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Dic Penderyn musical will receive Welsh premiere following its London run

A musical about Merthyr working-class martyr Dic Penderyn will receive its Welsh premiere next month.

My Land’s Shore, with music and lyrics by Christopher J Orton and book and lyrics by Robert Gould, will be staged at Theatr Soar in Merthyr Tydfil from February 20 to March 4 after a successful run in London last year.

The production has been described as “a passionate musical tale of conflict, social injustice, moral dilemmas, guilt, love and heartbreak”.

The show tells the story of Dic Penderyn, also known as Richard Lewis, who was found guilty and hanged for the stabbing of a soldier with a bayonet during the 1831 riots that gripped Merthyr.

The soldier who was stabbed, Lance Corporal Donald Black, survived and did not identify either of the men accused of the attack, Penderyn and his cousin Lewis Lewis.

Penderyn, who was brought up in Aberavon before his coal miner father moved to Merthyr for work, is buried in St Mary’s Church in Aberavon.

He was 23 years old when he was convicted and sentenced to death.

He was hanged in public in St Mary Street, Cardiff on 13th August 1831.

His last recorded words are reputed to have been: “Oh Lord, here is iniquity”.

The original production from All Star Productions was presented at Ye Olde Rose and Crown Theatre and was nominated for three Off West End Awards: Best New Musical, Best Musical Direction for Aaron Clingham and Best Set Design for Joana Dias.

The new Welsh production will reunite the original creative team director Brendan Matthew, musical director Aaron Clingham and choreographer Charlotte Tooth. The full casting will be announced shortly.

The show’s original creator Christopher Orton said the seeds of My Land’s Shore had been a long time in the making.

“I started writing what became My Land’s Shore back in 2001 when I came up with the story, the script and the music”, he said. “It was then performed as part of a new music theatre writing festival in 2005. That was when Robert Gould came on board as I needed another pair of eyes on it, and we developed it together.”

Christopher said the show was then performed once more in Cardiff as a concert production in 2007, before a cast recording was released on CD in 2011. It was work-shopped and developed once more in the background as the actor and writer took care of his day job – performing in some of the West End’s biggest musicals.
Cast of the London run of My Land's Shore
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However, he said he never lost his passion or desire to see the musical staged with a full cast and band.

“Over the years we had been inundated with people who were desperate to see it, so we put in on in Walthamstow with a cast of 16 and a band of six. It was so well received and successful, we then knew we want to take it home to Wales and stage it in Merthyr.”


Eighties legends Simple Minds and The Pretenders to play outdoor gig in Wales next summer

Simple Minds and The Pretenders will rock Merthyr Tydfil right back to the 1980s as they visit Cyfarthfa Park on their Grandslam tour next year.

It will be the first time the two rock groups have performed on the same stage since Live Aid in 1984.

The gig will also see former husband and wife, Jim Kerr and Chrissie Hynde, together on the same bill once again. The couple were married for six years in the 1980s and have one daughter.

They, of course, will perform classic hits, from Simple Minds' Don't You, (Forget About Me) and Alive & Kicking and Promised You A Miracle to The Pretenders' Brass In Pocket, Talk of the Town, I Go To Sleep and I’ll Stand By You.

Both bands will also sing tracks from their new albums at the concert on August 5, 2018.

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Also joining the line-up will be Brit Award-winning Scottish soloist, KT Tunstall.

Simple Minds frontman, Jim Kerr said the band was looking forward to touring next year. He said: “When we started Simple Minds, our objective was to be considered as one of the great live bands.

"A band that had the desire to go all around the world – playing everywhere and anywhere.

"That challenge is ongoing, and we will relish touring all over the UK next summer, getting up close to so many who have supported us over the years.”


The touching gesture a man made to a hospital in memory of his wife

A man has paid a touching tribute to his late wife by donating pillows to the A&E department where she was admitted weeks before she died.

The kind gift of 25 pillows was made to the Prince Charles Hospital accident and emergency department in Merthyr Tydfil on Monday night.

The man who delivered them wished to remain anonymous, but told staff his wife had been admitted to the hospital last year after suffering a stroke.

She died a few weeks later.

The man said he noticed at the time that the department needed pillows as they are often taken with patients to other wards.

A Cwm Taf University Health Board spokeswoman said he informed staff he would be returning next week with another 25 pillows.

He also said he plans to make the generous tribute annually in her memory.

Accident and emergency senior nurse Kelly Downes said: “We are all extremely touched and very much appreciate this kind gesture.

“We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the gentleman who made the donation.”

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