Welsh of the West End Star leads cast of major new Welsh Language musical

Award-winning musician and performer Mared Williams will play the title role in Branwen: Dadeni, Wales Millennium Centre and Frân Wen have announced as they unveil casting and a trailer for the eagerly-anticipated new Welsh language dramatic musical.


The member of Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Welsh of the West End will lead a talented cast in the contemporary reimagining of the legendary yet tragic tale of Branwen, from the ancient mythical tales of the Mabinogion, set to tour Wales this November.


After graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, Mared Williams covered the role of Eponine in the West End’s reworked production of Les Miserables in 2019-2022. In 2021 Mared’s debut bilingual folk/pop album, ‘Y Drefn,’ was awarded Welsh Album of The Year. She recently played the role of Clara in the European premiere of Mark Blitzstein’s ‘No For An Answer’ at the Arcola Theatre.


Caitlin Drake (Miss Littlewood, RSC & Cunard; Pavilion, Theatr Clwyd) will play Branwen’s sister Efnisien, while Cardiff’s Rithvik Andugula (professional debut) will play Matholwch, King of Ireland – brushing up on his Welsh having not used it since school. Tomos Eames (BBC’s Shakespeare and Hathaway Private Investigators; S4C’s Gwaith/Cartref) will play Bendigeidfran – Branwen’s brother and King of Cedyrn – while Ioan Hefin (Netflix’s Apostle; BBC’s Steeltown Murders) will play Picell – a mysterious new presence in the story. Further casting and creatives to be announced.


Mared Williams said: “I’m both looking forward and nervous to be putting my own spin on Branwen and delving into such an iconic but complex Welsh character. Having such a big project done in the Welsh language is something I’m very passionate about and it means a lot to be part of this show.”


Branwen: Dadeni is written by Hanna Jarman, Elgan Rhys and Seiriol Davies, with lyrics and music by Seiriol Davies. It is directed by Frân Wen’s Artistic Director, Gethin Evans, with the already-announced creative team including set and costume designer Elin Steele, lighting designer Bretta Gerecke, orchestrator Owain Gruffudd Roberts and casting director Hannah Marie Williams.


Branwen: Dadeni opens in Wales Millennium Centre’s Donald Gordon Theatre (8-11 November 2023), travelling to Aberystwyth Arts Centre (15-17 November 2023) and ending at Pontio Arts Centre, Bangor (22-25 November 2023). Tickets are on sale now at all venues.


A shattered kingdom. A corrupt monarchy. A new generation desperate for change. Branwen: Dadeni is an epic Welsh language musical which brings one of our most well-known legends into the contemporary world.


After a bloody civil war, the Llŷr family control Cedyrn. Branwen, the charismatic young princess who has won the people’s hearts, is eager to move her country forward, but her brother, the king, won’t listen.


During an unexpected visit by the King of Ireland, she sees her opportunity: escape to a progressive and prosperous country where her voice will count and she’ll have the power to change things. But, as her star rises, every bargain, betrayal and body leads her deeper into the darkness, until, on the brink of ruin, the price becomes clear.


What would you sacrifice to create a just world?


Branwen: Dadeni is the latest in a run of Wales Millennium Centre Productions that nurture writers and creative talent in and from Wales. Previous acclaimed productions include Jennifer Lunn’s award-winning Es & Flo (2023); Hamed Amiri’s The Boy with Two Hearts (2021), which recently transferred to the National Theatre in London; Connor Allen’s The Making of a Monster (2022); Llinos Mai’s Anthem (2022); and Kaite O’Reilly’s The Beauty Parade (2020).


Frân Wen’s recent work includes the national sell-out tour of Welsh language coming-of-age dramedy Croendena, Ynys Alys (2022) which followed the story young girl as she set out in search of her independence and Faust & Greta (2021) a co-production with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru and Pontio – which was a digital theatrical experience inspired by T. Gwynn Jones’ Welsh translation of Goethe’s classic ‘Faust & Greta’.

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