BA Perfformio students to stage Sweeney Todd in Welsh


Students on the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s BA Perfformio course in Cardiff are currently rehearsing for their forthcoming Welsh language production of Stephen Sondheim’s classic, Sweeney Todd.

Sweeney Todd poster bach

The musical has been adapted to the Welsh language by Rhian Staples and is being performed at the Gate Arts Centre in Cardiff on Thursday, 21st and Friday, the 22nd of December.   The show is directed by Angharad Lee and choreographed by performer Eddie Ladd.

The cast includes the 30 students who are currently studying with Canolfan Berfformio Cymru in Cardiff and this challenging production will give them an opportunity to showcase their development and progress as performers.   The Welsh medium BA Perfformio course is an intensive programme which focusses on preparing the students for life as professional performers, and places great emphasis on their voice, body, mind and career.

Eilir Owen Griffiths, course director of BA Perfformio, decided to produce Sweeney Todd as part of the course in order to challenge the students in terms of their acting, singing and dancing skills.  

“After producing Sweeney Todd in Llangollen, I couldn’t wait to do it with our students,” said Eilir, who is the former Artistic Director of the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

“Producing the show in Llangollen with Bryn Terfel, Shân Cothi, Wynne Evans, Alun Rhys Jenkins and others was an incredible experience but I am really delighted to see young students getting to grips with Sondheim’s masterpiece.”

Sweeney Todd is a powerful musical that’s been entertaining and enchanting audiences for almost forty years.   Based on a series of stories that were first published in 1847, Stephen Sondheim’s work is a musical adaptation of a play that was written at the beginning of the 70s.  Since the first performance in London in 1979, the show has been staged in theatres throughout the world with a film version also being released in 2007.

Eilir is also looking forward to working with Angharad Lee and Eddie Ladd on this production, two of the most exciting creative practitioners in Wales.

“It’s great to welcome Angharad Lee back to direct this show after the success of the last show she produced for us here in Canolfan Berfformio Cymru, which was Deffro'r Gwanwyn,” added Eilir Owen Griffiths, who is also Musical Director for the production.

Angharad is delighted to be working with the students again and is looking forward to seeing how this production will contribute to their development.

“Technically, this is the most challenging musical a young cast can attempt. The skills they will be nurturing during this process will set them up for life as performers,” said Angharad Lee.

“We decided on a prop heavy production as this generation are so used to seeing ‘stripped back’ productions using technical brilliance. This would be a fresh challenge. How do props drive a narrative, and an actor’s relationship to props on and off stage?

“There is a wonderful ensemble performance at the heart of this production and it’s interesting to look at the way it supports the narrative throughout.”

As well as working with Angharad Lee, the students also have an opportunity to work with Eddie Ladd on their movement and physical performances.

“This time, we've also been very fortunate to have the choreographer Eddie Ladd in to work with the students,” Eilir Owen Griffths added.  “Indeed, this is a very physical show and a great challenge for our students.”

Eddie Ladd is a very successful performer and choreographer and is very pleased to be part of the production.

“What can I say?” said Eddie Ladd when the University asked her about the experience of working with the students.   “I’ll say the same old story but the same old story is true - they are talented and committed - their voices are fantastic! - and it has been a delight for me to be part of the show!”

The fundamental ethos of the BA Perfformio course is to provide a solid technique along with a broad understanding of the creative industries in Wales and beyond.

Established by the University of Wales Trinity Saint David in Cardiff, the BA Perfformio is an innovative and progressive course taught intensively over a period of two years by a combination of staff from the University and experts working professionally in the fields of television, dance, entertainment, musicals and theatre.

Members of the cast of Sweeney Todd are making the most of the opportunity to collaborate with professional practitioners who offer them new and different experiences as performers.

“The experience of being able to work on my favourite musical is unforgettable, and the fact that we are doing it in Welsh is even more special.  Also it’s great to be able to work with Angharad Lee who draws out the strengths of the whole cast as an ensemble," said student Steven Williams.

Betsan Ceiriog, a second year student, also appreciates the range of opportunities that she’d been offered during her time on the course.

“Having played the role of Joanne in RENT last year, I’m very glad to be cast again this year” said Betsan.   “The two shows and the two characters couldn’t be more different.  On one hand RENT had a 'freer’ feeling and motivation and in contrast to that Sweeney has striking, severe music that drives fear and also drives the show.  I’m very much looking forward to being able to perform.”

If you’d like to book tickets to see Sweeney Todd, please visit

If you are interested in finding out more about the BA Perfformio course, please go to

Note to Editor


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