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Catrin Fflûr Huws - Playwright

Playwright

I've always loved the theatre. My parents went on holiday to Stratford Upon Avon when I was about three, and I was very envious of the fact that they were going away without me. I begged to be allowed to go too. They explained that I wouldn't understand, and I could go when I was older. 'When?' I said. 'When you're eight', they said. I held them to that, and was taken (with some trepidation on the part of my parents who doubted very much whether I would understand Shakespeare, despite my mother having written a children's version of the plot for me) to see the RSC's 1986 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Soon after this, a group of my friends at primary school would put on 'acts' - we commandeered the school hall for the afternoon and performed plays, initially for our class, and gradually for more and more of the school's 250 pupils. I also remember putting on nativity shows for my parents and grandparents at Christmastime, with dolls and teddy bears wearing home-made costumes and learning scripts.

As an adult however, my interest in writing emerged when the director of Aberystwyth Arts Centre's Castaway Community Theatre, the late David Blumfield (1962-2015) decided to do a devised show for its 2008 summer production - a show called Return to Albion. Afterwards many people were surprised that I had not written anything before this, and encouraged me to do creative writing properly. As a result, I decided to sign up for the Open University's creative writing courses. Further opportunities to write came along, in the form of Castaway Community Theatre's Now That's What I Call Ubu At around the same time, writer and producer Sandra Bendelow was setting up a performance writing group at and I decided to go along. This was a real turning point, as it gave me the impetus to write 'properly' and to have a purpose in writing.

The group's first production was Beginnings, for which I wrote a short play called Don't Put Your Sea Monster on the Stage. Shortly afterwards, Sherman Cymru ran its Spread the Word project. I applied and was selected to participate. It was from this that To Kill a Machine evolved, and was performed as a rehearsed reading in March 2012. To Kill A Machine has gone from strength to strength since then, being performed as a pilot at Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Sherman Cymru and Swansea University in 2012. It was then performed as part of Clwyd Theatr Cymru's picnic plays in 2013. It was awarded a touring grant and a Wales in Edinburgh grant by Arts Council Wales and toured Wales and London in 2015, before performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where it was nominated for an Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award. Further nominations came in the 2016 Wales Theatre Awards where To Kill A Machine received four nominations for Best Playwright, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Production. To Kill A Machine appears at the Kings Head Theatre in April 2016, followed by performances at the International Gay Theatre Festival in Dublin and an UK tour in autumn 2016.

In the meantime, I have written more plays for Castaway Community Theatre (including 2011's The Shakespeare Show, where again I wrote and performed the framing story, where Puck objects to the mistreatment of drama at the hands of the ignorant and the self-important; and my first large-cast full length show, Rain of Blood. I also wrote The Rock, and parts of the collaborative project, The Town With No Traffic Wardens for Aberystwyth Arts Centre's Performance Writing Group; and The Constant Hunger of the Troll Under the Bridge for Scriptography Productions' Earcandy project. I was also selected to take part in Sherman Cymru's Gair ar Led in 2012, Dirty Protest's Dirty Aberystwyth in 2015 and Dirty Protest/National Theatre Wales's Dirty Gifted and Welsh in 2014.