“I was doing something nobody had done before, and if you’re the first to do something, you have to be prepared to take the sht for it.”
On the eve of one of the most important games of his career, Welsh rugby legend Gareth Thomas received a warning: The Sun newspaper was going to “out” him as gay.
This is the story of two Welsh names bruised, but not beaten, by media speculation: Gareth Thomas, 100 caps for Wales, now the world’s most prominent gay sportsman; and his hometown, Bridgend, itself a victim of intrusion following the deaths of several young residents.
Working with Gareth himself, and young people in Bridgend, two of the UK’s most exciting theatre companies – Out of Joint and National Theatre Wales – have teamed up to tell a great story about sport, politics, secrets, life and learning to be yourself.
Happy Birthday Out of Joint: To celebrate 21 years of one of the UK’s most exciting theatre companies – and to support its future, Out of Joint is hosting a Fundraising Gala at Arcola on Sunday 14 June 2015. Find out more
Monday 1 June – Free for same-day ticket holders
“I have no interest in rugby whatsoever, don’t know one end of the ball from the other, but this drama with its very respectful treatment of working people and damaged people had me spellbound and very close to tears. Max Stafford-Clark is a master of the stage.” – British Theatre Guide
“Brilliant. It wrenches the gut and makes the soul sing… Staggeringly moving” – The Times
“Expertly directed by Max Stafford-Clark… A cracking, heartfelt evening about the private cost of public exposure. It’s also a tribute to the sense of community it takes to grow a star”- The Mail on Sunday
“A fantastically moving documentary play… Max Stafford-Clark’s production doesn’t waste a second in an excellent locker-room set by Angela Davies… Emotionally it’s a wallop – the two principal stories build towards darkness then edge painstakingly into the light – and I wept like a baby throughout the the second half. It’s a tremendous evening” – The Sunday Times
“Poignant… Lovely moments of humour…. Packs a real punch. Inspiring stuff” – The Western Mail/Wales Online
“Thomas’ story is extraordinary… Drama, laughs and good acting” – The Stage
“It knits together the biography of the gay Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas and his struggle to come out, with tragic, tricky tales drawn from the spate of teen suicides in Bridgend. The two plotlines come together under Max Stafford-Clark’s direction to make a powerful harmony. An eye-opening and heartening piece” – The Independent
“Thoroughly enjoyable for anyone” – The Public Reviews
“Out of Joint aims to develop ‘entertaining theatre that broadens horizons and investigates our times’. Here, it does just that.”
– The Observer
Max Stafford-Clark founded Joint Stock Theatre group in 1974 following his Artistic Directorship of The Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. From 1979 to 1993 he was Artistic Director of The Royal Court Theatre. He directed Macbeth at Arcola in 2004.
Robin Soans‘s plays include Perseverance Drive (Bush Theatre), Talking to Terrorists (Out of Joint, Royal Court), Life After Scandal (Hampstead), The Arab Israeli Cookbook (Gate), Bet Noir (Young Vic), A State Affair (Out of Joint) and Will and Testament (Ovalhouse). He is also an actor, and appeared in Visitors at Arcola in 2014.
- “When you’re the first person to do something, everybody is unsure of what to do.” Read an interview with Gareth Thomas.
£19 / £15 concessions
Saturday matinees at 3:00pm
30 May, 6 June – £17 / £14 concessions
13 June, 20 June – £19 / £15 concessions
Opening performances (20-25 May) – All tickets £12
Pay What You Can Tuesdays (tickets in person from 6pm – limited and subject to availability)
Tickets are £10 or less with Arcola Passport
Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes (including interval).
In Studio 1, seating is allocated.