer, actor and comedy legend, Sir Lenny Henry.

Sorter tells the stories of two very different people with addiction in Swansea, asking, when it premiered at the city’s Grand Theatre in March, if there is such a thing as an “acceptable” addict and why as a society do we make a distinction?

The play ran for a week to critical acclaim, playing to capacity audiences, many first-time attendees and many with lived experience of addiction.

Empathy response

Richard Mylan said: “A nomination for best writer is a special moment for me. Sorter was the most rewarding, healing & truly life affirming experience of my career & to be recognised for that tops off one hell of a ride

“My hope was that Sorter could help others struggling with addiction, those in recovery & the friends & family who battle with them. I very much hope it helped people and organisations in Swansea challenge their empathy response to people with addiction, why we consider some forms of addiction to be more socially acceptable than others.

“I hope it can lead to bigger conversations where ultimately all addictions are treated equally with empathy, dignity & understanding. It would be lovely if this nomination leads to it having a further life on stage.

Performed by Mylan and acclaimed Swansea-raised actress Sophie Melville, Sorter was directed by Francesca Goodridge and designed by Jacob Hughes with lighting design by Cara Hood.

Prog-rock duo ChimpanA, Rob Reed and Grand Ambition director Steve Balsamo, created a soundtrack for the piece alongside sound design from Russell Ditchfield. Every performance of the piece included integrated captions.

To complement the production, Grand Ambition paired with recovery charity Adferiad and housing association Pobl for an outreach and awareness project.

Richard and the team will have a bit of a wait to find out if he has scooped the coveted award, with the announcement being made at a ceremony in London on Sunday 1 October. In the meantime, they are keeping busy developing Michelle McTernan’s play Hop for family audiences with funding from Arts Council Wales.

Later in the year they will co-produce Baba Joon by Swansea based, Wales-Iranian writer Lisa Zahra with The Other Room and develop two more Swansea based plays: Mumfighter by Tracy Harris and Bonnie by first time writer Frankie Williams.

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Sharon Morgan
Sharon Morgan
7 months ago

Grand Ambition! What an incredible company! Llongyfarchiadau all!👏👏👏

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