Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet comes to Cardiff this week with its modern retelling of the Shakespearian love story. 

The groundbreaking British dance-theatre company, New Adventures and Artistic Director Sir Matthew Bourne OBE have been storytelling through dance for more than 30 years. With a commitment to shining a light on the next generation of on-stage dancers Romeo and Juliet will also feature emerging dance talent from across the UK. Six Young Cast members were chosen to perform at each venue alongside the New Adventures company.  

The world premiere production, which is visiting 13 venues throughout the UK, has been split into two casts appropriately named ‘The Montagues’ and ‘The Capulets’. Both boast some of Britain’s brightest young dance talent and have been assigned different venues, giving each company the chance to rehearse with the New Adventures’ Young Cast members. 

Last week, Creative Cardiff visited the Dance House to see where the company has been rehearsing in the run-up to its Cardiff debut and have a quick chat with some of the new recruits. Young Cast members Rachel Brookes-Bent and Llewelyn Brown are joining the cast for the Cardiff performance and they are both from the city. They spoke about their experiences with New Adventures, learning to act and coming home to dance. 

How are you feeling about taking to the stage in Cardiff?

Rachel: “I’m more excited than nervous!”

Llewelyn: “Because we’ve been thrown all the information at once we’re nervous about that, but we still have a few more days until we have to be on stage. We’re rehearsing all weekend.” 

Do you feel like you’re being mentored quite a bit by the New Adventures dancers? 

Rachel: “They’ve done all the teaching, Alun and Maddie do corrections and manage the scenes coming in and going out and so on but for the actual material it’s the dancers that are teaching us all of that – they’re amazing!”

Llewelyn: “It’s been great to learn everything from our peers.”

You both grew up in Cardiff, where are you based now

Rachel: “I’m based in Geneva at the Dance Area.”

Llewelyn: “Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dancein London.”

Is it different doing a project in Cardiff? Do you feel like you’re coming home? 

Rachel: “I’m living with my parents so it’s nice to be home. We’ve both done work here in the dance studio since we were 13-14 so we feel like this is our dance home!” 

Llewelyn: “We were in the associates programme for National Dance Company of Wales.” 

Rachel: “And then when National Youth Dance do things they often do them here as well, so yes it’s definitely like coming home.”

Are you looking forward to performing on Wales Millennium Centre’s stage? 

Rachel: “I’m really excited to perform on the Donald Gordon stage because I’ve never done before... you have.” [to Llewelyn]

Llewelyn: “Berwyn [another member of Cardiff’s Young Cast] and I were both in Lord of the Flies a few years back and it’s a big stage to fill!”

Rachel: “I’ve never performed but I’ve seen shows here and thought – when will I perform on that stage?”

What’s been your favourite part of working on Romeo and Juliet? 

Rachel: “I think what I’m going to get the most from it is that it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone in having to act! I’ve never done any theatre, any acting – that’s a huge challenge but I’ve really enjoyed it. With contemporary dance – you are a neutral face and all the emotion comes from your physicality and movement. But here, you’re putting a character on.”

Did you have to develop a character? 

Llewelyn: “At the beginning of the intensives we were given a character name and personality and we were given the responsibility to create a character profile, analyse our own character and create a backstory. The audience won’t know it but it’s for us to work on…”

Do you have any future projects in Cardiff or Wales? 

Rachel: “We have National Youth Dance Wales this summer.” 

‘The Montague’ company will be performing in Wales Millennium Centre from today (Tuesday, 18 June) until Saturday 22 June. 

Find out more here.

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