and National Theatre Wales new production
by Lindi Carter
Bradley Manning Support Events (Wales)
The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning by Tim Price (dir. John E McGrath) is being billed by the National Theatre Wales as the world’s first hyperlinked theatre production.
Following on from their innovative first season (The Passion – with Michael Sheen – was a 72 hour whirlwind of multi platform experience performed on location in Port Talbot last Easter to rave reviews), NTW continue to reach into the digital age with their plans for inter-connectivity and site specific production.
In this instance the site specific is particularly specific, in fact absolutely mind bending, as the play opens in the actual school Bradley attended as a teenager less than a decade ago… Tasker Milward in Haverfordwest.
And NTW say that this much anticipated political (my bold!) production… will be performed on two platforms – live on stage in schools across Wales, and in a live stream via an interactive website.
Just to give you an idea of what that means, there will be livechat and hyperlinks to connect to documents mentioned throughout the play, and this will be available all over the world, free to access, and only as a ‘live’ experience (ie it will NOT be archived). To find out more and to check which performances will have the facility go to the NTW website. Get involved in the community – NTW18.
As NTW say, this multi-media production tackles one of the most important political and digital stories of our age, and will bring that story to both local and global audiences.
As the play launches (rehearsals began on 12th March), Bradley Manning himself is being hauled through the military court martial system in the United States for the alleged leaking of the largest ever cache of documents revealing the underhand dealings of government – war crimes, diplomatic deviousness that takes your breath away, widespread human rights abuses – information of great value to citizens world wide; information that, it is widely believed, has already assisted in ending the Iraq war and helped to trigger the ‘Arab Spring’.
Right now, as this play (which, for obvious reasons, is a fictional account… inspired by a true story) is being advertised, Bradley is facing a prospect of life imprisonment in a ‘show trial’ which has already been prejudged by President Obama’s statement He broke the law, and is likely to be prejudiced by, amongst other things, the denial to the defence of key witnesses and evidence.
The whole concept and timing of The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning has an immediacy and relevance about it which should set off a huge buzz of engagement with the issues even before it has ever been performed. David Coombs, Bradley’s lawyer, said at Bradley’s pre-trial hearing, History will ultimately judge my client, and there is a prevailing atmosphere of prescience around this production, that, in being able to participate in what is much more than a play in the old sense, we are all going to be in and around that ‘history’. It should be, literally, awesome.
Support events co-ordinated by supporters under the banner of Bradley Manning Support Events (Wales), will happen in all the locations the play is performed, and supporters will be around to answer questions, inform people about the issues, and pass on to people what we know of what is happening to Bradley at the time on a day by day basis. Bradley’s next hearing will be bang in the middle of all this – he returns to court on 24th April – and so it will all be profoundly important and motivating.
There will be ‘information points’ in Haverfordwest, Cardiff and North Wales, and the provisional programme so far includes a ‘sneak preview’ screening of the 2012 Oscar nominated documentary film Incident in New Baghdad (dir. Jim Spione), which is based on the Collateral Murder footage and features Ethan McCord; an evening with Craig Murray – renowned ex ambassador and famous whistleblower; and several gigs, meetings and discussions panels.